Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Review: Trail of Dead

Trail of Dead Trail of Dead by Melissa F. Olson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is clearly written to bridge the start of the series with the last of the trilogy. It’s all about change and growth… and a lot of driving different cars.

Scarlett is still her snarky self in this book. I still love her, but she is a little more broken now than she was before. She’s recovering from the ordeal that left her in the hospital and coming to grips with the fact that her insane ex-mentor is still alive-ish. This book was different than the first one in that I really want to punch Jesse in the face. He starts this book off in a bad mood and that kind of carries through the book. His life straddles the line between the “normal” and the paranormal and it’s clear that this is driving him crazy. His very serious and clear values are suddenly a lot muddier.

So what’s the big deal in this book? There are witches turning up dead and it’s shaking the very strong core of the leader of the witches. Jesse, and by extension Scarlett, have been tasked with finding the killer or killers before an irrational deadline or bad things will happen. I mean, bad things are already happening (hello, dead witches), but I guess that wasn’t motivation enough. Scarlett is, at the same time, dealing with her internal love triangle drama. Sigh. And borrowing lots of different cars to drive places.

Overall, I feel like the “big bad” in this one didn’t really get the focus and energy that they were due. I will say, though, that I’m excited for where this is headed and how it has changed Scarlett, for better or worse. She’s still my favorite part of this world and I’ll sign up for another book (even if there is even more driving).

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Review: The Werewolf Tycoon's Baby

The Werewolf Tycoon's Baby The Werewolf Tycoon's Baby by Celia Kyle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wow, this book really dove right in! We join Melissa, pregnant with an overbearing werewolf’s baby, and on the run from said werewolf. Turns out, the co-ruler of the werewolves with Galen (the aforementioned werewolf) told Melissa that she would be killed after her baby was born, forcing her to go into hiding. What started as a love affair for the ages, ended up more a horror story for Melissa. To make matters worse, he finds her and drags her back to Greece!

OK, so it’s not really worse. They end up finding their HEA after *a lot* of misunderstanding drama. Oh, and Galen is super overbearing, but I guess some chicks are into that. If you’re looking for some very alpha werewolf action with a pregnant girlfriend, this is the book for you!

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Review: Alpha's Challenge

Alpha's Challenge Alpha's Challenge by Lauren Dane
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I feel like this book was a long time coming. We met Cade early in this series and he’s sort of gotten the short end of the stick. Sure, he’s the anchor bond for his brother and his wife, but he’s never really gotten to live a life of his own. What isn’t already claimed by the pack, is eaten up by his pseudo-family life, living with a married couple. This, obviously, is not healthy for anyone. I’ve been dying to see Cade finally find his mate, and this book totally delivers.

The larger story with Warren Pellini is still ramping up. The “good wolves” get a massive break when they find out that someone working in his evil labs is willing to come forward. This “someone” ends up being Warren Pellini’s sister, and… Cade’s mate. Of course, Cade couldn’t really have it that easy. He gets a mate who is instantly in danger, related to the enemy, and an immediate enemy of his brother’s mate.

It was *amazing* to watch Nina get put in her place, so that alone makes this book worth reading. Sure, their relationship isn’t easy, but Cade really earns his HEA here. Oh, and there’s a super duper mega battle that helps resolve a lot of things. Change is on the horizon for all these characters, and its great fun to watch.

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Review: Hitting the Silk: A Career Soldier Military Romance

Hitting the Silk: A Career Soldier Military Romance Hitting the Silk: A Career Soldier Military Romance by Tawdra Kandle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Each of these stories is beautiful and unique. This book takes us into the life of a “danger ranger” as he gets confronted with the choice between his planned bachelor lifestyle and a woman who could rock his world.

Shaw is an army captain who loves the danger lifestyle he’s been offered. Jumping out of helicopters? That’s a goal of his. Because of this, he knows that his army career pretty much rules out a serious relationship. When he takes a trip to eat lunch as a surrogate father for his buddy’s kid, meeting Delia Rollins changes everything. The spark is there instantly, no matter how much she wants to deny it.

Delia knows that Shaw breaks all her rules. She’s been determined to avoid the dangerous ones ever since her first husband was killed in action. Somehow, though, Shaw wiggles his way into becoming her trainer. What starts as a friendship quickly becomes so much more. As long as they can both adjust to this budding relationship, they are so very well suited. These HEAs are the best!

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Review: Thunder Wolf

Thunder Wolf Thunder Wolf by Heather Long
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I will admit, I’m joining this story wayyyyyy after the first book. I completely didn’t realize that this was part of a series, but it’s clear from page 1 that there is a whole world of characters I don’t know about. That being said, I still instantly fell in love with Hadley.

John is an Enforcer and in charge of his own set of lone wolves. His life is a relatively solitary one, except for his lone wolf and Enforcer interactions. There has always been a soft spot in his heart for Hadley. Hadley is a fellow enforcer and generally an amazing woman. She’s independent, manages some of the most difficult lone wolves, and still manages to be a little bit of a mother to everyone around her. She is definitely determined not to have any attachments, but somehow John sneaks into her big heart.

The larger story has to do with some evil Russian wolves who are trying to kidnap and kill enforcers and their mates. This has obviously been building up for some time but there is a larger game going on. With lone wolves hanging out in packs and enforcers working as a team, everything that was so normal before is now entering crazyland. As I said earlier, Hadley alone is worth reading this story. Her character is everything I want in a strong female lead, complete with owning her sexuality and yielding some yummy smuttiness. Watching her and John “play” was super rewarding. I loved every minute of their unorthodox romance.

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Review: A Taste of Greek

A Taste of Greek A Taste of Greek by Tina Folsom
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book picks up with our favorite band of Greek characters. The main character destined to meet his match in this story is Hermes. He's pretty content with his bachelor lifestyle until he meets Penny. Penny is also pretty determined to focus on her work and taking care of her grandmother. Nowhere in her busy life is there room for a man. Somehow, though, Penny finds herself drawn to accepting Hermes's invitations.

Hermes really didn't expect to fall for a Greek studies professor and he certainly didn't expect her to steal his sandals. What begins as a bit of "borrowing" ends up leading them on a scavenger hunt to get them back. The other gods are also not very happy with this theft (Zeus especially) as it keeps them from transporting about as they usually can. Throw all this together, and you've got a budding relationship that doesn't really have that many people rooting for them. Lucky for us, they manage to overcome the odds and get their own HEA.

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Review: Sell-By Date

Sell-By Date Sell-By Date by Melissa F. Olson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a very short glimpse into Molly's head. Having already read two books of the series and spin-off, this was a nice addition to what I already know. If you've read anything in this world, getting some additional Molly is always appreciated. It was also neat to see what is going through her mind when she's with Scarlett. A must read for someone who likes this world.

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Review: Firestorm

Firestorm Firestorm by Donna Grant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, so I probably should not have started this series here, but I did, so add that as a general disclaimer.

We join Dimitri, the dragon king for his long-ago evacuated dragons. He's a little stir crazy since they've been on lock down due to some unintended attention they've recently gotten. They have seemingly bad guys coming at them from all sides. There's the dark who are essentially evil and trying to cause trouble. There's the light who are trying to work some sort of angle by aligning with them. There's their ex-dragon king friend who is working some sort of deception involving a look alike. And that's just all stuff that has already been set in motion before the book even starts!

Dimitri is called to take care of removing remains from an archaeological site that may or may not have uncovered a dragon (dragons are still hidden in this world). Seems pretty straightforward until he meets the lead archaeologist, Faith. Faith is completely absorbed in her world, so much so that she needs protection in order to not get attacked by the numerous forces that are at play just because she found a dragon. These two might not seem so well matched, but the chemistry really manages to bring them together. Getting introduced to the world of the dragon kings definitely brings more into Faith's life than she could ever imagine. Starting here just makes me want to go back and see what else I missed.

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Review: Fanning The Flames

Fanning The Flames Fanning The Flames by Chris Cannon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books are just wonderful to read. All the pages seem to fly by (ha! get it? this is a dragon shifter book!) and I'm left wanting even more with each new installment.

Bryn is the star of this series and she has been put through more trials than any teen should be. She recently lost her parents, found out she was an illegal hybrid shifter, was shipped off to a boarding school and got signed up to marry a jerk. If you think you should start the series with this book, you are wrong and should 100% go back and start from the beginning. I promise, it's worth it! That all being said, the entire school is pretty much waiting for the next big attack, similar to the one that left many students wounded beyond even their dragon's ability to repair. Oh, an Brynn is also secretly dating the knight that magically bonded with her. See? Brynn lives a crazy life.

So what's the overall story for this book? Bryn's drama aside, the rebel dragons are working on something that probably originates with the secret rooms and tunnels found beneath the school. While we have met some OK rebels and some really horrible ones, we're still trying to figure out what they truly want. Mostly, it seems, they want to blow things up and hurt people (the bad rebels, at least). Somehow, Bryn has become to go to girl for all things involving a dragon and her knight, and that is linked to these magic rooms/tunnels. Through some trial and error, Brynn is (yet again) working to save all her friends, her newfound family, her relationships, and the school (and maybe Jaxon, too). With all the craziness and gut punching loss that this book jams into the ending, I absolutely cannot wait to see what Bryn does next.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Review: Undiscovered

Undiscovered Undiscovered by Sara Humphreys
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve read a few other books from this author and I am never disappointed. This world was really interesting and gave a good introduction to the world of the Amoveo.

Rena is a self-proclaimed independent woman who has made it on her own with very little assistance. She bounced around from foster home to foster home until she finally gave up on that system, running away. On the streets, she eventually found her own father figure in the form of Vito, a private investigator. After his health began to decline, Rena ended up taking over the business and making a name for herself. She’s always been especially good at finding people because whenever she touches someone or something, she can see things. Her life would be pretty good, if she could just stop having nightmares about dragons killing her.

Zander is one of those dragons from her nightmares. He’s been cursed to remain in human form, immortal, for 500 years while his twin brother remains trapped in dragon form, reliving his own personal hell. The only way to break the curse is to find his brother’s mate and unite them. As if their past drama and emotional baggage wasn’t enough, when a woman pops up in their shared dreams, he knows he’s got to put his own feeling aside to give his brother what he desperately needs.

This story has a lot of sizzle, a healthy dose of stupid man martyrdom, and a really solid introduction to the wild world of shifters. It was nice to see a tough chick who can really stand her ground against scary looking dragons. The obvious attraction between these two kept the pages turning and me hooked. I wonder where the series will go next, now that dragons are officially back in the world.

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Review: Into the Fire

Into the Fire Into the Fire by Jeaniene Frost
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am both happy and sad to see this series come to an end. Honestly, I had some big issues with Vlad as a main character, so it was only really Leila that kept me reading. This book also had the most wonderful entertainment in the form of Ian. Who knew that I could eventually grow to love a character that began in this world as such a bad guy? Don’t get me wrong – he’s still a bad guy, he’s just infinitely more lovable (especially in comparison to Vlad, in my humble opinion).

So, back to the story. This book continues the ongoing saga of Leila and her magical link to Mircea. Unfortunately for her, Mircea ends up getting captured and put in harm’s way. This, obviously, ends up threatening Leila’s life, which pretty much puts Vlad at the kidnapper’s disposal. Vlad would do anything for Leila, you know, except actually be honest with her, tell her his plan, or include her in decision making. This high handedness drove me absolutely INSANE, especially when it began to impact my new favorite- Ian.

All of the usual suspects spend most of the book trying to hunt down someone to break Leila’s magical tie to Mircea, or, if that fails, find Mircea to rescue him. We even get some really good Gretchen time thrown in, too. While this is certainly the end of Vlad and Leila’s standalone storyline, we definitely get more than enough of a hint at where future spinoffs will take us. I would absolutely love to see Ian get his happily ever after, no matter how reluctant he might be to have a monogamous relationship.

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Review: Dead Spots

Dead Spots Dead Spots by Melissa F. Olson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

To be fair, I started this series way at the end and then decided to go back to the beginning to figure out how it all started. I fell in love with Scarlett and was pleasantly surprised to find her just as great a character at the start of it all.

We dive right into the kooky world of Scarlett and the paranormal. She’s a null, which gives her the unique ability to un-paranormal anyone that comes within her radius. Some paranormals like this effect and others actively avoid it. Her current hookup appears to be happily in the former category, which leads to some internal drama of her own. Aside from her relationship-ish drama, she’s also got a job cleaning up the messes that the three categories of paranormals make. The witches seem relatively reasonable compared to the vampires (and werewolves) that ultimately get her tossed into a life-threatening murder-mystery.

After getting called to a job by her head vampire boss, Scarlett is faced with a cop seeing a werewolf shapeshift, a massively gory and un-clean-up-able paranormal crime scene, and some difficult choices. She ends up putting her life on the line to make sure the poor cop, Jesse Cruz, and they are forced to work together to figure out who is effectively working to “out” the paranormal community in a series of murders. There’s a lot of twists and turns, and even I was surprised with how the book ended, but it was truly an effective introduction into this world. It took all my self-control not to dive right into the next book out there. As it is, I’ll be devouring the rest of the series and all subsequent spin-offs in no time.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Review: Hungry for You

Hungry for You Hungry for You by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This might be the funniest and most entertaining of the series! I am such a sucker for a good romance (with a healthy dose of smut) and this was just perfection!

Cale is someone we haven’t met yet (I don’t think) so he was a bit of a blank slate. Sure, we get the usual cast of characters from the Argeneau family, but it is mostly Cale and Alex. Alex is one of the famous sisters that the Argeneau family is determined to find mates for. While it worked out OK for Jo, there is some doubt that anyone will respond to Alex… and it’s giving her a bit of a complex. Who wouldn’t be bothered by people staring at her forehead and walking away quickly after each introduction? Cale, it appears, it the exception to this rule.

On a night when her restaurant is falling apart, Alex’s sister lies to her and introduces Cale as a master chef from France. He probably wouldn’t have gone along with the lie for very long, except that he can’t read Alex, proving that she’s his life mate. Some mind control of the guests and some favors from the other chef he knows and Cale appears to be doing OK. Alex, however, is still suffering from a bought of bad luck. Her new restaurant has had all sorts of problems in the renovation. This might not be good for Alex, but it gave Cale the entrance he needed into her life – as her business manager.

These two were fun, sizzling hot, and the perfect balance. Its books like these that remind me I need to take a break from the serious to let myself enjoy a somewhat silly read (e.g. vampires from Atlantis). Bring on more of the Argeneau clan!

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Review: Temporary Duty: A Career Soldier Military Romance

Temporary Duty: A Career Soldier Military Romance Temporary Duty: A Career Soldier Military Romance by Tawdra Kandle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books find new and interesting ways to tell some wonderful love stories!

In this one we meet Kade, the reluctant soldier who is putting in his time to make a path towards retirement. He’s pretty relaxed about most things, including having a good time, which is probably what puts him in Leah’s bed for a one-night-stand. Leah wasn’t looking for anything permanent either, so she was just as happy to have a diversion from her stressful law school studying. All of that changes when Leah passes (or fails?) another type of test.

Kade continues his career without even knowing that things have forever changed. A chance meeting at the local bookstore ends up shifting Kade’s world for the better. He now has a second chance at the girl that he can’t get out of his head and he has a quickly growing family! These two had such a sweet and unconventional love story that I couldn’t wait to see how it ended. This was a wonderfully written and addictive read from start to finish.

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Review: How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days

How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn Sparks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Can I start off by complimenting the witty banter between Leo and “Ana”? That’s definitely the highlight of this book. Sorry – to back up, this story takes place in a fantasy world with a historical feel. There’s big dresses and castles and lots of old-timey speak. There’s also a few warring kingdoms with conflicting religions that leads to endless conflict.

Luciana has been raised in a convent, abandoned by her family when she was born. She has no real ambitions to ever leave the island and her adopted sisters. That all changes when she finds herself reunited with her family and she finds herself faced with a choice: does she save her father by marrying a “beast” or does she stay with her sisters to live the life she believes she wants.

As an obviously selfless woman, she takes the plunge into the world of royalty and impersonating her twin sister. The “beast,” as it turns out, is really not as beastly has everyone claims. This was almost like a beauty and the beast retelling in a lot of ways. While pretending to be things that they are not, these two find a way to be a really awesome couple. Oh, and there’s lots of political drama along the way, but the romance is really what everyone wants, right?

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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Review: Animus

Animus Animus by Xandrie Kovak
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This story is available by signing up for the mailing list. I, of course, could not resist getting a glimpse into the enigmatic Lucas Masters’ past. You get hints about the amount of baggage he has, but it is nothing like living it through his story.

Lucas was confronted with the murder of his entire pack and, rather than giving up, he chose to infiltrate the Red Crescent pack to take his revenge. What seems like a pretty straightforward plan ends up taking a lot longer than anticipated. Through his time there we get to see new relationships form, some pretty gruesome acts committed by the alpha, and watch Lucas take shape before our eyes.

I admit, I was a little reluctant to believe that making a young kid alpha was the smart move, but after seeing Lucas survive everything that’s ever come his way, he more than deserves his place. I also think that readers should definitely read this one between book 1 & 2 so that you get to appreciate the growth of Lucas and West. This is a must read for the series.

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Review: Beauty & Beast: A Sinful Supes Story

Beauty & Beast: A Sinful Supes Story Beauty & Beast: A Sinful Supes Story by Xandrie Kovak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you’re starting here, you should really go back and read the series from the beginning (The Fervor). That’s where you’ll meet Claire, Camilla’s bestie, and see how we ended up in this wild and crazy world.

Camilla is the feisty best friend everyone wants. When her friend disappears and is assumed dead after the chaos on college campus, she is completely determined to get her back at any cost. She’s even willing to dress as a hussy to try to seduce a feral fighter with a reputation if it will get her one step closer to her friend. The only problem with her plan is that she finds herself strangely drawn to West, no matter how many times she reminds herself it’s all a game.

West is out for a night to blow off some steam when he sees the mysterious lady in red. Unable to take his eyes off her, he makes her his number one priority. The fact that she’s covered in pheromones helps, too. This romance was adorable and wonderful to watch. Sure, it made it a little more difficult for West to balance his best friend’s missing girl (Claire) with his budding romance, but they somehow make it work. I especially loved Camilla making West work for it. Coming straight from reading the back story book in the series, I appreciated West even more. He definitely deserves his own HEA.

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Review: The Fervor: A Sinful Supes Story

The Fervor: A Sinful Supes Story The Fervor: A Sinful Supes Story by Xandrie Kovak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow! I grabbed this book off Amazon when it popped up as free, so I had no real expectations. On a whim, I started reading and absolutely could not put this book down! I’m so hooked, that I went right on to read all the other available books in the series (including the mailing list bonus backstory). I wish there were more!

This book gave us a good look at what happens when someone with even the smallest amount of succubus DNA wanders into the world of the full-fledged paranormals. Claire has always tried to be a wallflower but her DNA just cannot stop men from being drawn in her direction. Luckily, her bestie doesn’t appear to mind, as she is able to get a break when Claire is around. Even from the brief glimpse of their friendship, I know I’m going to love these two whenever we get them in the same room. Anyway, Claire hasn’t really looked too deeply into her “draw” until she tests positive for a supernatural heritage in college. This begins her spiral into the world of the “supes.”

Tasked with attending a class specifically for those with supernatural blood in their veins, she can’t even make it to the classroom before bad things start happening. She’s attacked, marked, stalked, and all of that is only from one type of supe. When confronted with so many predators looking at her like prey, her innate defenses get triggered with… sexy consequences. OK, maybe they veer a little rapey but it’s hard not to use “sexy” when Lucas is her unofficial guardian during this escapade. Throw in a bit of smutty goodness, and you’ve got a truly phenomenal start to a new series.

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Review: Thomas's Choice

Thomas's Choice Thomas's Choice by Tina Folsom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, so I took a bit of a break from the Scanguards vampires because... well, I guess I was just burnt-out. I was sort of dreading the drama that would inevitably come from Eddie and Thomas becoming a couple. Sure, I was rooting for them, but there was a zero percent chance of it being easy. I guess I just wanted easy for a little while. Fast forward to recently when I loaded this sucker up on audible. Wow! What took me so long?

Thomas is a really great reluctant hero. Sure, he pictures himself as severely damaged, either by his maker or by the power he hides inside himself, but he surely believes that he is not good enough to even make a serious play for Eddie (who he loves, obviously). Eddie is seriously in denial. He's been living with and probably loving Thomas for a while now but when he overhears the others talking about Thomas loving him, he flips out. Much sexual tension and then sexual... awesomeness ensues.

It was so good to watch this longtime crush turn into a serious relationship in the blink of an eye. Yes, there's the big bad, out there doing big bad things. Yes, it was a surprise of soap opera proportions. I don't care, though - I only care about Thomas and Eddie. Everything else was completely secondary. If you are familiar with the series (which you should be before diving in here) then this was a wonderful little present of a book. This has definitely convinced me to get back in and finish this series.

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Review: First Bite

First Bite First Bite by Mac Flynn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book introduced a complex and totally unique world set in Apple Hollow. Trixie has nothing to lose and nobody really waiting for her (other than her mysterious new job) when she is diverted from the snowed out main road and into Apple Hollow. A reporter by profession, this town is just brimming with everything she could want. There's mystery, secrets, and a bit of a whodunit.

Trixie and Orion meet at the super strange diner, seemingly by accident. That's when things get... weird. As if the strangely friendly folks didn't set her reporter radar off enough, there's some very strange animal-esque things about, an apple tree growing (and producing fruit) in a snowy winter, and that's the for starters. When Trixie makes a horrible mistake, it seems like she might not be heading to her new job after all.

All of these characters are definitely begging for additional books, but this one was a good start. There was also a healthy dose of smut thrown in to keep a casual reader entertained. I especially liked the mystery aspect of the story, which is not something I say often.

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Review: Chasing Sam

Chasing Sam Chasing Sam by Krystal Shannan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a super quick and feisty read that was easily read in a single evening.

Through Sam, we meet this world filled with wolf royalty and those who are decidedly not royalty. While she doesn't subscribe to this way of thinking, her family sure does. On her vacation for the holidays (and medical school) her mom and dad surprise her by forcing a mate hunt on her. What's a mate hunt? Well, it's pretty much everything that might conjure up in your head - arranged marriage with the winner (who is probably a fellow noble wolf-person), forced shifting, running through the woods, and the threat of murder hanging over all participants.

She may have either run from the hunt or accepted her fate, but Sam meets Chase by accident when getting off her flight. Her wolf and his immediately notice their match but the people take a little time (and that's something neither of them have). At least this pairing would give Sam her freedom, and that's something she cherishes. Chase really has to fight for it and prove himself to Sam and her family before he can step up and be her mate. This was an interesting take on wolves and their hierarchy.

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