“Those that much covet are with gain so fond,
For what they have not, that which they possess
They scatter and unloose it from their bond,
And so, by hoping more, they have but less;
Or, gaining more, the profit of excess
Is but to surfeit, and such griefs sustain,
That they prove bankrupt in this poor-rich gain.”
― William Shakespeare, The Rape of Lucrece’

Handcuffed to the Bear: BBW Paranormal Bear Shifter Romance (Shifter Agents Book 1)First, don’t look at the cover and think, “Oh, BDSM.” That isn’t what this is. What it is, is a great story. It is advertised as a “Paranormal Romance” – which I find to be a shame, as it is more than that. If you are looking for a simple story, boy shifter meets girl shifter, immediate mating occurs, stuff happens, tons of sex happens, HEA, well, this isn’t that. Though the ending is sooo good, I have to say – can we all say kickass Casey?

Being cuffed together and dumped out in the forests of the American Northwest, neither Casey nor Jack can switch to their animal forms. The handcuffs are Jack’s – as a federal agent, the handcuffs are designed to hold the strongest shifter. If Jack, a grizzly, shifts, he will lose a hand/paw. And it doesn’t do Casey any real good to shift, even though her wrists/ankles are small enough to get away with it. As a lynx, her paws are huge, designed to allow her to race over deep snows. So they must retain their naked human forms as they flee from a lion pride. A lion pride gone bad, who hunt and slaughter terrified shifters for fun. Staying alive means running, hiding, and when necessary, fighting for their lives. Stuck on a private island off the British Columbia coast, there is no help in sight. Not unless Jack’s backup can first find them, then rescue them before the pride closes in and the slaughter commences.

If this weren’t a shifter story, it would fall under the suspense or romantic suspense genre without a doubt. So I will call it “Paranormal Suspense.” The focus is on Casey and Jack staying alive long enough to be rescued. For Jack, being handcuffed to a tiny lynx shifter civilian is, well, frustrating to say the least. He is an admitted ‘bad team player.’ But Casey isn’t just any civilian. After her best friend Wendy disappeared Casey was determined to find out what happened to her. No one would listen to her, would believe that Wendy didn’t just move away to Colorado without a word. Wendy and Casey are both orphans, Wendy brought up in “the system” and Casey by her grandmother. Wendy wouldn’t just take off. The only clue Casey has is that Wendy was a programmer for Lion’s Share Software, a shifter owned corporation owned by the local lion pride. So, Casey works, hard, for two years to put herself into a position to find out what happened to her friend. From waitress to mail room, up through the ranks to executive assistant to the head of Lion’s Share, Roger Fallon. It was a brutal slog of long days and nights, school and job, total focus and hard work. But she is there. And when asked to the company’s yearly yacht tour around Puget Sound, Casey sees it as an opportunity to watch, to listen, and to find out if her suspicions are correct – that the Fallons had something to do with Wendy’s disappearance.

Agent Jack Ross of the “Shif uh, – Special Crimes Bureau” or SCB, is working undercover. Shifters have been disappearing. Females, small breeds, easily picked off and with no families, or families who can’t afford to mount a search. Young single mothers, single women with little or no family. The SCB knows that the Fallons are involved, but to prove it they need more evidence. Jack’s assignment with the catering company on the Fallon yacht was supposed to be information gathering only. But when he sees tiny Casey’s unconscious body being stuffed into a crate, something must have happened – because he finds himself waking up from a deeply drugged state handcuffed to Casey in the middle of a forest. To survive they are going to have to work together, to help one another, to save one another from a horrid death at the teeth and claws of the pride. Not an easy thing for two self-sufficient people with teamwork and trust issues to handle.

Again, I completely enjoyed this book. I picked it up as a Freebie – and it is still free, so even if you can’t read it right now, pick it up and read it when you get a chance. If you like suspense, you will like this. Casey never wimps out. She gets hurt, battered, shot at, shot, and she just puts her head down and keeps right on going. She is believable, she isn’t an idiot, and she is one gutsy lady. And I really liked that she had to actually kick the big bear in the butt a couple of different times to get his fat backside moving when he would have simply laid down and died. Awesome! They learned to work together, and Casey’s part in the story was never minimized. Yep. Totally awesome.

The next one coming out is “Guard Wolf on Duty” coming out in October. I have it on my “order when available” list. And we will hopefully get to see Casey kicking backside and taking names again…. Cool!