September 6, 2011
Their desire could be their destruction...or their greatest strength.

Fourteen months ago, Kat Gabriel's life changed forever when she used her empathy as a weapon. Now she can't escape the weight of those deaths--or the loss of the easy friendship she and Andrew once shared. Obsessed with her mother's violent past, Kat is determined to learn the truth of her inner-darkness by understanding her legacy.

Since the attack that turned him into a wolf, Andrew Callaghan has done everything possible to make himself stronger. More capable of protecting Kat--both from the supernatural world that forced her to kill, and from their own volatile connection. Pushing her away hurt them both, but he's finally made himself into the protector she needs.

As Kat's quest leads her into the darkest underbelly of the psychic world, Andrew is determined to be at her side. But every step forward reopens old emotional wounds and shakes their control. For a dangerous alpha and a deadly psychic, distraction could be fatal--especially when the greatest threat they pose is to each other.

Warning: This book contains a dangerous shapeshifter who could kill you with his bare hands, an empathic hacker who could kill you with her mind, a psychic cult determined to kill everyone, a lot of violence, a little bit of hope, and a happily-ever-after seven years in the making.

Author: Moira Rogers
Series: Southern Arcana Series, book 4
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Year of release: 2011, September 6
Format: eBook
Source: received an e-ARC from author for review

First line:
Kat tried to open the office door three times before she realized she was using the wrong key.

Memorable Scenes:
- Kat and Andrew's kiss, their first real kiss, at the hotel and the scene that followed > now this is some kissing and dry humping scene people! :)
- The letter from Kat's mom > enlightening and made me tear up a bit
- The last few chapters > what a rollercoaster ride! Wow!

Katherine 'Kat' Gabriel is a programmer. She’s also a powerful empath with killer psychic abilities. She’s direct, headstrong, speaks and acts her mind.
Andrew Callaghan is an architect turned werewolf shifter in an attack. He’s
Focused, alert, protective and the epitome of alpha warrior. But he’s also considerate and even sweet when it comes to Kat.

The prologue was attention-grabbing, heart-pounding and long-awaited & anticipated after CROSSROADS. I now knew what happened that night. Andrew and Kat tiptoe around one another other, neither wanting to give into the pull they have on each other has and both have their own reason. They’ve avoided each other for a year and now a development in Kat's life throws them together and now there’s just no way they can avoid the inevitable.

Both Andrew and Kat live isolated, lonely lives, despite being surrounded by people who care for them and whom they care about. The stark loneliness because of who they became during one fateful night shines through regularly. Add Kat's dangerous search for answers about her mother and Andrew's protectiveness towards her, even against himself, and this all made for some great characterization and a romance that was as lovely as it was heartbreakingly touching.

The members added to secondary cast of this book (other than those who already had their books or are getting their book in the near future) offer so much potential for the future. To name a few Anna, John, Callum, and Patrick –I was smitten with Patrick from the moment he set foot on the page (to be honest I think I was even before he appeared, just the nameless mention of him was enough). As far as I'm concerned Moira Rogers can just keep the books coming in the Southern Arcana series.

From the start I was riveted to the plot. Moving forward in a nice pace, it was only slightly interrupted by my own inability to fully grasp the some of empathy stuff (empathic synesthesia?) but I understood immediately that it was necessary and crucial for the plot. The overall plot of CIPHER was so fascinating that it to engaged me fully. The plots in the previous books haven’t been too shabby either but seriously, this one was the best one so far in the series for me.

Speaking of the plot. It was perfectly done. If you aren't familiar with the series and/or Moira Rogers' writing you might be lulled halfway through into thinking that the plot part is pretty much wrapped up but I knew there was more to come. The last 25% of the book held me firmly in its grip and proved to me once again how skilled the authors of this series are. The pace is just right, never too slow or too fast. Back-stories and plotlines are perfectly dosed throughout the book too, contributing to the nice pace. The romance is subtle yet intense and very much part of the story.

What I love about the Southern Arcana books is that they start out making you wonder where things are going and how the plot fits into the big picture and along the way. And then it just all falls perfectly into place. CIPHER was no different as it showed off perfectly how the authors take story lines across the books, in this case linking CROSSROADS and CIPHER together even more firmly and answering questions I was left with when I finished with CROSSROADS. These authors intricately weave the books together through an overall story arc that fans out in different smaller plotlines in each book. And while reading the first two I didn't notice this but the further along in the series you get, the more clear this cleverly set up world becomes. I love it when authors in paranormal romance do this.

The world that Moira Rogers has built throughout these first 4 books of the series is nothing short of amazing. Though I am not a big fan of paranormal romance with psychics I love this series. The mix of psychics, shifters and wizards combined with the fresh and original plots and a complementing writing style that resonates with me are the major factors for that.

This series is turning out to be very consistent in quality. The different approaches of the world in each book keep them distinct and the different couple combinations with perfectly matched, strong characters keep them from turning into carbon copies of the other books in the series, a danger that lurks around the corner in paranormal romance series.

CIPHER was another great installment to the Southern Arcana series. The plot was awesome, the characters had depth and strength, the romance broke my heart and I can't wait for the next book.

Favorite Quotes:
Their friendship had danced along this line for months, no longer just friends but not yet something else. The enormity of what they could be trembled inside her, whispering of epic love, humbling and intimidating.

For one crazy second she wished she was his girl, that she’d met him before her broken heart had healed wrong, before life had twisted her up until even a handsome, skilled lover couldn’t keep passion from fizzling out. Maybe her empathy would always be a curse—she knew exactly what she had…and everything she was missing.

Share a bed with him? If she’d had a masochistic streak, maybe. Or if he was going to sleep in a parka. Fear had a funny way of waking up all of her nerves, and a lot of them seemed to be tracing the memory of his chest under her palms.

His lips, on hers. Parting, and oh God , he knew how to kiss, like he was hungry, like he loved the taste of her, and Kat became mortally certain that her knees were going to give out if he got his tongue in on the action. Her body throbbed with the rhythm of his mouth moving on hers, until she was one exposed nerve, and she would have begged him to touch her anywhere—everywhere—if she wouldn’t have had to stop kissing him.

“I have two hands, Kat,” he reminded her. “I can take care of things myself.”
It was not remotely okay to pause and savor that image, but she couldn’t stop herself. Andrew, stretched out, his face slack with pleasure, the muscles in his arm flexing as he curled his fingers around—
She slapped her hands over her face and actually whimpered. “That was mean.”
“Was it?”
Anything else she said would reveal her newly formed and overwhelming need to watch him and his two hands take care of things. So she leaned down and kissed him again.

A gentle kiss from a controlled man trying to make her feel safe, with no clue that his tender protectiveness turned her inside out.

Biting her would send them both spinning, but he had to. He had to. He closed his teeth on the delicate, pale skin at the base of her throat.
She cried out. Not just with physical enjoyment, though that thrummed through him strong enough to shiver pleasure up his spine. In that moment, underneath sensation, he caught a hint of her , open and vulnerable and so relieved to be wanted. So relieved to be his.
It tripped instincts he’d fought so hard to wrestle under control. Possessive, protective ones that demanded he close his arms around her, keep her safe from everything, including herself. “ Kat. ”

His expression had turned grave. “It doesn’t have to be, not if it’s too much for you. I swear, Kat, sometimes I think I’d live with half your heart if that was all I could get.”
If he kept saying things like that, her heart might thud its way out of her chest. “You don’t have to. It’s not in very good shape anymore, but it’s all yours.”

“You’re all that matters.” He smoothed his hands over her cheeks and tried to make her understand. “I’ll save every damn person in the world if I can, Kat, but if I ever have to choose between them and you… It’s not even a choice. It’ll always be you.”


Aurian said...

Great review Pearl, I just won the first book in the series, and am anxious to start reading.

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GR Reading Challenge

2011 Reading Challenge

Pearl has read 10 books toward her goal of 50 books.

On My TBR Shelf

  • Unforgivable - Laura Griffin
  • Snapped - Laura Griffin
  • Darkness at Dawn - Elizabeth Jennings
  • Sizzle and Burn - Alexis Grant
  • No Mercy - Lori Armstrong
  • Animal Magnetism - Jill Shalvis
  • Crazy for Love - Victoria Dahl
  • Kink - Saskia Walker/Sasha White
  • So Sensitive - Anne Rainey
  • Dark Taste of Rapture - Gena Showalter
  • The Darkest Secret - Gena Showalter
  • Vampire in Atlantis - Alyssa Day
  • Vampire Dragon - Annette Blair
  • Captive Spirit - Anna Windsor
  • Chosen by Blood - Virna DePaul
  • Rebel - Zoe Archer
  • Stranger - Zoe Archer
  • A Taste of Desire - Beverley Kendall
  • Mistress by Midnight - Maggie Robinson
  • To Desire a Devil - Elizabeth Hoyt
  • To Tame a Dangerous Lord - Nicole Jordan

Digital TBR Next

  • Driven - Jayne Rylon (reread)
  • Shifting Gears - Jayne Rylon
  • Beg Me - Shiloh Walker
  • Tempt Me - Shiloh Walker
  • Jazz Baby - Lorelie Brown
  • Playboy Prankster - Pamela Britton
  • Just Like That - Erin Nicholas
  • Sweet Inspiration - Penny Watson
  • Breathe - Donna Alward
  • My Gigolo - Molly Burkhart
  • Scent of Persuason - Nikki Duncan

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