Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book
Rate this book
To find her destiny, she must trust him with her life...and her heart.

Jackson Holt makes a decent living as a private investigator in New Orleans, home of one of the largest underground supernatural populations in the United States. He and his partners have never met a case they couldn't crack...until a local bar owner asks him to do a little digging on her newest hire.

New Orleans is the fourth destination in as many months for Mackenzie Brooks, a woman on the run from a deranged stalker. After all, any man who shows up on her doorstep claiming to be her destined lover has more than a few screws loose. But crazy doesn't explain why he always finds her no matter how far she runs.

When her well-meaning boss puts a PI on her case, Mackenzie comes face to face with the incredible truth: magic is real, and whatever spell has kept her hidden and separate from the paranormal world is rapidly deteriorating.

With time running out, she has no choice but to trust Jackson as he struggles to uncover the truth of her past-and her destiny.

This book contains devious schemes, epic battles, forbidden love between a shapeshifter and a spellcaster, nosy secondary characters, furniture-endangering sex and a woman fighting to choose her own destiny.

394 pages, ebook

First published March 3, 2009

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Moira Rogers

89 books909 followers
How do you make a Moira Rogers? Take a former forensic science and nursing student obsessed with paranormal romance and add a computer programmer with a passion for gritty urban fantasy. Toss in a dash of whimsy and a lot of caffeine, and enjoy with a side of chocolate by the light of the full moon.

By day, Bree and Donna are mild-mannered ladies who reside in the Deep South. At night, when their husbands and children are asleep, they combine forces to unleash the product of their fevered imaginations upon the page.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
935 (20%)
4 stars
1,610 (35%)
3 stars
1,395 (30%)
2 stars
459 (10%)
1 star
138 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 431 reviews
Profile Image for Lady Heather .
1,299 reviews701 followers
August 25, 2011
What can I say... this book had the makings of a fantastic story, one that would have kept me an avid fan. The writing, characters, and story line were brilliant, but somewhere along the way it just 'died'.... It seems like the author came to a point in her writing and just said "Ok, lets tie up all the loose ends and finish the book" and along with it the characters lost their depth.

I'm sorry to say that I've been spoiled with strong, kick-ass heroines lately, and Mackenzie didn't cut it for me.

I really had to force myself to finish reading this...to the point I was opting to watch 'bad' prime-time TV. It became predictable and mundane.. and I lost total interest in the story around the last 50 pages.

I SO wanted to 'love' this book, because Jackson and Mackenzie had so much potential as characters, but somewhere along the way Mackenzie went from being "scared shitless" and trying to survive to some 'hollow' character.

Sorry ... but this was not my cup-of-tea.
Profile Image for Crystal Starr Light.
1,357 reviews831 followers
March 12, 2013

READ STATUS: DNF (Did Not Finish)

LAST PAGE READ: 10%, end of Chapter 3

SUNMARY: Mackenzie flees a mysterious guy and takes up a job bartending where nick is the owner and Jackson is the sexy investigator that patrons the bar. Nick thinks Mackenzie may have a secret - she is a shifter.

REASONS FOR DNF: This book is clearly paranormal romance and not urban fantasy. Reviewer is willing to read new genres, but this book was filled with cliches. Pace was slow, too many questions, not enough paranormal or romance.

X Woman Running Away from Tragic Past/Ex-Boyfriend
X Woman Gets a Bartending Job and Conveniently Has Bartending Experience
X Everyone at the Bar Loves Her Immediately
X Heroine is a curvy woman with "lustrous hair"
X Hero Watches Heroine's Apt to Make Sure She Is Safe
X Bar Owner Has Talk with Heroine Almost Exclusively about Hero and How Hot He Is
X Hero's Partner Talks with Hero Almost Exclusively about Heroine and How Much of a Lady Killer He Is
X Hero nicknames Heroine Without Her Permission
X Hero Vows Not to Ever Get Married (But Will Likely Change by the End of the Story)
X Heroine Infodumps Sally Sob Story
X Heroine Is an Orphan
X Heroine Was Adopted
X Heroine Is Afraid of Her Own Shadow
X Heroine Must Be Protected by Hero
X Heroine Hopes to Dream of Hero After Talking to Him Once


From Mackenzie's POV about Jackson, first meeting: "Something about his eyes made her want to trust him, made her long to tell him everything that had happened."

From Jackson's POV after he escorted Mackenzie to Nick's conveniently empty apartment: "What wouldn’t be so easy to settle was why Jackson could still remember the striking cobalt shade of her eyes, or the way [Mackenzie] moved like the same gravity that affected everyone else couldn’t quite reach her."

A gentle knock woke Mackenzie, jerking her rather unpleasantly from a dream about Jackson and his strong arms."

"It seemed like it had been forever since [Mackenzie]’d laughed as easily as she had in the last few days."

"Maybe, if [Mackenzie] was lucky, she could drift back to sleep and dream of Jackson Holt and his beautiful eyes again." (BTW, this last quote at 10% after our hero and heroine have had exactly ONE conversation is what made me throw in the towel.)

ASSESSMENT: People who are looking for more romance and don't mind the common romance tropes will enjoy this. People who are looking for more urban fantasy or a unique, compelling romance will be bored stiff.
Profile Image for Ashleyjo.
826 reviews435 followers
February 21, 2016

I'd rather a book just be bad from the start than to tease and entice me before leaving me high and dry.

Sampling this book WILL NOT help you determine if you'd like to buy it or not.

At First...

Storyline is interesting & suspenseful.

I'm enjoying the para plot of the FMC running from a 'stalker' claiming to be a her fated para mate.

We begin the story with her on the run. She heads to NOLA and gets a job at a bar. Her new shifter boss is concerned about her skittish behavior and calls in her para buddies to investigate. Enter the MMC, Jackson, his partner, and a host of other friends. They all immediately adopt Mckensie into their group.

The writing is crisp, clean, fun, engaging, and believable. The flow and pacing are moving along quickly.

My only complaint at this point is that voice infliction and word choices could be a little better.

"So what if his eyes kept flickering back to Mackenzie and her lustrous hair."

In terms of a character's voice matching his/her persona, Jackson often uses girly word choices.

If willing to go with it because the plot is good so far.

And, then...

Falling Apart By Midpoint...

Did we switch authors somewhere?

The writing crawls. The plot is falling apart. The characters aren't developing.

I'm at 46% and realize this story has been steadily falling apart at the seams for some time.

The Romance Is Shitty...

Mackenzie and Jackson are NOT progressing individually nor as a romance.

He's hot. She's hot. They're hot for each other. Both think her stalker, para, and overall dangerous situation means that it's no time to get hot.

She begs him, throws herself at him, always initiates, and is the aggressor here - sometimes in lucidity and sometimes in a frenzied heat. Ehh, the way it's written, it's a turn off.

Meanwhile, Jackson's response is lukewarm at best, girly at worst. It reminds me of a city girl swatting at a fly. Sure he occasionally throws in an 'oh, it's so difficult to contain myself.' But his actions and dialogue DO NOT portray a man struggling to contain heartfelt feelings nor manly lust.... More like someone indifferent.

So, it's a rinse, recycle, and repeat of an unbelievable sexual angst situation that's much ado and leaving me bored, annoyed, and unfulfilled.

Speaking of Repetitive...

I'm tired of hearing the same plot lines multiple times to extend this book's word count.

Steven the cat, for example, explains what he knows to Jackson. Off-page, Steven tells the same to Mahalia, who then turns around and recounts it to the FMC, making the second time we go through the shit.


The only thing forcing me forward is the para plot line, and even it's on thin ice.

Collapses In On Itself

As this shitshow progresses, all the pieces start rolling around and crumble into a heaping pile of rubbish.

• The MCs never develop because too much time is spent intro'ing and planting seeds for the secondary character books to follow.

• Zero chemistry. Zero sexy times. Zero heartthrob. Zero ... Zero... Zero.

• The FMC is a stranger to these people and they're ALL willing to die for her.

• The leader of the wolves, who has nada to do with this, is willing to risk his most prized possession, which also happens to be his child, to fight someone else's fight... whom he's never even met.

• Inaction! it takes multiple chapters of BS schematics and horsing around for the rescue attempt. TMI, and it's useless info at that.

• Bad guy turns good guy goodie two shoes with no reasoning other than 'oops didn't know the main bad guy was really a bad guy.' Laughable.

• Meaningless death of a secondary character followed by asinine self-blame by the MCs. Eyeroll.

• Escape of the bad guy turned good guy and the FMC via a thug with a conscious and death wish.

• Sex scene FROM HELL! This shit was what I imagine it would sound like if Ann Colter & Bill Orielly had sex. Half a fucking chapter of yapping as they are attempting to have sex the first time. And I'm not talking 'oh baby do you like it that way, this way, etc' ... I'm talking I expected them to start a discussion on the nutritional value of broccoli any fucking minute. Horrible!

• I love you out of nowhere.

• Stupid AF bad guy solution and resolve. It was a bunch of stringed together para nonsense that didn't fit with what had already happened and was dull and anticlimactic.

Bottom Line

Excellent para idea that started well but quickly became a complete fail in execution.

Recommend? No.
Continue forward in series? No.

Profile Image for Mandi.
2,306 reviews725 followers
July 26, 2011
Mackenzie Brooks is scared. She has been running from her ex-boyfriend, Marcus through five states, and no matter how many times she dumps her car or hides out, his people always seem to track her down. She has ended up in New Orleans, and has taken employment at the local bar, in desperate need of money. While working, she craves normalcy and desperately just wants to fit in. However, she is so scared of the men chasing her and their crazy ideas about magic and other unbelievable things that she can not allow herself to let her guard down. She does her best to be a flirty, carefree bartender but she is not fooling the patrons especially her boss Nick. Although she is on edge, she can’t help but notice the hunky guy that hangs out, Jackson Holt.

Worried she is in trouble, Nick sends Jackson, a private investigator, to follow Mackenize home one night. Mackenzie, who is used to being followed and totally on edge, realizes Jackson is following her and has to make a decision right there whether she is going to fight and flee, or fight to stay. Making the very hard decision that Nick probably wouldn't try to hurt her, she decides to trust these people. She ends up moving into the apartment above the bar.

Nick, Jackson, and his partner Alec all know something is a little off with Mackenzie, and it is not just her fear. They have a feeling she is a shapeshifter, but not a wolf like Nick and Alec, nor a wizard like Jackson and they are stumped. Jackson decides there is something special about Mackenzie is he is not going to let her run off. When Marcus’ men track her down again, Jackson uses his magic to fend them off. Now Mackenzie must believe magic and supernatural beings exist and trust those around her to keep her safe.

The writing team of Moira Rogers, aka Bree and Donna, really impressed me with Crux. It is one of those books where you sit down and are immediately at ease with the pages. They have a really great smooth, witty writing style and some of the most engaging characters I have read.

Jackson describes himself as a “charming bastard,” and that sums him up well. He very alpha in his protectiveness but over all a really nice guy. He is not cocky, or arrogant, just a man you definitely would want to take home to your mother. He is also built, tall and as Mackenzie tells him, “unfairly sexy.”

I loved Mackenize too. At the beginning of the book she is terrified and on the run, but once she trusts Jackson and the events happening to her and around her, the true Mackenize opens up and she embraces life and is carefree. What I truly love about this heroine is when she is in trouble, she accepts help. She listens when they tell her what to do – she knows they know more about this magic then she does. She never puts herself in a TSTL (too stupid to live) situation, which I often find heroines who just discover magic fall into.

The love scenes, while not abundant in quantity, make up for in in quality. My favorite part is the amount of talking during the scenes. These two never stop the chatter, and it really is a turn on during these scenes.

My absolute favorite part of the book are the supporting characters. We get introduced to so many, yet as the reader you will definitely come to know all of them, and quite well. There is Alec (ladies I’ve already claimed him so move along) who is Jackson’s partner and very quiet, very alpha, very mysterious (he will be the hero in book three, Deadloc). Kat, the secretary who is more of a computer whiz and like a kid sister to Jackson and Alec.

There is also Nick, who owns the bar and her father just happens to be head alpha wolf, although she wants nothing to do with the politics that status brings her family. Nick becomes a great friend to Mackenize, making sure the boys keep themselves in line. Nick is the heroine in the next book, Crossroads, which I am starting very soon!

I absolutely recommend Crux and I am very eager to try more from Moira Rogers.
385 reviews39 followers
February 7, 2021
Or 2.5 rounded up automatically. As other reviewers have noted, this book starts very well. The third-person narration brings us right into the central suspense of the whole story and presents three fairly well-rounded characters.

Mackenzie Brooks is on the run from Marcus, a crazed stalker who claims she is his destined mate. From her home town in South Dakota she's fled to Minneapolis, then Chicago, then Memphis, and in each city he has somehow managed to track her down. Now she's in New Orleans and broke, so she gets a job in a French Quarter bar run by Nicole "Nick" Peyton.

Nick sees right away that there's something wrong and gets Andrew Jackson Holt, private investigator, to check up on Mackenzie. He follows her to her lodging, sees that it's very dangerous there, and gets her to move into an apartment above Nick's bar for her own safety from Marcus and his thugs. There's more to Marcus than a random lone psycho, isn't there?

Well, Nick is a werewolf (and her daddy is a werewolf alpha back in New York), Jackson Holt is a spell-caster, and New Orleans is full of supernaturals. As the blurb tells us,
Mackenzie comes face to face with the incredible truth: magic is real, and whatever spell has kept her hidden and separate from the paranormal world is rapidly deteriorating.
As early as page 14 in my edition, Nick tells Jackson, "I think she [Mackenzie] might be a shapeshifter," and by page 20 Jackson remembers Nick's saying "not a wolf, something else." Very soon we learn that Jackson can cast a seeing spell, and he can also throw up an invisibility shield (which is what he does to demonstrate to Mackenzie that magic is real).

Unfortunately for this review, Crux is one of those books in which the most interesting parts of the plot are deep within spoiler territory, very much including the real Big Bad Guy and his enormous power, and most interesting of all--just what Mackenzie finds out she is and never had a clue before!

Mackenzie, Jackson, and Nick are fairly well-rounded as I said, and I got to know and like them as I did with Jackson's old mentor Mahalia and Nick's twin Michelle. We meet a number of other characters, including Jackson's partner Alec, who are much more one-dimensional. And there's no real arc of character development for anyone, except that we see how Mackenzie responds to each revelation and each new danger--but that's really the events of the story bringing out what she's always had in her.

The adventure is well designed, but the pacing suffers considerably, I think, from constant small talk among the characters that doesn't advance the storyline. Possibly the intention was for us to get to know them better, but most of the talk is too superficial to reveal much of each character.

Other notes: there's a surprise killing of a sympathetic character, and there's a very graphic sex scene that goes on for fifteen pages--how do they manage to talk so much during it? And different parts of the adventure take place in New Orleans, in Boca Raton, Florida, in northern New Hampshire, and in Boston, but the writing didn't give me a sense of any of those places. Not even New Orleans, though the dropping of local street names (Poydras, Magazine, etc.) let me fill in from memory.

And no vampires--in this world they're purely fictional!
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
3,000 reviews1,643 followers
January 20, 2016
I was interrupted in the midst of reading this and found it really hard to come back to. I actually persisted another quarter of the book, but found myself wishing I were reading something else. So I did.

The thing is, the characters are interesting and I wouldn't have minded spending more time with them. Mackenzie was a little hard to like at first, even though she had my sympathy from the first. Jackson is immediately engaging, though, and I warmed up to Kenzie through him. Their relationship goes from zero to sixty rather fast, but I found I didn't mind that nearly as much as I normally do. I just liked how much he cared about her and how she responded was sweet.

But the world around them? Yeah, not so much. The weird is pretty standard in the world. Weres, magic, psychics, etc. Which is fine. What wasn't so fine was the overwhelming suck involved. By which I mean the power structures are made for fascism—individuality and choice are pretty much unknown. This stays in the background for a while because Jackson's friends are independent, accepting people and you can see how much they care about the people around them and even for complete strangers. It isn't until you meet the "normal" paranormal folks that you discover how oppressive everything really is. I hated that right off and it just kept plumbing new depths of suck as it went along.

All of which was magnified by the epically unbalanced power wielded by "seers". I'm not sure why an author would want that kind of imbalance in her world, but I think this is a great case for why it's a bad idea. Someone with godlike powers and no functional check is asking for trouble. Rogers is good enough not to ignore the implications, but the impact of that kind of setup is huge and having the main characters run into it face-first was overwhelming to me.

So I stopped reading somewhere around the 80% mark. I just couldn't take the oppressive background and even if the characters take out their main bad-guy at the end of this book the whole setup is such that each remaining story is going to face the same kind of problems in the same disempowering way.

So yeah, not for me. The writing is good and the viewpoint characters fun, but the rest I find off-putting. It's a personality thing, I know, so take it for what it's worth.
Profile Image for Aly is so frigging bored.
1,632 reviews273 followers
January 24, 2014
Actual rating: 3.5*

Crux was a great start to a new series. We are introduced to this universe co-existing with our own through the eyes of the heroine, Mackenzie. She is running away from a stalker[Marcus] convinced he’s her destined mate, father of her magical babies… Unfortunately all isn’t what it seems.

On the run, Kenzie gets hired in a bar in the French Quarter, New Orleans. Nicole, Nick, her boss, has one of her friends fallow her to find up if she really is living ok or if she’s in trouble. When Jackson sees where she stays, he talks her into moving above the bar. The next morning… problems came knocking[there are guns and spells involved].

After all this Kenzie starts fearing her sanity even more: what sane person believes in magic and shifters? Not little is her astonishment to discover this alternate world right under her nose. All her new friends and allies are either spell casters or shifters and she herself is a cougar. She finds out more about her parents and her past and that what Marcus said is actually true[at least partially]. All these revelations and the initial plan concocted before she was born change her life forever.

Mackenzie is a 24 years woman who loves to dance and dreams to own her own school to teach others about her passion. She is uprooted from her life, but still finds it in her to trust, to laugh and, most importantly, to hope and try to make things better. She never lets her circumstances beat her down. Jackson is a charmer, a white knight who sees through the façade Kenzie has and, as Nick does, offers to help her out, with no strings attached.

I enjoyed seeing them with each other and their friends. I was at the edge of my seat when things started to happen[can’t say what, you really have to read and find out for yourselves] and when the book ended I definitely wanted to know more about everybody[how’s Nick’s crush developing/or not, Kat’s overbearing cousin, Alec, Nick’s sister, even Marcus] and some answers about who the hell broke into Kat’s apartment…

All in all I really enjoyed this book and the characters team Rogers wrote and their stories. All of them are so life-like, they have real concerns, family and difficult relationships, they have ups and downs, they are real. While reading the novel I rooted for them, cried at their sorrows and wanted to shout them encouragements :D I would only change the abrupt ending, it felt kind of rushed to me…The story is really engaging and it doesn’t feel like reading, more like watching a movie, the introduction to the world is smooth[though it has a small info-dump when they are trying to tell Mackenzie all about the paranormal world] and as I said before the characters feel like real people. I will definitely continue this series.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
793 reviews19 followers
January 10, 2010
2 1/2 stars. Read this a few days ago and saying I was disappointed is putting it nicely. I've been blowing through the Rogers short stories and ebooks and I had very high hopes for my first full length novel. The premise is excellent and the writing is good but most anything pleasant I have to say ends there.

There were too many secondary characters. This confused me and actually left me pretty bored. The story layout was predictable, especially the ending, and I could barely tolerate the sickly sweet dialogue. And the gravest fault? The romance between the two main characters fell flat.

Now, this by no means will discourage me from reading any other Rogers books but I am in no hurry to read book 2 of this series when it comes out this year.
July 29, 2023
I bought the whole series 7 years ago but only ever read the first few books. I'm making a huge effort to read - or dump - those books purchased oh so long ago. Unlike some books, this didn't feel dated,

I enjoyed this just as much, if not more, the second time around. Mackenzie and Jackson are two immensely likeable characters with consistent personalities and good depth. I loved how the authors built the tension in this one, both in the plot and sexually. The world-building was good, as was the characterisation and plot. The final resolution felt a touch too easy, but overall this is an engaging story that picked me up out of a reading rut.
Profile Image for Emily.
268 reviews99 followers
November 20, 2010
It's getting to the point where the creative minds behind Moira Rogers' stories could write ads for the phone book and I'd not only preorder the damn thing, but salivate all over it once it arrived. Crux is another fun, engrossing offering from this dynamic duo that doesn't disappoint.

One of the things that most books that I really enjoy have in common is a really thoroughly detailed, really believable world that serves as the setting, with rules that make sense and are "enforced" consistently. Crux doesn't apologize for being the first book in a series at all; instead, a lot of time and pages are devoted to explaining how the world works, what the supernatural elements are and how they work, and why the super bad guy is a) super bad and b) just what exactly his aims and goals are anyway. The bad guy here's goal is to preserve Cougar shapeshifters at all costs, and what would otherwise be a relatively normal seeming goal is twisted into something seriously creepy.

There are some standard elements from PNR here that seem to show up everywhere; Mac is completely unaware that she's a Cougar and therefore is completely unaware of just why she's being pursued so doggedly. The hero, PI/spellcaster Jackson Holt, has to save the day and the lady by tapping all of his supernatural powers. Of course there's a supporting cast of characters who have to be available to save the day, and the setup for the next book is done well.

I really enjoyed the realism that was infused into the characters; Mac was incredulous about the supernatural woo woo that was the source of all her problems but not to the point that it slowed down the story, and Holt was reluctant to act on his feelings for Mac because of the obviously bad timing and the fact that he figured she'd need some time to process things before getting involved with him. When the time came, though, there were no hurt feelings or stupid misunderstandings; they were two adults, making adult decisions in an adult way.

If you're into shapeshifters and magic, romance and adventure, and writing that rolls with the punches, then I definitely recommend this book to you.

Overall Grade: A

Read more reviews and other good stuff at What Book is That?
Profile Image for D.B. Reynolds.
Author 39 books2,333 followers
December 30, 2015
I started this series because I was desperate for a "Kit Rocha" fix while waiting for the next book in the terrific Beyond series. What I found was a whole new wonderful series, the Southern Arcana. Moira Rogers is another pen name for the writing team of Donna Herren and Bree Bridges, and they sure know how to create a fascinating world. I love the Southern Arcana just as much as I do the Sectors. This series is werewolves and other shifters, plus witches and telepaths and empaths and pretty much anything supernatural. You don't have to start with Book One (I didn't) but the series will make more sense to you if you do, because there are recurring characters, which means later books contain spoilers for the earlier books.
Profile Image for ✿~Danielle~✿.
4,205 reviews13 followers
March 20, 2017

4 stars

Read January 2014

I enjoyed this one! Loved both hero and heroine. Great sexual tension/chemistry between them. Liked the secondary characters too. Looking forward to reading more in this series.
Profile Image for Tracy.
933 reviews70 followers
April 3, 2011
~* 2.5 Stars *~
The Crux of a Different Matter Altogether

Mackenzie Brooks is on the run from a crazy stalker. For a month she's fled from city to city, forced to survive in ratty motels, burning through her meager savings, haunted by confusing dreams and desperately trying to stay ahead of the threat chasing her. When she ends up in New Orleans, her financial situation demands she takes a job as a bartender to try to bolster her funds. The owner of the bar, Nicky Peyton, knows something isn't quite right with Mackenzie, guessing she's on the run and doubting she's got a place to stay as Mackenzie had insisted. Nicky calls in a favor, asking her best friend and private investigator, Jackson Holt, to shadow the skittish Mackenzie on her way home from the bar one night to assure Nicky that her newest employee and friend is safe and has a place to sleep. When Mackenzie picks up her tail that fateful night, and they meet face to face, it sets their lives on a path neither could have dreamed of...even in their worst nightmares...and introduces Mackenzie to a truth she would have to be insane to believe. Soon the reality of magic and shapeshifters, mad Seers and psychics is set to crash down on them both and only their bond - and the help of a few friends - will save them.

Crux started out strong, the visceral fear and uncertainty of Mackenzie was well written and the plot quickly paced through the induction of Mackenzie both to Jackson and into a world she isn't sure she can actually believe in. I was set to really enjoy this book and thought it had a lot of potential with an interesting premise and unique character set. Unfortunately, I'm starting to feel like a bit of a curmudgeon, because much like the last few books I've read that got great reviews and were highly rated, I just barely liked this book and almost rated it two stars. After a great beginning, I think the book just fell apart for me. On just about every front.

The pieces were there for a really kick ass urban fantasy/paranormal romance. I thought the cast of characters were strong and the plot definitely appealing and interesting. The execution, however, was so lacking I repeatedly stumbled over my willing suspension of disbelief. I could understand why some characters were willing to help Mackenzie, and utterly befuddled by the motivation in others - and no believable explanation for those questionable motivations were given. I totally bought into the decisions made as the plot got more and more dangerous...but couldn't figure out why some aspects of the plot were even included, as they did nothing but lesson tension at important points. There were a few instances where I felt actions taken or character development directly contradicted previous definitions and information. And without wanting to include spoilers, I know I sound overly critical and vague, and that frustrates me because I have several pointed questions about specific events.

I will say this...I don't think this will add too many spoilers...one of the bigger points that bothered me was the Alpha's personal participation, given his definition in a previous part of the book. And I was never fully invested in the relationship between Mackenzie and Jackson because of the odd way I felt it developed. I liked them together, but I just didn't feel like they were given enough time to develop beyond a physical attraction, nor was the narrative in that area fleshed out enough to get me to where they were by the end of the book.

As a result, Crux ended up feeling very much like a puzzle with a bunch of brilliantly colored pieces, but the placement of each just wasn't quite right, so the puzzle as a whole didn't come together for me into one cohesive story. There was a lot of promise, and a lot of potential, but I just didn't feel it was ever realized for me. And the parts that didn't work for me didn't work to such a large degree that I would have to think very hard before continuing on to book two of the series.

Reviewed for One Good Book Deserves Another.
Profile Image for Sarah.
3,343 reviews1,015 followers
December 10, 2010
Mackenzie is running scared, trying to escape from a crazy stalker who seems to be able to find her no matter where she goes. Running out of options she finds herself a job in a bar to try and build up her dwindling savings and although she finds herself wishing she could stay in New Orleans she knows she must be ready to leave at a moments notice. Her new boss Nicole is worried about her, she knows Kenzie is hiding something and fears for her safety so she asks her friend and PI Jackson to investigate. Jackson finds out more than he bargained for and Kenzie soon discovers a whole supernatural society that she had no idea existed.

Crux is a book I purchased ages ago and I have no idea why it has taken me so long to get around to reading it - I wish I'd started it sooner but the good news is that book 2 (Crossroads) is already available and I only have to wait until January to get my hands on book 3 (Deadlock). I won't be leaving it too long before I read both of those because I thoroughly enjoyed Crux.

Mackenzie is a great heroine, although she is scared of her stalker and then shocked when she discovers this whole supernatural world she doesn't whine and complain the whole time. She isn't a wimpy character and she is prepared to help herself rather than just sit back and wait to be rescued. Having said that I also liked the fact that she is willing to accept advice from those who know more about the situation she finds herself in than she does. Although she is wary of Jackson and Nicole at first she feels instinctively that she can trust them and is grateful for the help and support they offer her.

Jackson is a man who would be easy to fall for, a bit of a player he certainly has the charm and the looks but he also has a more sensitive and caring side and he cooks a mean Italian too. Although he is protective he doesn't act in an overbearing way which is something I really liked about him. Jackson and Kenzie together have fantastic chemistry and I loved the sexual tension between them. There is something more fulfilling about a relationship where the characters don't immediately jump into bed together and believe me it is well worth the wait with these two. I also loved the banter between them and would have been happy to spend more time with the couple.

Although this is a paranormal romance it is one that straddles the lines with urban fantasy and has plenty of action and an interesting plot to back it up. There is a great cast of supporting characters and although there are a few different names to remember we got to know enough about each of them to make me want to spend more time with them. Each of the characters have their own distinctive personality and I didn't find I had any problems remembering who was who.

I was impressed with the world building and am looking forward to spending more time with these characters. Crux was a great start to a series which has left me itching to start reading the next book and I'm sure this series will only get better. I'd definitely recommend Crux to fans of both paranormal romance and urban fantasy, I'm sure you'll enjoy it! If you haven't tried anything by Moira Rogers (writing duo Bree and Donna) yet then you're missing out and this would definitely be a good place to start.
Profile Image for Fangirl Musings.
427 reviews106 followers
August 24, 2012
(Smuttastic Coven Group Read: August 2012)

This book is complicated, not so much in its essence, but more in my reflection. Overall, I liked the book (I think)...but holy crap on a cracker, it has some problems.

The novel's plot was pretty cut-and-paste of most standard fiction tropes; crazy powerful bad guy hunting down the innocent heroine. The antagonist of the story, ironically, shared a lot in common with the protagonists...Shocking, right? This statement finds itself more along the lines of Author's Fault rather than the actual development of the story. Frankly, while the book was decent, it was painfully obvious that absolutely no character development took place over the course of Crux...with ANY of the characters.

Jackson was likable. Mackenzie was likable. All the secondary cast of characters were likable. Sadly, that's the problem. From Prologue to Epilogue nothing stronger than outside influences affected the characters. There was, truly, almost a poignant lack of internal conflict, both with the characters independently of one another, as well as in the context of being a couple. Neither character experienced growth, nor loss, nor difficulty. This, I feel, is largely why the climax of the book felt so disappointing. So much buildup and drama was established in Getting The Bad Guy that, when said scene arrived, it very much felt as a Wham-Bam-Thank-You-Ma'am deal.

Ironically, while both the plot and characters were mediocre in their quality, the pacing of the novel was very well executed. At no time did any particular scene feel exasperatedly drawn out, even when considering the book's story-type parameters. The writing was tight and fluid, and this made for true reading enjoyment. When an author can utilize good technical skills in making a story flow well, even in spite of some tremendous pitfalls to their work of fiction, color me impressed.

Lastly, my final complaint against this book deals more towards its romantic elements, and yet still circulates back to my original Big Problem with Crux. As noted before, this novel bites big ass in character development, as well as characterization. Sadly, while there was nothing specifically wrong with Jackson and Mackenzie, their lack of on-page presence and personality made them, sadly, very unimpressive to read. These two were easily forgettable, and this could be why I found their romance to be uninteresting, and a total failure in being believable. I doubt very much if ever there was a literary couple with as little chemistry and fire as Jackson and Mackenzie. In truth, I found more heat and spark between Mackenzie and another minor character of Crux than I did with the hero...and this is saying something, since I'm betting said minor character wasn't even heterosexual!

However...the book wasn't a total loss. Overall, I have to say I'm wavering perpetually between a 2 and 3 star ranking. (I've even changed it three times back and forth since writing this review.) On the one hand, I sailed right through the book, and found myself engrossed in the story. On the other hand, that engrossment did not achieve a good payoff, since frankly, the book is easily forgettable. I both liked it, and thought it was okay.
Profile Image for Marsha.
2,973 reviews51 followers
July 7, 2010
I have been in a reading "funk" lately. Almost everything I have been reading is just "O.K." So, when I read the description for Crux, I thought I might have stumbled upon a new series with the promise of truly being good. Unfortunately, it did not deliver for me. Don't get me wrong, I liked it, I just did not love it.
Mackenzie Brooks has been on the run for over a month from an insane stalker, Marcus who believes she is destined to be his wife and the mother of many supernaturally gifted babies. She runs to New Orleans where she takes a job as a bartender. Her boss, Nicole Peyton has secrets of her own and sense Kenzie has troubles. So, she hires a friend, Jackson Holt, P.I. to follow her to make sure she is safe. Kenzie discovers she is being followed and a friendship blossoms. Now, Mackenzie's discovers that the supernatural world is not a myth and her world is about to change forever. Sounds good, right? Well, it just did not deliver. This book read like a short story rather than the beginning of new series. The author jams friendship and love within the first 70 pages. It just did not feel believable. Ms. Rogers had plenty of opportunity to set up solid characterizations before moving on to unbelievable attachments. After all, the book is only 253 pages. She could have added another 100 pages to allow the characters to blossom before jumping right into the plot. Read it for yourself and you decide. God, I cannot wait for my favorite sequels to come out. I am so reading challenged!
Profile Image for Mojca.
2,133 reviews148 followers
May 31, 2011
I loved Ms. Rogers’ Sanctuary series and I knew I’d love this new series. I just didn’t know how much. I absolutely adored the world-building (who would’ve thought—shapeshifters, witches, spell-casters, psychics...but no vampires), and the initial cast of characters, who I have on good authority will continue appearing in future books, made me literally itch for more.

Wonderful pacing, great plot and suspense, amazing characters (the heroine didn’t annoy me, the hero made me drool, their friends and co-workers were wonderfully “painted”), great tension, wonderful chemistry, hot sex...I loved it from beginning to end.
Profile Image for Dark Faerie Tales.
2,274 reviews547 followers
July 24, 2012
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: A gut twisting tale of destiny versus free will, love versus duty, and fighting for individual rights compared to the greater good.

Opening Sentence: ”Nicole Peyton, as I live and breathe.”

The Review:

Crux is about a woman unknowing of her past and her destiny. But Destiny is a funny thing: Is it our fate to follow this pre-ordained series of events or do we have the free will to start down that path to begin with? Mackenzie doesn’t know about her heritage or her supposed destiny. She is unaware that she is a rare were-cougar that has been bred specifically to save her race. All she knows is that she is being hunted by a very scary man that spouts off the most crazy things (supernatural stuff is all hooey, right?) and has shown a tendency to kill those that get in his way. So when Mackenzie finds a place and people that make her feel safe, what is she willing to do to keep it?

Jessica “Mackenzie” Evans has been on the run for so long now; she no longer remembers what it’s like to feel safe and secure. When she starts bartending for cash under the table in a bar in New Orleans, her employer asks a friend to discreetly make sure she is okay. Jackson Holt’s involvement starts a turning point in Mackenzie’s life. She is naturally distrustful, but seems to trust Jackson anyway. Her character has suffered tremendous stress and suffering. But she doesn’t let it completely ruin her. She finds a way to open herself up, even though her past experiences have taught her to fear strangers. By overcoming her adversity, she is able to not only find a place to call home but open up her heart to love. With the help of her friends and lover, Mackenzie is able to help to ruin the plans of a very dangerous man with his radical and extremist ideals: Thereby taking a hand in her own destiny.

Jackson Holt is a private investigator that agrees to look into the life of one of his friend’s employees, Mackenzie. What he finds out about her situation, it makes him what to help her out. Not because he is extremely attracted to her sexually, oh no. He just wants to help out his friend that owns the bar with her employee, that’s all. Sure. Jackson is a man with a strong morals and ethics. He uses his magic to help out those in need. He even tries to squash his desire for Mackenzie because he knows that she is not ready for it. The man is a true knight in shining armor; well in all fairness, the shining part could just be another neat spellcaster trick Jackson uses to impress the ladies. His easy charm and strong resolve help ground Mackenzie while she struggles to understand a whole new world that has opened up to her. A man like that is hard to find, supernatural world or otherwise.

Charles Talbot and Marcus Foster represent a whole bag of jacked up ideals that seem to plaque the supernatural community, both the were-cougars and the Council. The Council is the ruling body for the supernatural community and the head of the council is also the Alpha of the werewolves.

The underlining theme in this book is about equality. It is referenced time and again when it comes to citizenship rights of bitten weres, but also the elitist attitudes that are prevalent among the Council members. The stigma against bitten werewolves is evident everywhere you turn, even so far as to stop two people that love one another from being together. Regardless of past precedent, Charles wants the small and declining were-cougar community to survive at any cost, even going so far as ignoring the free will of its members.

I truly enjoyed this book with its many social and ethical layers. Of course, if you don’t care for those sorts of things, the love story is just as good. It is a combination of love, strife, and overcoming one’s fears that make Crux a wonderful weekend read.

Notable Scene:

The idea of freaking out was appealing, but it wasn’t the best use of her time. Instead she rested her forehead on his shoulder. “I think I’ll make it.”

“Good.” He brushed her hair away from her face. “Wouldn’t want Steven to think seeing him naked is that traumatic.”

“I heard that.” Steven’s voice drifted from behind her, and she hid her smile against Jackson’s shirt. “I’m going inside. You two take your time.”

She felt the chuckle rumble up in Jackson’s chest. “Don’t feel too bad for him. The bastard knows he has no business looking as good as he does. Damn shapeshifters, making the rest of us look bad.”

Mackenzie felt her smile grow as she slid her arms around his waist. “I don’t think you need to worry about looking bad.” She trailed her fingers absently up his back, savoring the strength and warmth she felt even through his shirt. Simply touching him was soothing in a way it shouldn’t have been, a way that had nothing to do with the sexual tension that had sparked between them the first moment they’d met.

“Yeah, tell me that in twenty years, when you still look thirty. I’ll be pushing fifty and looking every inch of it, unlike our friend, Steven, there.”

“Oh, quit whining.” She made a face at him. “Fifty-year-old men bag thirty-year-old women all the damn time.”

“Amen.” He gave her a warm grin.

FTC Advisory: Samhain Publishing graciously provided me with a copy of Crux. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. The only payments I receive are hugs and kisses from my little boys.
1,254 reviews1 follower
October 9, 2016
2.5 Stars
While this rating isn't much better than the others I've been rating lately it did actually somewhat break my good book dry spell. Don't get me wrong this book was a big hot mess, but it was an enjoyable to read hot mess with no objectionable heroes which was a nice change so it looks like maybe switching to PNR will heal my wounds. This book was action packed. It was a really exciting read but it was sort of like falling in love with someone super volatile...grand romantic gestures but unworkable day to day stuff. I had a lot of fun reading it and it passed quickly but most important parts of a book had more holes than swiss cheese. One of my favorite things about supe books is that the author can literally create anything with no need for it to be believable in reality so long as your world building supports it. While this world seemed pretty cool there was little in the way of worldbuilding. Wolves are the most prominent shifters which isn't unusual. They're the only ones who can turn a human because...who knows. There's also apparently a super hardcore vicious hierarchy even beyond normal pack craziness but we don't get much of that. There's spell casters, empaths/precogs, but no vamps. Crazy people who are both shifters and magic havers. That's pretty much the extent of the world as we know it. Plenty of interesting stuff but nothing really developed. The characters were better but not by a whole lot. There's a couple paragraphs here and there about each one separately (a few more about the h's situation) but nothing interesting on the H and all the stuff about the h was really unresolved with lots of loose ends. Together the couple were adorable but super unrealistic. H is immediately enamored and protective before he even knows what's up. h is in insta lust somehow despite the terror of running for her life and trusts him more than is reasonable. A couple days later the spell to keep her from shifting is wearing off and for some reason that makes her super horny. Even without that they can barely keep from jumping each other bones until other drama ensues and resolves and then they do jump each other's bones. The sex scenes are majorly steamy I'll give this author that much but then there are I love you's. Now despite all the action this book takes place over the course of like a week and a half...that's not enough time to fall in love and because of the drama even if it had been longer I wouldnt have trusted the "love" because emotions in adrenaline stoked situations are inherently unreliable. I did like them together but with the sequels, despite my normal disdain for them, i'd have preferred a happy after for now and seen them fall in love in the background of the others stories. The writing was technically solid but sometimes she needed to slow down. The action was fun but some scenes needed a quiet moment to appreciate the gravity of what had just happened.

Bottom line: this wasn't exactly a win but it was probably enough to break my dry spell. The author has talent but it needs some shaping to truly excel. The book was interesting enough for me to give the second a shot and hope against all hope that they do some major world building to make up for this one.

Edit: just realized that this is actually two authors writing as one. this is shocking because the two voices were seamless which is often rare in these situations but I wonder if that didn't contribute to my issues with the book.
Profile Image for Danielle Book Boss.
629 reviews60 followers
September 14, 2013
This was a decent read... Was I blown away by it.... not at all. A solid three stars and desire to read the next book.


The world that Moira Rogers creates is really interesting. You have shifters, magic users, magic using shifters, and persons with mental abilities (empaths, seers, etc.). The story is also based in New Orlwans how can you go wrong there? I liked MacKenzie (our heroine) and Jackson (our hero). A sign that i like a book is the fact that I root for my couple. If I feel indifferent or hope that the villain wins is usually a sign that the romance isn't going too well for me. I also appreciate that as a freebie, it was free. This was actually published by Samhain (Think Shelly Laurenston) so even more of a boon that this book was free. The plot was also pretty cool. The plot also leads me to my next point...

The BAD:

So sad to but some of the writing... and some of the details... I guess that gets chalked up to story line? I'm not sure... Things I didn't like:


I still want to continue this series and other books from this author.
Profile Image for Heather C (Darkly Reading).
34 reviews62 followers
February 17, 2010
In Crux we meet Mackenzie Brooks who has been on the run for months from a crazy stalker that seems to find her no matter where she goes and is willing to go to any extreme to get her. After months of running, she ends up in New Orleans working at Mahalia's which is run by Nicole Peyton, a shapeshifter that comes from a world Mac knows nothing about. Nick enlists her friend Jackson Holt, a private investigator and spell caster, to find out more about Mac and to possibly help her out. Jackson gets a glimpse at the type of trouble she is in and being the southern gentlemen he is - offers to help her out. Mac is hesitant at first accepting help from Jackson, in part because she doesn't want to see him get hurt by her stalker and in part because she is attracted to him but can't afford to be distracted by her emotions while trying to escape a crazed stalker. As the danger surrounding Mac grows, Jackson steps in to protect Mac and figure out why the stalker is after her and risks everything to keep the woman he has begun to care about safe.

The book is a well-paced read where you want to rush ahead to the next pages to figure out the mystery of Mac's stalker as well as her upbringing. Mac is a tenacious heroine that has faced difficult trials in her life and particularly in the past few months. Mac really needs someone to trust and follows her instincts about making friends with Jackson and Nick. Nick is a great character that gives everything to help people she cares about. She is definitely a favorite of mine and I loved her in the second book - Crossroads. And Jackson, what's not to like - he saves damsels in distress and cooks delicious Italian food. The authors do a great job of creating dynamic characters that you understand and care about and fight scenes that you hold you breath during because you're afraid of what's going to happen. The villian they created as well was well done and super creepy. I was happy with the ending he met up with, it was well deserved.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars, sexy shapeshifters and spell casters combined with a story you didn't want to put down.
Profile Image for Larissa.
534 reviews103 followers
April 12, 2010
I had heard a lot about this series and author on twitter and I just to check it out. I am so glad I did. The Southern Arcana series has become entered my radar and are simply an automatic buy for me right now. She is on the run from a man that claims that they are meant to be together. He is also a shifter and they are supposed to be destined for each other and save their race from extinction.

Mackenzie is a shifter that doesn’t know she is a shifter. She has all this power within her that she has no access to because she has been closed out from it as an infant.

Jackson is a PI and his best friend is a wolf shifter. When she asks him to investigate her newest bartender, Mackenzie, because she thinks there is something wrong with her, Jackson gets int the ride of his life.

I loved this book. It was such an easy read and so cool. Mackenzie is a very complex character and it was really awesome to get to know her and see her grow and change so much throughout the novel.

Jackson is HOT and a great leading man. Very determined, strong and protective, he and Mack make a great couple and their love was something you just have to get behind, its unavoidable.

The romance in Crux is sizzling, but it does not take away the merit of the plot. A terrible villain and great action make up up for a thrilling and sexy ride that you just cannot put down.

If you are into Paranormal Romance, I absolutely recommend this book to you! You won’t regret it!
Profile Image for Heather in FL.
2,022 reviews
August 28, 2012
This was a group read or I might not have chosen it. It's PNR, and I've been moving away from that. This was very interesting, though. I thought it was interesting that there was this underground shifter/witch/magic-users society, but they didn't think vampires existed. Makes me wonder if they're going to pop up in a future installment of the series.

I can't imagine growing up thinking you're human and then this gorgeous guy shows up on your doorstep talking to you about shifters and destiny and babies and such. I'd have run just like Mackenzie did. And I really liked how Jackson sort of eased her into the idea of being a shifter. She still thought she was crazy, but Jackson wasn't trying to have babies that would save her race with her. She trusted him. And Nick, who suggested Jackson follow Mackenzie home to make sure she was safe. She wasn't. They'd have found her anywhere. Poor thing.

I really enjoyed the tension between Jackson and Mackenzie. Jackson sure was a strong dude to resist what Mackenzie threw at him both on purpose and as a biological response. But it was sweet when it ultimately did happen between them.

I might be interested to continue this series. I'm interested in why the panthers are dying out, who the second boy who was produced was, when/whether Nick's twin and her bodyguard will get together. When Nick and her crush will get together. There was a lot of setup for more stories.
Profile Image for Holly.
1,670 reviews86 followers
January 8, 2010
I'm really impressed with Moira Rogers so far. I really enjoyed the world and the two main characters, along with all the secondary characters.

Mackenzie was thrown into a new world it was hard for her to accept. Giving her several months of "wondering" if what she'd heard was true made her adjustment once she found out the real truth much easier to take. Although she got hit with an information overload, I think she dealt with it well.

Jackson was a sweet good-ole-boy. I really liked him and the way he dealt with Mackenzie. Something that bothered me, however, is the way it was alluded to that he the face he showed the world - a laid back kind of guy - wasn't who he really was. Mahalia says he needs to see if Mackenzie can accept the real him. But..that was never explored. Other than the one mention, we didn't see Jackson - either from his perspective or anyone else's - as anything other than a sweet, laid back kind of guy.

The secondary characters added additional flavor to the story, though they didn't overwhelm the main protagonists. I'm definitely anxious to read more about them in the future.

Profile Image for Blodeuedd Finland.
3,438 reviews295 followers
February 22, 2011
My thoughts:

I have heard good things about these books so I wanted to give them a go. As for the genre, I am a bit unsure again because it felt like a mix.

Mackenize was a nice heroine, she is running from a crazy stalker who talks about magic and shapeshifting. She is strong, and resourceful. The hero of the book is Jackson Holt, a private investigator who helps her out. And Jack is all nice and sweet. Him I certainly liked. There is a nice romance building up between them too, and some hot passion.

The world is interesting and at once there is a bunch of characters to meet, and I do want to meet them all again. I want HEAs for all them. Nick from the bar, someone I shall not mention, Nick's sister. Many things to look forward to.

It was a good story about crazy stalker guy and more things that ...no I shall not mention that either, but there is a plan behind it all. Danger and excitement.

Recommendation and final thoughts:

A good novel, and it's biggest strength were its characters because I wanted more about them. Passion, romance and danger is always a nice combo.

618 reviews15 followers
December 18, 2015
Mackenzie has been on the run for the past month from a stalker, intent on kidnapping her to fulfill some crazy-sounding destiny. So far he’s chased her through 4 cities. Now in New Orleans working in a bar, this place and the people she’s met feels like it could be home and she’s forced to accept that the crazy stuff her stalker talked about--shifters, witches and magic-- is real. And for Mackenzie it’s instant lust when her eyes fall on Jackson, a private investigator who is best friends with the bar owner.

The story sucked me in right away, although that only lasted for about half of the book. The characters we come to know are likeable enough as is the overall situation. I enjoyed the sexual tension between Mackenzie and Jackson more than the sex, and when they get started, it goes on for quite some time.

But what killed it for me was that the villain of the story was just so outrageously over-the-top powerful. That does provide a challenge for the story, but I found it too unbelievable, even for this type of fiction. And I’ve been reading urban fantasy since before it became a popular genre.
Profile Image for Amanda The Book Slayer.
476 reviews151 followers
February 25, 2012
This book had it all. Shifter's and magic users and I am sure Vampires just might make an appearance farther in the series. I loved Jackson. Who doesn't love a private investigator that can take on most people because he is a bad*ss with magic abilities. Let's not forget his partner in crime, Alec. If he has a story I am sure it will be a hot one.

I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series. If you are looking for a great, easy read in the Paranormal Romance area give this one a try.
Profile Image for Mrs. Badass.
566 reviews225 followers
November 13, 2010
Quick read with engaging characters. I liked Makenzie and Jackson, and the secondary, but still prominent other characters. the climax was a bit rushed, and could have been drawn out a bit better. good UF story, lighter on the romance, if you are so inclined. Steamy enough when it happens tho ;)
Profile Image for April   ♥"LOS" ♥.
2,701 reviews53 followers
February 16, 2015
3.5 Stars

Well this wasn't my favorite book by Moira Rogers, I did enjoy the chemistry between Jackson and Mackenzie. At times I thought the action was a little slow, but overall it was a good book that inc. many aspects of the paranormal world.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 431 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.