The first book introduced a fantastic new world of a crack SWAT team peopled entirely by werewolves who are both pack and team of bonded brothers working to keep the streets of Dallas safe. The criminals are tough and play for keeps so it takes equally tough and skilled men to deal with them. In this latest installment, the SWAT team learns they are not immune to the political machinations of those who insist that the team have some diversity. Thus, this potential battle of the sexes ala romantic suspense paranormal style leads to the guys learning that there are indeed such things as female werewolves and Gage will now be bringing one into their pack.
This is Xander Riggs’ story and the fur flies when he has to adjust to a female team member whose very scent assaults him and pushes him over the edge. Meanwhile Khaki has a chance at a fresh start and the knowledge that she is not a freak- or at least not the only freak. Sizzling hot SWAT action and intense passion competed to make this book a superb reading experience.
This book is best following the first story as the worldbuilding, intro to recurring characters, and reminders to what occurred previous will make better sense.
Xander knows the werewolf legend of each wolf have that special other who is The One for them. He hopes more than actually believes this to be true though hope is stronger now that Gage found his The One. Xander takes his career as a SWAT team leader seriously and he lives for his pack brothers, but he feels it is all threatened when the powers that be pressure them about being all male. It is at this point he learns that there are such things as female werewolves and Gage is bringing one with him.
Xander gets one look at Khaki and realizes that he is in deep trouble. Her scent arouses him and he is concerned that he won’t be able to keep his head in the game or avoid fraternization so he tries desperately to get her off his team. Unfortunately, Khaki overhears him and jumps to the conclusion that he is like the sexist, good ol’ boys network that she left behind on her old police force.
Khaki made a huge mistake dating a jerk and bully who turned out to have so much influence that her fellow cops actually refused to back her up in an emergency situation and black balled her in general. She was nearly killed and that is when she went through the change that left her with heightened senses, extra strength and speed, and phenomenal healing ability. Until Gage came looking for her, she didn’t know this made her a werewolf. So her transfer to Gage’s SWAT unit and move to Dallas are only the beginning of her adjustments. Getting put on Xander’s team and working hard to show him that she belongs while fighting an overwhelming attraction to him keep her busy.
Xander confuses her because her first impression of him is overridden by glimpses of evidence that she may be wrong about him. He works her hard and he is hard on her, but he also takes the time to privately teach her about her other nature. He respects her abilities and doesn’t seem threatened by her. If only, he would show some interest in her as a person. Then a life-threatening situation proves to her that maybe he isn’t as indifferent as he seems.
The first book was wonderful in many ways though I ended up being frustrated with the heroine. I went into this story more tentatively as a result. But it was not long before I realized that I had nothing to fear.
Khaki was a strong, solid heroine that I could get behind. She was the perfect balance of the tough female cop who was trying to prove she deserved a place on a highly-skilled SWAT team and a woman who was ready for a romantic relationship.
Xander, too, was great hero material. Yes, he had his issues with Khaki on his team, but that was because of his wolf nature’s strong reaction to her. His concern was to maintain professional work behavior and keep his team safe. Once he had Khaki on his team, this included her, too.
Their romance is of the fated mate variety in the sense that they are strongly drawn to each other by their wolf natures, but there is also the gradual development where they get to know each other, too when working and training together. Their passion was never far from the surface and it really exploded once they gave in to the attraction.
The book felt stronger as far as the plot, too, simply by virtue of not being the set up book. It was able to get right to the action. I like the engaging suspense plot that runs in the background of Xander and Khaki’s story. The bad guys aren’t afraid to make things interesting and so the team gets to show off their werewolf and SWAT skills. The strong camaraderie of the team and the brotherhood was a favorite part leaving me eager to get each member’s story.
The werewolf culture in this one is very different from the usual in how people become werewolves and how they have to adjust and develop their innate skills. In this book, I got to encounter fully shifting werewolves and the explanation of why some and not all can do that. Loved this new bit of detail.
So, all in all, this was an adrenaline reading rush and kept me eagerly turning pages to the end. If you want something that is a strong blend of creative paranormal world building, spicy romance, and solid suspense all rolled into one, give this book a go.
My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #266 PNR
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