This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Released on September 24, 2013
Tis the Season Werewolf Style! I haven’t read that many paranormal romances set during the Christmas season so this was a fun blend of warm fuzzy with romantic suspense.
This one is part of an ongoing series and I did read it out of order (gasp, I know- it was the holiday element that pulled me in). While I had no trouble following the main storyline and grasped the Heart of the Wolf world, I wouldn’t recommend reading it as a standalone because there were many references to other couples and a few minor plot threads involving these others. The big reason to get it in order was because the main characters were introduced in another book and this is a continuation of that story thread.
The current book begins with Bjornoff Jorgensen, a werewolf and former Navy SEAL who now takes private jobs and missions, shadowing an all werewolf special mission team at the request of a couple of the guys’ mates to keep them safe. His job is to let the team run their mission of rescuing a wealthy family who has been kidnapped in the Colombian jungle, but to ghost them as back-up if something goes wrong. He’s done it before and he has a reputation of being good at it. Then when the team goes to take out the kidnappers, he has to break cover to save, Anna Johnson, one of the team member’s life. He’s had a soft spot for Anna since he met her.
Anna is a trained operative and she likes being part of a team and they like having her on the team, but she always feels that as a female that she has to prove to them that she is capable. Now the lone-wolf and very able-bodied male, Bjornoff, has broken cover where he was watching over their team to help them get the victims out of the jungle alive. His very proximity distracts her a lot.
All is not as it seems with the kidnap victims and the team knows that somehow they’ve been played even if they can’t work out how or why, but they have a mission to complete so they do. That is when Hunter, an alpha wolf and the team leader, requests both Anna and Bjornoff to take a mission right within the lands of Hunter’s pack in Oregon over the holidays. They’ll pose as a newlywed couple to their teenage nephew who has been working at a Christmas Tree Farm. Nathan, a younger orphaned wolf smells foul play when he picks up the scent of blood and rot from two dead werewolves though the bodies can’t be found. By posing as the guardians of their nephew, they’ll be in perfect position to investigate.
Anna has been on many tough missions, but this one will push her harder than any others. Between her attraction to Bjornoff, her adverse feelings about Christmas because of her past and mentoring an orphaned teen, the rest of the mission sounds like the fun part.
Bjornoff has worked alone for a long time, but he sees where all this attraction is taking him and he embraces this opportunity with Anna and Nathan even if it means taking out and dusty off his long forgotten holiday spirit.
This story was one of those that on one level I could enjoy for nice holiday escape reading and could really root for Bjornoff, Anna and even Nathan as I read through the story, but there was also a part of me that never really fully engaged the characters and actions. There were no glaring things that jumped out to turn me off of the story, but yet I just didn’t get sucked in. In trying to describe why, I’ll just say that everything felt mild and didn’t flow well to me whether it was the mission in the jungle, the couple’s attraction, or the mystery at the farm. Bjornoff and Anna’s page time was reduced and so development in their characters and relationship wasn’t as strong as I would like it. Numerous people new and familiar from the rest of the series and their little stories were popping in and out making my focus wander leaving me distracted. Again, nothing awful or glaring, just a few niggles.
What I did love was seeing them all engaged in the Christmasy activities that helped draw them closer and spark the beginnings of a new put together family. Bjornoff and Anna both have sad things in their pasts that keep them from enjoying the holiday and Nathan is determined that the holiday will not be ruined because of the losses from his past. They put together a stable family and helped heal old wounds. I loved it.
So all in all it was a good read that fans of the series and paranormal romance lovers will enjoy. It offers a strong taste of the holidays and a nice blend of spicy and sweet for the romance.
My thanks to Sourcebooks and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review this book.