Golden Eyes
by Maya Banks, paranormal (2008)
Loose Id, $5.99, ISBN 978-1-59632-640-8

Sheriff Duncan Kennedy has a most interesting day. Following various leads from the locals, he comes across a wounded cheetah. What is a cheetah doing in this part of town near the Rockies? When Duncan is attacked by one of the poachers who has unfinished business with the cheetah, the cheetah comes to his rescue. Once the poacher has fled, the cheetah collapses from its wounds. Duncan, therefore, feels obligated to make sure that the poor dear gets the best medical treatment available. Unfortunately, the local vet seems unavailable every time Duncan calls that man. Duncan realizes that he has no choice but to take the cheetah back to his place and keep it there until Doc Robbins finally shows up to take the cheetah off his hands.

As this kind of story tends to go, he soon discovers that the cheetah is gone and in its place is a beautiful naked woman instead. Her name is Aliyah Carver and it turns out that she's a shapeshifter who went for a holiday in Africa (to play with other cheetahs, of course) until some poachers caught her and brought her back to the USA. She escaped, the poachers gave chase, Duncan found her, and here they are, in his house, just the two of them. You can guess what happens next, right?

Golden Eyes is a simple story. Boy meets cat, cat becomes girl, boy sleeps with girl, boy knows girl, and it's love. The story is readable and the last few chapters actually have something going on other than sex and information dumping (where Duncan learns about Aliyah's kind and her habits). But I suspect that the chief appeal of this story will be the love scenes since the story is not exactly the strongest one around. Duncan makes a pretty adorable hero as he's protective and gallant. Unfortunately, Aliyah doesn't have much of a character here as her role alternates between that of a literal sex kitten and a damsel in distress. I don't know much about her.

The love scenes go some way in making the middle portions of the story interesting, although I feel that Golden Eyes isn't as steamy as some of the author's previous books. On the whole, Golden Eyes is readable and entertaining if one can enjoy the love scenes enough to overlook the sagging middle, but I think this one ranks somewhere in the middle when it comes to the author's works. In other words, I've read better, I've read worse.

Rating: 78

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