By Vivian Arend
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Publication Date: June 12, 2012
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Into the best-laid plans a little chaos must fall…
Jared’s not sure how his quiet morning coffee near the harbour ended with him on a cruise ship impersonating one of his pack mates. Well, it might have something to do with a woman, but who can blame him? The female of the species was made to love, and he’s more than willing to share his considerable skills in that area. Especially since he figures the chances of meeting his own one-and-only are slim.
Keri Smith is positive the last-minute recruit sneaking aboard the Arctic Wolf Cruise Lines tour is her mate. Ix-nay on confirming that, though, at least for the next ten days. She’s promised her best friend to be overall troubleshooter for the shifter-only cruise. Getting tangled up in mating lust would reduce her skills to nil. Avoidance of the sexy wolf for the duration of the cruise, followed by jumping his bones, seems the logical solution.
But when libidos are on the line, “logic” and “wolves” don’t go together. Throw in suspicions of wrongdoing, and these two virtual strangers will need a lot more than luck to find their way through to forever.
Warning: Really? You need to be warned about the hot nookie and sarcasm? Yeah, it’s in here. Also colourful cat shifters, lupine royalty, and wild adventures in cabins like you’ve never seen before.
The last thing Granite Lake wolf-shifter Jared wants is get a job-job, especially one that doesn’t involve the kind of sweating and noises from frolicking with a female but it may be time. His wolf-anizing ways have caught up to him in the form of a couple of thugs and Jared has to hide quickly (really not his fault). A cruise ship is waiting in the harbor with all its hiding spots and crowds. It has to be kismet that they’re expecting a packmate to check in as a worker and no one questions his sudden appearance.
Keri is on board the Arctic Cruise Line to help support her friend Tessa’s maiden voyage as cruise director. When she comes across new hire “Mark,” one deep sniff tells her he’s her mate. She can’t figure out why she rates a wink instead of being jumped on the closest horizontal surface though. Maybe he’s being gentlemanly? It takes Jared’s wolf to finally turn the light bulb on and tell him – hey, Keri’s his mate!
Jared and Keri’s road to happiness is bound to be hazardous since the beginning was bumpy. It’s romance 101. Jared’s got a lot of ‘splainin’ to do to Keri, starting with his real name which was a bigger issue than I thought. Jared has depth and he’s very cute telling things to Keri while she’s taking it all in stride. Keri’s had longer to get used to the idea of Jared as her mate and while she mainly just wants to have sex like a madwoman for a while, she’s okay with learning to accept the good with the bad in him. The little side story/crime caper was funny and was a good way to advance the romance and Jared’s need to spill his secrets early.
Because of the length of the story (long novella), there isn’t a lot of space for happy mating activity, but there’s still some simmering smexy times between the couple. Arend writes fan-yourself hotness without being too graphic and the characters are always emotionally engaged. Freshly mated couples are always very…energetic. :)
The Granite Lake pack hierarchy had its mating stories, so any new books are looks at other wolves that probably have appeared someplace and are getting their happily-ever-afters. If this book is any indication, it’s not necessary to read the original core books to enjoy the new. The alphas and omegas show up and there’s a little scene with them that’s a tease about Jared. It was a nice reminder about pack life then and again later in the book. I admit I miss being on land and roaming with the wolves there, but the cruise ship idea was original and a true change of pace.
Both characters were likeable, especially rascally Jared. I don’t usually find myself liking players but there was something endearing about him that made me smile. Once he figured out Keri was his mate, he was so joyful that I had this image of a squirming puppy. Keri was quiet compared to him, she reminded me of a wolf stalking her prey (which was what she was trying to avoid doing, poor thing). She wasn’t in any way needy though, which won her big points with me.
My Summary: This is a little departure in tone from the original four Granite Lake books, for sure. It’s still great meeting up with the pack but now it’s taking the members in new directions, doing a little exploring and coming across other shifters and packs. The cruise ship idea was a lot of fun (try racing down the shuffleboard deck with bubbles on it), I liked the little whodunit and as always, the mating of the shifter couple is intense and sexy.
My Rating: B+
No, it’s not necessary – but really, read the original Granite Lake books. They’re really good, especially the first one, Wolf Signs, the alpha’s story. His mate is deaf and it’s a lovely story.