As sequels to an enjoyable, solid series opener goes, this one up the ante big time. It saw Chasing Sam’s bet and raised the stakes higher than I could have hoped for and delivered when all cards were on the table. Sorry, couldn’t resist a little poker analogy there since the series is set in Vegas.
Speaking of sequels, this is one of those that has to be read in order because the world building and beginning of the overall plot along with the intro to the characters begins in the first book. This one picks up almost where the first one let’s off even if the main character focus changes. This story will contain spoilers to the first book so please don’t read on if you care about that sort of thing.
The story opens with the wedding of Chase and Sam. Margaret, one of the Maggies, is at the wedding watching Chase’s brother Nick in a forlorn manner because he doesn’t even notice she exists. Before she can really begin wallowing, her friends pull her onto the dance floor and insist she dance with Chase’s bud, Scott. As the huge seven foot male ambles toward her, she is struck with the shocker that he’s a bear and this was a wolf shifter wedding and pack gathering. And when they start dancing, she realizes ‘he’s my mate’. Margaret is one of those thinking types and not good with surprises so she panics.
Scott can’t believe his good luck. He’s found his mate. Unfortunately, his eagerness frightens his mate into the need to put some space and time between them. His bear nature cautions him to be patient with their mate who is nervous about the changes he will bring to her life. A stalker in Margaret’s life and unrest in the paranormal world cause Margaret to call out to him and for her dad and her family to accept him as her mate. Scott will protect what is his no matter what.
On a broader front, Renata’s insanity and wolf taking over control of her has stirred up an uprising against the iron-fisted control of the Council. Renata’s wolf schemes to destroy her own husband and his work because Peter has pitted himself against the Council. The Council will not tolerate the rebellion that is growing and the focal point is Vegas. Packs are forced to choose sides and nothing will be the same when all is said and done. The war will be so costly particularly on the wolves and other supernaturals of Vegas. Scott and Margaret are right in the middle of it all with Margaret being the bargaining chip the Council needs to control the wolves.
As I said, this one just upped the danger element now that things are coming out into the open. Even after reading the first book and knowing things weren’t what they seemed, I was shocked at what those things were. Renata’s human spirit being overtaken by her crazed wolf side was an interesting take. She’s a villain in the story, but she is also one that can be pitied. The Council just seems like a ‘past their sell by date’ bunch of blue-blooded power happy bullies.
The dynamics between Scott and Margaret were a nice breather compared to the heavy import of what was going on around them. I was a bit nervous when things got going between them because Margaret was leaning toward the ‘stubborn and stupid’ role with her ‘I have to go to work’ stance that put herself in danger and Scott too because he was guarding her. I was glad that she was a smart gal who saw sense. I totally understood her need to get a grip on things after the sudden appearance of Scott and the vast difference in their two natures and what that would mean for the future. One thing I really love about Krystal Shannan’s shifters is that in this world, the animal nature is as sentient as the human nature and they converse within each other’s heads. They are separate though they share the same body. It’s like getting two characters for the price of one. In both these cases, Scott’s bear and Margaret’s wolf are the more intelligent and common-sense filled sides and plus plus, the animal natures have fun senses of humor and a horny need for their mates.
It was also great reuniting with many of the characters introduced in the first book and the hint that Chase and Sam will continue to play a roll in ongoing books.
The story leaves off in a good spot for the romance and leaves things wide open for that bigger conflict story arc to continue building after the tragedy that occurs near the end that leaves those opposed to the council picking up the pieces and tightening things up for what is to come. I am extremely eager to see what happens next- and to find out who are the next two to find their true mates of course.
This series is for those who enjoy a bit of darkness to their paranormal and spice to their romance.