Heartless Hunter

The Crimson Moth: Book 1

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Pub Date Feb 20 2024 | Archive Date Mar 05 2024
St. Martin's Press | Wednesday Books



"A steamy game of cat and mouse between witch and witch-hunter, played out against a backdrop of opulence, secrets, and bloody history. I couldn't look away." - Kendare Blake, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Champion of Fate

Enemies-to-lovers doesn't get more high stakes than a witch and a witch hunter falling in love in bestselling author Kristen Ciccarelli's latest romantic fantasy.

On the night Rune’s life changed forever, blood ran in the streets. Now, in the aftermath of a devastating revolution, witches have been diminished from powerful rulers to outcasts ruthlessly hunted due to their waning magic, and Rune must hide what she is.

Spending her days pretending to be nothing more than a vapid young socialite, Rune spends her nights as the Crimson Moth, a witch vigilante who rescues her kind from being purged. When a rescue goes wrong, she decides to throw the witch hunters off her scent and gain the intel she desperately needs by courting the handsome Gideon Sharpe - a notorious and unforgiving witch hunter loyal to the revolution - who she can't help but find herself falling for.

Gideon loathes the decadence and superficiality Rune represents, but when he learns the Crimson Moth has been using Rune’s merchant ships to smuggle renegade witches out of the republic, he inserts himself into her social circles by pretending to court her right back. He soon realizes that beneath her beauty and shallow façade, is someone fiercely intelligent and tender who feels like his perfect match. Except, what if she’s the very villain he’s been hunting?

Kristen Ciccarelli’s Heartless Hunter is the thrilling start to The Crimson Moth duology, a romantic fantasy series where the only thing more treacherous than being a witch...is falling in love.

“Enchanting and deeply romantic, Heartless Hunter drew me in with the first sentence and left me breathless by the last. A story that unfolds like a spell, and one that is destined to capture your heart.” - Rebecca Ross, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Divine Rivals


"A steamy game of cat and mouse between witch and witch-hunter, played out against a backdrop of opulence, secrets, and bloody history. I couldn't look away." -...

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ISBN 9781250866905
PRICE $20.00 (USD)

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Average rating from 1323 members

Featured Reviews

Wow I was not expecting to love this so much. 5/5 stars!
Thank you St. Martin's Press (especially you, Alexis) for granting me an ARC.

I basically read it all in one sitting because I had to know what happened next, THAT ENDING THOUGH??? How am I supposed to live when I need the next book immediately! I loved this dangerous and steamy cat and mouse game that the ML and FL play with each other.
ughhh I love them both so much, they've both been through so much.

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I devoured this book. And I definitely wasn't ready for it to end. Book 2 can't come fast enough, although I have no idea where they are going to go from that ending.

This book pulled no punches. Every character was, at best, morally ambiguous. I loved the MC, and the magic system was creative and well fleshed out.

Definitely recommend.

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Wow. Let’s me start off by saying I was not ready for how much I was going to love this book. It’s that high romantic fantasy where you just have a range of emotions. Witch who pretends to be a silly and dumb elite to hide her secret identify. A witch hunter who keeps being outsmarted by said witch and has a tragic backstory…
The banter is phenomenal. The tension is pretty much started from the meeting of the two main characters in the first couple chapters. They are both trying to use each other to get information for the opposing side. They are constantly fighting yet also respecting the wit the other has.
Rune is a secret witch trying to get all the witches out of the kingdom for atonement of telling the authorities her grandmother is a witch. The magic system does use blood magic so trigger warning for self mutilation. She is smart but I like that the author shows her inexperience really with falling in love. I do feel conflicted on her relationship with Alex. I’m hoping the second novel will really discuss if she actually felt more or if she was just pretending. I was very much rooting for her while also sometimes screaming at the book.
Gideon… I didn’t honestly think I could find a name like that attractive but here we are. He is the hero for the town. The captain of the witch hunters who is obliviously to women. His interactions felt realistic because most of the time he kept messing up. I loved that the love interest was dense in actually courting a girl and tries too hard at times.
The chemistry between the two was amazing. I really just loved how it felt like love between two people that are so similar but also opposite sides. I was happy to say it wasn’t a true love triangle but the younger brother of the love interest does show feelings for the main character. It’s definitely best friends older brother trope for sure. But this is a really captivating story that some parts are predictable but others left my jaw on the floor. I can’t wait to read the sequel!

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Heartless Hunter is an action-packed, enchanting, enemies-to-lovers romance fantasy. I loved absolutely everything about this book: the world, the magic, the characters, the plot - EVERYTHING! In a world where witches are killed, Rune is forced to hide her magic and pose as a shallow, gossipy socialite during the day. However, at night, Rune rescues fellow witches and aids in their escape. Gideon, whose life was utterly destroyed by witches, is determined to see every last witch killed. He is especially determined to catch the Crimson Moth, the vigilante who is helping witches flee. In order to gain intel, Rune decides to pretend to court Gideon, and Gideon, who suspects Rune of being a witch, decides to court her back to find evidence. As the fake relationship goes on, each finds that they may have deeper (and real) feelings for the other.

I couldn't put this book down. Both Rune and Gideon were excellent POVs. Both are well-developed characters; I really appreciated learning about each character's past. What both Rune and Gideon went through explained their actions and their choices. Alex, Rune's best friend and Gideon's brother, was another great character. I truly felt for Alex and the challenge he faced of loving both a witch and a witch-hunter and not wanting to take a side. Once again, Heartless Hunter has everything: action, politics, romance, magic, betrayal. I highly recommend Heartless Hunter, and I cannot wait for the next book in the series!

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Read if you like:
❤️‍🩹 Enemies to Lovers
🤫 Fake Courting/ Dating
🔻Brother Love Triangle
🐴 Bridgeton Era
🧙‍♀️ Witches
🕸️ Well concocted webs of deceit

Synopsis: Rune poses as a daft socialite because at night she is the Crimson Moth, a witch vigilante rescuing her kind. Alex is her best friend and helps her save the witches…but his brother Gideon is a witch Hunter. He is determined to catch the Crimson Moth and make her pay. Rune and Gideon play a dangerous game of cat and mouse to obtain information from each other, until their secrets explode.

My Thoughts: This story really has it all! Action, love, betrayal, magic, deception, little spice and because of this, I could not put it down. This is a duology and I already can’t wait for the next book in the series!!

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Wow wow wow!!!!

I have an inkling this is going to be a top Fantasy book of 2024!!!!

Did I only request this book from NetGalley because it said Rebecca Ross recommended it? Yes.

Did it disappoint? Absolutely not!!

It definitely gave my Divine Rivals vibes but make it witchy. I loved it!!!

And the end 😟 I need more!

Enemies to lovers ✔️
Romantasy ✔️
Witches ✔️

It has it all and I am already excited for what’s to come with this duology!!

Thank you to NetGalley & St. Martin’s Press for giving me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Thank you, NetGalley, for this ARC.
What a beautifully written story! Filled with socialites, witches, witch hunters, magic, romance, intrigue, and wonderful characters. It will bewitch readers as soon as they begin reading it. I’m really looking forward to the next book!

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This was a fast read for me. Enemies to lovers, witch and witch hunter? Yes please! So happy to get to read this during the fall season. This is sure to be a hit in the romantasy readers circles.

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Heartless Hunter masquerades as a moth when really it's a viper poised for attack with its venomous fangs. The twists are stunning, the character dynamics are ripe, and best of all, the star-crossed love between a witch and her hunter is absolutely devastating. I wept, I shrieked, I couldn't contain my feelings. The twists are impeccable and plentiful. When you think Ciccarelli finally rests, she rips your heart out one last time and cuts straight to your core.
Deception runs deep in Heartless Hunter, the newest romantic thriller from Kristen Ciccarelli. Best part of this one? Rune Winters, our heroine witch, has attached herself to the hunters. Can she seduce the captain of the guard to gain his secrets? You'll be shredding this one apart to find out, my friends.

The next book can't come fast enough. I don't know how I'm going to survive the wait.

Thank you to Wednesday books and NeyGalley for an advanced copy to review.

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Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press, and Wednesday Books for this advanced copy! You can pick up Heartless Hunter on February 20, 2024.

This was one of the easiest 5 stars I've given out in a while. I loved the Scarlet Pimpernel feel of it, the way the characters interacted with one another, the world, the plot twists, everything! I couldn't believe how quickly I tore through this book and didn't want it to end.

The background we learn about the island and the witch vs. witch hunter conflict engaged me from the get-go. I loved the different roles Rune played, and how we see so much vulnerability from her amid clever deceptions and daring escapes. The magic was super fascinating yet simple to understand, and I love how often Rune DIDN'T rely on magic to slip away from her foes.

And don't even get me started on the romance. Gideon and Rune had me feeling EVERYTHING, all at once. The tension and build-up was immaculate. The vulnerability and opening up tugged my heartstrings. The betrayal and ultimate anger felt earned, not predictable. This YA book felt more romantic than the spiciest of smut novels, and I just want to see more interaction between Gideon and Rune (especially after that ending!).

The worst part of all this is that the book itself won't come out for months, and then we'll likely wait several more months for a sequel. I need answers ASAP, and I'm already looking forward to diving back into this witchy adventure. 10./10 would recommend!

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