Zack Wright grew up in a famous hunter family. His parents, siblings, and other relatives are all renowned in the hunter world for their skills in tracking and killing vampires and other supernaturals. However, Zack has never quite fit in with the rest of his family. While he shares their desire to slay the evil creatures out there, one mistake when he was younger caused Zach to lose their trust. So while Zack handles all the research and logistics for the family missions, no one will let him go out on hunts. When Zach gets some intel about a legendary vampire who may be vulnerable, Zach decides to go it alone and try to take him down, figuring that will show his family once and for all that he is worthy.
Roger is a high-ranking vampire with a powerful, but vicious sire. Roger knows someone needs to take his sire down, and he was plotting to do just that. So he is shocked to find himself awakened in a coffin in a strange basement by a young vampire hunter trying to kill him. Roger is even more shocked to realize that he has apparently been in some sort of magical coma since 1987. He has no idea where he is, who was trying to get rid of him, or how he got to the house. But he does know that while he may be weakened, he is not going to let this new hunter get the best of him.
While Zach is far more skilled than anyone gives him credit for, he is still no match for Roger and is soon in over his head. He can’t believe that his solo mission went so wrong, so fast, and he knows his family will never let him forget it, particularly his cruel older brother. Yet as Roger and Zach talk more, they realize they may be able to provide some mutual benefit to one another. Roger needs to know who attacked him and why. He also still is determined to take down his former sire, something he can’t do alone in his weakened state. For his part, if Zach helps Roger take down his sire, he could have the kill of all kills, something that would surely bring him back into his family’s good graces. The catch is that for their plan to work, Zach must fit into vampire society, and that means pretending to belong to Roger as his pet human.
At first, the men are only working together out of convenience, but before too long, they realize there may be something more between them. But with someone threatening both Roger and Zack, it will take all they have to stay alive to fight their ultimate battle.
Wrong Hunt is the first book in J.S. Harker’s new Fang and Dagger series. I love an enemies to lovers story and this one has such a fun and clever set up. I enjoyed both the hunter versus vampire element, as well as the idea of Roger waking up having lost more than 30 years of time.
We meet Zack first and see how hard he is working to prove himself to his family. They are renowned hunters and it is their life’s work, spending all their time training and on missions. While Zack is just as skilled as the rest of them, and he zealously believes in the calling to kill evil supernaturals, his one past mistake means that no one trusts him now and they won’t let him come along on their hunts. It is clear to Roger (as it is to us as readers) just how badly Zack’s family treats him. He is taken for granted and left feeling like he has to constantly fight to prove himself to them, to no avail. It is also clear that while Zack may believe his family’s brainwashing about how all supernaturals are evil, that he has a kind soul underneath. It takes some time for him to recognize how he has swallowed everything he has been told, and that there is much more to the world than what his family believes. It gives a nice growth arc for Zack as he comes into his own, both as a skilled hunter, but also learning more about the world versus blindly accepting his family’s dogma.
Even as the men decide to team up, there is some fun here as Zack needs to blend into vampire society so that the two can get close enough to Roger’s sire to take him down. That means pretending to belong to Roger, something that Zach disdains, but grudgingly agrees. It adds another element to the enemies to lovers dynamic, as well as giving time for these men to act on their growing feelings for each other. I didn’t always totally feel the chemistry here as much as I wanted, and Zack has a tendency to seem constantly horny at inappropriate times, but I did enjoy the dynamic between them.
Aside from the conflict between the men, there are a lot of other big picture world issues they face. I think Harker sets things up nicely with the world building, giving us some vampire politics as the guys try to navigate the local vampire community, as well as prepare to take on Roger’s sire. There is also someone trying to kill the men, as well as the looming question of who attacked Roger and put him into the magical coma and why. At times I found things felt a little loose and unclear to me. For example, Zack comes from this notorious hunter family, one that virtually everyone seems to know. Many vampires live in fear of Zack’s family, yet he and Roger keep telling people who he is and none of the supernaturals really seem to have a problem with that. Even more, everyone totally just buys that somehow this guy who is part of the most threatening hunter clan out there is suddenly Roger’s human pet. It just felt like some of these thing didn’t fully come together for me clearly enough.
This story does resolve one of the main issues in terms of the current threat to the men, but the bigger picture question of who put Roger in the coma, as well as the pending takedown of Roger’s sire are still left open. As this is the first in the series, I assume we will see these issues develop further as the books continue. I thought this was a nice start to the series and I am interested in seeing how things develop from here.