Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Publication Date: September 11, 2012
Genre: Paranormal Romance
“If a tree falls in the forest, duck…”
“Takhini Wolves, Book 2″
Life in isolation is the safest place for Chase Johnson, a crossbreed who doesn’t know which form he’ll assume next-cougar or wolf. Once a year, his unelected position as spokesman for the Yukon outcasts forces him to visit civilization. This time he runs across someone unexpected. She’s not his mate, but she pushes all the right buttons.
It’s taken years for Shelley Bradley to gather the courage to return to her home pack. In spite of being the lowest of the low-a shifter who can’t shift-she’s determined to make a place for herself as the Whitehorse locals’ new vet-slash-doctor.
There’s definite electricity between her and Chase, but sex with fellow shifters and the inherent mind games got old a long time ago. Ignoring him seems best. When he shows up at her office with a wound that won’t heal, she’s stuck-yet drawn to solve this medical mystery.
As they journey deep into outcast territory in search of answers, their powerful sexual attraction crumbles her resistance. But time is of the essence. If a cure can’t be found before his human and cougar succumb to his injury, he-and others like him-will die.
Warning: Contains a silver-tongued, hairy-chested, lean-muscled Alpha who’s got what it takes to lead in the wilderness and in the bedroom. Yeah, I know…not really much of a deterrent, is it? Throw in continuing territorial wars and a domestic cat. Stir and enjoy the chaos.
I’ve loved Arend’s series about shapeshifters since 2009, when I picked up Wolf Signs, a book about a deaf girl who heads out into the wilderness with no idea she’s part wolf. It was unique, sexy and full of humor. The Granite Lake wolfies have been going strong for five books (with a new one coming!) and they’ve spun off into a slightly edgier and rougher series, the Takhini Wolves. I liked the first book for its sly humor and bad-assery (new word alert!). Silver Mine was a more sedate book, the issues a little deeper and there wasn’t quite so much butt-kicking. The humor is always there though. I wouldn’t recognize an Arend book without it.
Chase is a loner by nature, living in relative isolation in the Canadian wilds with random fellow loner shifters for a loose “pack.” During his yearly trip into civilization in Whitehorse for supplies that will probably end up in their bellies too, he’s also got to find a doctor. He got scratched up during a fight with a puma shifter and the wounds aren’t healing at all.
Years ago, Shelley fled Whitehorse and an abusive Takhini pack that turned her into an outcast because she was a half-breed wolf who couldn’t shift. During her time away, she became a vet with specialized shifter training and the old Takhini alpha was overthrown by a much different, kinder man who created a new kind of pack. Her sister Caroline and the lure of her own office in Whitehorse pulls Shelley back home, although she’s determined to stay away from anything resembling pack life or shifters – except a very delicious blonde shifter who’s new in town looks interesting to her one night.
That blonde shifter comes banging on her not-yet-open office door the next day, looking for the doctor to check out some scratches. Shelley can’t figure them out – there was something wrong with the puma shifter who attacked Chase and she needs to check him out before she can fix what’s wrong with him. That means Chase has to take her deep into his isolated territory, the two of them, alone, with all of this sizzling attraction between them.
At least for a good while at the start of the story, I didn’t feel very connected to Shelley and Chase. There was a lot of other stuff going on back in Whitehorse with Shelley’s sister Caroline and Evan, the Alpha of Takhini, and it was a little distracting. By the time the two had really left civilization, it was easier to feel a bond and a lot of sexual tension growing between the two of them. I was a little surprised by how fast Shelley decided she wouldn’t resist him. I mean, not that I would either. But, you know, I expected her to at least put up more of a fuss.
Shelley and Chase both have sad and unusual pasts that should have given them a little oomph in the depth department. Shelley experienced terrible bullying because she could never trigger her wolf and was blamed for something terrible. Chase is a Métis, a shifter with two animals who generally isn’t accepted by either pack. They had a lot in common that could have brought them together on a special level but I just never got that feeling from them. I really did believe their romance though and whoo, they were steamy together.
The supporting characters and side stories were very strong and I think may have overwhelmed Shelley and Chase. There was a lot of Caroline and Evan, much being made about her being human and not his mate despite them sleeping together. Back at Chase’s home, there was an adorable cast of characters: Delton, the grizzled old wanderer who’s been watching his place; Jones, the young trouble-making wolverine and my favorite, Frank, the big ol’ bear shifter who’s absolutely hilarious. I swear I’m going to sit on Arend one of these days and make her write a bear shifter series. They’re big, brawny (get in a lot of trouble) and so funny I adore them.
My Summary: I’m pretty conflicted about this one. I liked the mystery of the puma scratches and the hike in was memorable because of the nice slow build of sexual tension between Shelley and Chase. There had just been too much other stuff going on earlier in the book and I don’t think I had a good enough grasp about who they were individually to really feel for them as fully as I wanted to as a couple. The supporting characters were awesome though, really bringing the story to life and making it fun. Overall, I enjoyed reading this despite the issues and I’m looking forward to Evan getting his book (and the bears, hint hint)
My Rating: B