Some opening scenes leave you breathless, others curious, but how about with a fit of the giggles? In a ‘who’s been sleeping in my bed?’ moment, wolf shifter, Brice Walker, realizes that is no sweet little Goldilocks he rouses, but a petite red-headed spitfire who doesn’t need a wolf’s claws to fight back. And Cassie has the shock of her life by the sexy, naked werewolf who blunders into her room and claims to be a guy she has been crushing over for a while.
Talk about awkward introductions!
But then Brice is forced to face his grandmother’s fading health which is the reason for his return from exile and the promise she exacts from him to make amends with the father and pack alpha who threw him out for causing the death of his brother. For a reason he doesn’t want to explore too closely, Cassie soothes him and he needs her with him because she can’t be his mate. She’s human. And besides, he won’t claim a mate because he plans on accepting an appointment that won’t allow him to have a mate. So why does everything in him cry out that she is his true mate and why does he absolutely need to protect and possess her?
Cassie grew up with an alcoholic for a mother who would do anything for her booze and then left Cassie alone after succumbing to her bad liver. Cassie will rise above her beginnings as the trailer trash daughter of an alcoholic and she has a plan to do it. The plan does not include forming attachments or letting a certain pushy, sexy wolf shifter distract her. It’s hard enough learning that werewolves exist, but now this one thinks they’re mates. And another one that scares the willies out of her thinks she’s prey. While a third one insists Brice is hers and Cassie will stay out of the way or else. For all that she fights her feelings and attractions for Brice, Cassie can’t abandon him knowing that he is weighted down with guilt over his brother’s death, his exile from his home and pack, and his grief over his grandmother. And as stubbornly as she clings to her independence and need to take care of herself, a part of her wants to believe Brice about being his.
The story is a nice blend of shifter romance, intrigue, passion, humor, and strong character development. The opening was a little confusing for me to sort out what was what, but once I got up to speed, I enjoyed the overall story, characters, and romance.
The author built in some intrigue and conflict that suited the story. There is much more going on than meets the eye to give depth, though, in essence, it isn’t too complex.
The conflicts involve the struggle of Brice and Cassie individually with their own personal demons, but also with each other. And then there are external issues crowding in involving pack members, family issues, and pack politics.
There’s actually a lot going on. This was probably my only niggle. It doesn’t confuse me, but it does clip along so that some things feel rushed or glossed over by the end. I would have liked to see Brice’s reunion with his pack and family teased out more just like an understanding of the rivalries with the other packs. What happened at the big climax and reveal scene left me feeling partly dissatisfied. I got the general idea, but just wanted more, I guess.
I thought it was refreshing that the author wrote Cassie as scared and reluctant with her introduction to the world of wolf shifters. Cassie is forced to believe because she sees Brice shift into a wolf and back, but that doesn’t suddenly make her a fan. The author also paints her wolf shifters as people, but there is a darker side when the wolves go rogue and their harsher laws that frighten Cassie.
I also liked how the true mate bond is portrayed. This isn’t insta-love. Both Cassie and Brice struggle with the attraction and have their reasons for denial, but they can’t seem to help themselves, either. She was very damaged by her upbringing and has abandonment and trust issues while Brice has something similar going on for different reasons. She shuts down and he denies, but they also both reach out and offer comfort and reassurance to the other. Oh, and look out if someone else shows an interest. They each might deny and ignore, but at heart, they know the truth.
All in all, I was well pleased with my first time reading this author’s books and her engaging shifter romance. Her infusion of humor and heart to the passion and intrigue of her story kept me well-satisfied. I definitely recommend it to those who enjoy spicy paranormal romance and particularly shifter romance.
My thanks to The Herd Presents for an opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #206 PNR
New To Me #85 author
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