A new darker, edgier series debut into the Werewolf Paranormal Romance world! I loved the premise and looked forward to reading this one. The world building in this one intrigued me with its truly evil and monstrous baddies while the good guys, the Dire wolves, were rougher and wilder- not human at all.
The world is a darker place where danger abounds and no one is safe from the power hungry evil ones made up of witches, demons, weres, and humans. The only thing standing between the good weres and humans and their destruction is the small pack of Dire wolves. The Dire wolves are a special species of wolf shifter that are an older more powerful breed than the later created were shifters.
This story begins when Rifter, the king (though he doesn’t like having that title conferred on him) of the Dires, heeds his wolf’s urges and goes out with the others to sate his needs first with finding a female were and then to go running as his wolf. His plans are altered from the moment he steps foot in the shifter bar. He spies a little human female cozied up to the bar drinking strong and swaying to the music. Both he and Brother Wolf are drawn to her and it is with Gwen that Rifter leaves the bar (love the reference to his singular behavior of taking a human woman hitting Facebook).
Rifter knows that he should not be with the human because he will hurt her with his vastly superior physical strength, but there is something about her that calls to something in him. He discovers that she is dying, but she just wants to live which is why she was acting with an air of abandon at the bar.
Later circumstances bring them together yet again when he discovers that the weretrappers (the bad guys) are after her and he brings her back to the Dire house for safekeeping which has the other Dires up in arms about protecting a human. Although, it soon becomes known that Gwen is not just your average human and it drives them to demand her death while Rifter argues for her life because he has worked out that she is his true mate. The mating ritual can very well kill her so Rifter has no plans to complete it, but he does plan to keep Gwen. He just need to convince Gwen that she belongs to him and with him. Other things happen to in the Dire household to add to the turmoil there and keep the Dires busy.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, the bad guys are not sitting idle, but have begun conjuring up a spirit army to defeat the dires even while their regular people attack the Dires and try to take Gwen several times. Its all rather exciting stuff even while evil seems to be getting stronger. I’ve deliberately skipped referencing several plot lines for the sake of time and not disclosing any spoilers.
The over all plot is decent, but I confess there were times that the complexities of the background info and how it affects the current situation along with the multiple story lines got a bit convoluted and bogged down the pace at times while also serving to cut up the romance portion a bit too much for my taste. Some of that should maybe have been saved for another book.
And truthfully, the extended and repetitive description of Vice’s -well, vices got annoying. Okay, I get it already. He likes his sin- no need to go on ad nauseum about it.
Then the tradition of the Dire wolves was given no less than three times with no new info imparted as each new person required an explanation.
All that being said, I did not hate the story and actually enjoyed it because it had many exciting action-packed moments including the passion between Rifter and Gwen along with this incredible new world of shifters, witches, demons, weres and humans that Stephanie Tyler has imagined for us.
So while it wasn’t a hit out of the ballpark for me, it is definitely a series that I plan to keep reading. Recommended to Paranormal Romance fans who like their ‘things that go bump in the night’ to be on the darker side.