As always, the author has delivered a terrific story with believable characters and a decent backstory. Talia, the female lead, had a disturbingly violent ex who was continually harassing her and didn’t know the meaning of the word “no.” When Alec hears this he becomes so angry that he has to go outside to try to calm himself down so that he won’t shift in public. He winds up shifting anyway and running off, either because he believes Talia’s afraid of him, or to keep from hurting anyone else. Not knowing what else to do, she puts his clothes in his car and drives it back to her place. When she gets there she finds her ex waiting for her. When he grabs Talia to try to stop her from going inside, Alec jumps out from the bushes at him and attacks him, quickly killing him. He then shifts back and he and Talia rush inside, leaving her ex laying in the yard. Alec has already made the offer for Talia and her son James to move out to the preserve with him, and he repeats that offer. This time she gladly accepts, and they presumably live happily ever after.
The female leads in other stories have often quickly accepted their love interests’ shifting without too many issues, but this is the first time it’s happened after she dreams about him in his shifted form. Alec comes over during the day to check on Talia and James, and spends time playing with James on the living room floor. No mention is made of it at the time, but later Talia tells Alec that she knew he was James’ father when she saw them playing together, and Alec responds by saying he knew as well. Alec takes her out to dinner a second time, and it is while they are out that she tells him about her ex trying to blackmail her, and he becomes so enraged at what the man was trying to do that he had to go outside before he shifted in a restaurant full of people.
The only part that seemed a little contrived to me (which has never happened before with this author) was when Alec attacked Talia’s ex. Granted, her ex had evil plans in mind for her, but he may have only intended (for the moment) to keep her there long enough to threaten her some more, grabbing her arm to ensure she couldn’t go anywhere till he was done having his say. But Alec was still so enraged at the man that he didn’t give him a chance to do more than grab Talia before attacking and killing him. Whenever a fatal fight has occurred before in this author’s stories, the shifter has always immediately cleaned up after himself, hiding or burying the body immediately so it won’t be found by either other humans or wild animals. This time when Alec shifts back he just leaves the body out in plain sight in Talia’s front yard, she grabs his clothes from his car, and they rush inside so that he can quickly get out of sight. No mention is made after that of what he intends to do with the body, he doesn’t go back out to dispose of the body, the body is never mentioned again—not realistic at all by any stretch of the imagination (even for a shifter story).
Overall, I loved the story (even the rushed parts), and hopefully Alec and Talia will make further appearances in the other stories in this series, like the author’s done with her other stories.
I received a free ARC of this story in exchange for an honest review.