To be honest, this was my first shape-shifter book. It took me a beat to catch on, but once I did I suspended disbelief and really enjoyed Jungle Salvation. The characters are believable and I rooted for them all the way through. I found the plotting and details extremely intelligent and creative. The author has a talent for putting the reader into the setting. I anticipated how Jewell would get Matteo and his jaguar queen safely together at the end. It was touch and go there for a while, but the author fulfilled the story's promise and then some with a satisfying HEA. I received an advance copy of this book for an honest review.
Jaguar Queens, 2
Well-meaning friends drag archaic jaguar shifter Matteo D’Cruz back into the human world. Almost trapped in cat form, the recalcitrant male narrowly dodges execution as a feral. Even so, his final end doesn’t concern him overmuch—until he meets the thrill-seeking Dakota Gorman, a latent shifter female.
Matteo helps trigger her first transformation into a magnificent jaguar, and in turn, she schools him on the twenty-first-century woman. Hopeful for the first time in decades, Matteo embraces a possible future with the formidable jaguar queen. Tragically, their intimacy nearly forces him back into cat form, which would put him on death row.
Unwilling to selfishly ask Dakota to wait for him, a desolate Matteo resigns himself to torture and watching her mate another. Instead, in a vicious plot to weaponize shifter DNA, a rogue military faction snatches her, carving Matteo’s heart from his chest. He will bring her home—but at what cost?
With dreads swinging, Matteo jogged to the patch of moss-covered ground where Dakota had shifted. He strode back and returned the clasp to her. “Your hair thing.”
She wrenched her gaze from his eight-pack abs. “Thanks.”
His fingertips lingered for a delicious instant over the tender inside of her wrist, chasing shivers up her arm. Coffee scent surrounded her, and sent a thrill through her core. In mutiny, her body announced her reaction, tightening her nipples to pebbles in the open air. Mortified over her lack of control, she avoided his gaze in hopes he hadn’t noticed.
Swirling her sweat-dampened hair onto her head, she clamped it in place and followed him, enjoying the athletic grace of his movements. Even at a walk, she perceived his harnessed power. “Are you really over a hundred years old?”
“One hundred thirty-three.” At his clipped response, she held her zillion follow-up questions.
True to his word, after a short distance, Matteo picked up her folded clothes and handed them to her with a smirk. Snatching the spandex pile, she stepped behind a tree and dressed. As though modesty mattered now.
Returning to their hike, she found Matteo fixated on a branch several feet above with a confused expression. Tracking his gaze, she couldn’t see anything unusual. “What is it?”
“A new species of dragonfly. New to me, anyway.” He pointed at an atmosphere saturated with bugs. “It makes a high-pitched sound.”
Dakota singled out the prehistoric-sized insect amid the swarm of flying creepies. Aside from size, nothing made the creature stand out. It swooped out of sight. “How can you isolate one chirp in the zillions creating this racket?”
“My jaguar senses followed me into human form.” He studied the dragonfly’s last location, a spindly low-hanging branch.
Sniffing, she checked for an enhanced sense of smell. During her few minutes as a cat, the nearly bare jungle floor told a multitude of stories. Now, all she detected was Matteo. “Why do you keep your abilities, and I lost mine?”
“With more shifts, your cat senses will linger.” He grimaced. “But too many decades as a jaguar…”
Curling his lip back in a silent snarl, he tapped a canine. When fully exposed, the long, curved tooth screamed great cat. Teeth might not be the only jaguar feature he’d kept. His markings had a realistic quality that begged for her touch. Unable to resist, she ran her hand over his rosette-covered shoulder. In contrast to his smooth golden skin, the raised pattern had a rough texture, like stubble. No ink slinger did that.
Coffee scent curled around her, teasing her body with invisible caresses. She fought a wave of dizziness and struggled to keep her expression casual. A low-metered growl came from his chest and his lids lowered over copper heat. Years’ worth of sexual tension smoldered there. She wondered when he’d last indulged.
Everything about him spoke directly to her core, making the flesh between her legs clench. After nearly pinning him down in a mating frenzy, Dakota slammed the brakes on her body’s heated response. Trying for cool composure, she lowered her hand and quirked an eyebrow. “Really?”
One corner of his mouth kicked up. “It’s been even longer since a queen has touched me.”
Dakota snorted. “Keep waiting. That didn’t count.”
He laughed, and the passion left his gaze, giving no hint her rebuff had offended. He turned to hike a pathless route between the trees, and she fell in behind him. With new interest, she studied the animal print covering his torso. He belonged here, stalking amid the shrub-sized plants and vine covered trees.
“So, those rockin’ auburn rosettes are part of your jaguar pattern?”
“Yes. Rockin’ is good?”
“Sim, boa—good. Damn, I wanted to get the artist’s name. I need someone to finish a tat.”
“The half-drawn flower?” Even as Matteo tossed the words over his shoulder, he regretted his admission to looking. A knowing smile told him she’d caught his confession. He’d broken every shifter protocol by lusting after her flexing ass while she chased the agouti. Remorse eluded him.
“How perceptive of you.” Her smug tone was irritating.
She enjoyed his misery. The teasing view and her burgeoning lavender scent had thickened his cock. Jaime’s new sister involved with a potential feral. Playing out the consequences in his head cooled some of his arousal.
“You led the hunt. It was hard not to notice.” His feigned nonchalance miscarried, sounding forced. “Why didn’t the artist finish?”
“He, um, couldn’t.” Though relieved that Dakota didn’t sound frightened, from her hesitancy, Matteo suspected something about the event hadstressed her. He doubted the bastard tattooist had run out of ink.
Lack of detail fueled his imagination, and the mental image of another male’s hands on her curves made his chest rumble. He glanced over his shoulder. “Do I need to find this man and kill him?”
Half-jesting, he could hardly blame another. Nipping along the trumpet vine’s curving trail down the small of her back had an irresistible appeal. When she had dropped to her hands and knees, another battle to stay human had nearly bested him.
“Don’t bother. A broken arm is punishment enough.” She laughed as if releasing buried tension.
In stunned surprise, he halted, turning to her, and she nearly ran into him. “You broke his arm?”
She planted her hands on her hips. “I didn’t mean to.” Defiance withering, her shoulders sagged. “It was an accident. Too much juice in my submission hold.”
“I’m impressed. The pond scum deserved it. You have no reason for remorse.” Matteo wanted to cause the cretin pain.
“What?” Her confused expression broke into a self-possessed smile. “Oh yeah, he had it coming. I only regret my timing. He’s the best in the Bahamas. I wanted him to finish the tat.”
“And just how did you come by this bone-breaking skill?”
She shrugged. “I dated a jujitsu instructor for a while.”
This female’s bold confidence astounded him. In addition, she backed it up with real ability. “You have hidden depths, senhorita.”
Feathery, dark lashes fanned her cheeks, making her appear almost sweet. Matteo smiled. She would most certainly find the thought insulting.
“Few men appreciate a woman who can kick their ass.” She batted her lashes one more time.
Fighting an urge to plunder her lush lips with his mouth, he smiled. “A strong woman can be very attractive. But then again, I have no worries you’re able to kick my ass.”
Desire flared in her eyes, and Matteo leaned in, his lips hovering over hers.
I love M. A. Jewell's stories! She has a crisp writing style and a penchant for exotic characters and settings. Jungle Salvation tells the story of a romance between Mateo, an ancient jaguar shifter who has given up all hope of love, and Dakota, a high-spirited young woman who proves to be one of the last remaining jaguar queens in South America. Their dance is fraught with conflict. Each resists their destinies as lovers and saviors of the nearly extinct jaguar shifter race. The pace of the story is quick and the action culminates in a battle with a rogue military faction intent on capturing the few remaining shifters. I recommend you read this one and then get in line for the next one!
I was a big fan of the first book, Jungle Rapture, and this one delivered even more page turning Romance. Keep them coming MA Jewell. I can't wait to hear what happens next.
I have been lucky enough to read all of M.A. Jewell's works. Her latest in the Jaguar series didn't let me down. Her characters are strong and the action is real with great pace. The sexual tension between Matteo and Dakota sizzles sensuously from the beginning and the pure Alpha heat Matteo emits had me turning the pages like a mad woman. Great story, I was invested from the get go because I had read Jungle Rapture and loved the whole premise of it. These characters are fighting for their very existence but also do battle with their own demons and faults. If you love to read about imperfect alpha males and strong but tender women, you have to add this to your book list!
Each character is this story is well-developed and I felt like part of the family. Dakota is strong, smart, brave and an adrenaline junkie. She cares deeply for her family. Her suspicion of the clan is understandable but it was fun watching her start to understand how much Jaime loves her sister and how the whole compound will band together to face a threat. Mattemo is a strong character with heavy burdens upon his shoulders. Not only had he lost his wife and fought in WWII, he was also the Enforcer for the Salazar clan. Being an Enforcer meant that he had to kill jaguars that went rogue–friend or foe. Being in jaguar form so long has changed him. If he were ever to transform again, there is a good chance he won’t be able to transform back to human. This would force his best friend to hunt him down and kill him. Watching Mattemo and Dakota’s relationship develop was very well done. From their first interaction, where Dakota thinks he’s hot but arrogant. Dakota’s compassion and intelligence works well with Mattemo’s experience and bravery. Mattemo is proud of her intelligence as Dakota hacks the enemy’s phone to show the group where the enemy’s location, she seems to bring out the best in everyone including Dr. Valentine. He is a fun character and the love he feels for his little dog is cute. He may not be street smart, but he had better morals then the soldiers. This is a wonderful account of life’s twists and turns that can bring us to understanding parts of ourselves we never knew existed. Love and family are what we should consider above all others. It is also a wonderful example of not giving up on yourself or those you love, because as long as you are together things can be worked out. With great characters, a different plot, and in depth descriptions, this book deserves a solid five stars.
Jungle Salvation is the long anticipated second release in M.A. Jewell’s Jungle Queens series and is definitely worth the wait! While paranormal is not my favorite in romance, she hit this one out of the park. The writing was simply wonderful, and the reader feels immersed in the Jaguar’s world of the lush jungles of Brazil. This book is about Kelsie’s sister Dakota, who has come to find out why Kelsie has left home and decided to get married. While there, she meets Matteo. Matteo hasn’t shifted out of his jaguar form in years, but he does now, and when he meets Dakota, all bets are off. But Dakota’s life is in danger, and it will take an army to get her back. This is a great read by M.A Jewell, and if you haven’t read her before, I suggest you start with the first book in the series. Jungle Rapture.
Matteo helps Dakota with her shifter and she shows him what he twenty first centry is like. He’s been in cat form for a long time but their mating causes Matteo shifter problems. He must keep away from Dakota to keep them both save. When Dakota is kidnapped by a rogue military force he must save her, at any cost. I really love the characters in this book. Matteo has a harsh, complicated history and meeting the complex Dakota only adds to the beautiful chaos. Their romance plays out among the action of the military attack. It gives a nice break to the romance and keeps the story going forward. The sex is super hot and definitely going to get the blood flowing. There are a few slow spots in the book that felt a bit bogged down but that’s really my only complaint. In terms of a shifter book, Matteo and Dakota really stand out. If you like shifters with a lot of heat then this book should be on your list to read!