A special police team made up of huge, lethal alpha werewolves? Yes, please! I was so eager to try Paige Tyler’s new shifter series and I loved the idea of the setting and the potential for a bunch of terribly exciting action stories and a new sexy alpha hero for each one.
This first book was the pack leader, Gage Dixon’s story and wouldn’t you know it his heroine was an investigative journalist determined to snoop out a story. Ordinarily, I see the word ‘reporter’ or ‘journalist’ in a book blurb and I high tail it quickly in the opposite direction. The whole ‘the world deserves to know and its my job to dig for it no matter what havoc I wreck in everyone’s life’ thing just doesn’t do it for me, but fortunately I was more curious about the werewolf police team and decided to give it a chance. I’m glad I did because I had a good time with this one. Now did MacKenzie Stone prove me right about reporter type characters? Absolutely! However, I give her points for being so much more than that too.
The story opens with Gage and the team called in for a severe hostage situation with ruthless armed gunmen at a bank. They are shadowed by the inquisitive reporter and her photographer determined to prove the squeaky clean SWAT team are hiding something dirty and are too good to be true. Gage and the guys have their hands full, but in the end, they manage to whisk the snoopy journalist from getting grabbed by the bad guys and take down the gunmen while rescuing the hostages. After things settle, Gage realizes that the tenacious Mac Stone will not go away unless they satisfy her curiosity for whatever she’s after so he agrees to let her interview the team and explore the SWAT compound against the wishes of his team who fear that she will play him and get at their secret.
Mac can’t believe her luck. Sgt Gage Dixon has acceded to her and has given her permission to do her investigation. Now if only she can keep from getting her head turned by the very delectable SWAT leader and her focus on her story. It doesn’t take long to realize that her original suspicions about corruption and dirty cops aren’t true, but there is something…her journalist’s intuition is roused. Okay, maybe it’s just her being roused. She’s never responded to a guy like she is with Gage and he’s not indifferent either. If only he would take the threat more seriously of the crime boss who lost his son in that SWAT rescue.
The story opens with little introduction right into the action and lets the worldbuilding and character backgrounds unfold at a nice pace throughout the story. Most of the story focuses on the relationship between Gage and Mac both their smoldering attraction and the cat and mouse game they play as she tries to pry his secrets out of him. The conflict is based on the fact that the team are werewolves and it has to be kept a secret and yet that isn’t really where the focus lies. Shifter moments are few and far between though I wasn’t too disappointed as I did have the other aspects of the story to be caught up in.
As to the characters, at first, I was prepared for disappointment in Mac because one of the first actions from her is to stupidly race past the police barriers to get into the building where the armed gunmen and hostages are to take pictures and observe the SWAT team. She’s an untrained, unarmed, human and she is oblivious of the obvious because there is a story with her name on it. Yep, I was prepared to hand her the TSTL trophy, but I ended up having to put it away when she demonstrated no further lapses in judgment of that sort. Whew! And her need to dig for a story didn’t bother me too badly because she wasn’t trying to scoop someone’s private life; she was trying to expose possible corruption. Later, she makes a big mistake, but yeesh under the circumstances I think most of us would have screwed that one up (sorry, no details or I’ll spoil it for you).
Now Gage is alpha enough to command a whole team of werewolves chosen to be on his team because they are alphas and highly trained in their own right. His quiet strength, loyalty and care of his pack and leadership make him the perfect hero. He is overwhelmed by all that is MacKenzie, but kudos for him, he doesn’t shy away from his attraction and even when he is suspicious of what she really wants to know, he opens up and lets her in. So refreshing to deal with a guy who may not understand it all, but he isn’t a player and commitophobe- actually neither of them are. The passion was hot and these two had no trouble pursuing it. Gage sets the pace, but even he doesn’t make them wait too long.
In the end, I had a good time with this opening story to a new series. I’m filled with enthusiasm to go on to the next SWAT story and the team member to get his romance. Paranormal Romance lovers who like red hot passion and some strong action sequences of a romantic suspense sort should definitely give this one a try.
My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.