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Paranormal Suspense

Review: In the Company of Wolves by Paige Tyler #UrbanFantasy #Werewolves

In the Company of Wolves (SWAT) - Paige Tyler“There is no life to be found in violence. Every act of violence brings us closer to death.” – bell hooks

A meth addict mother. Check. A brutal, drunken stepfather. Check. Living in a hellhole of an apartment, waiting for said stepfather to storm into her room and rape her. Double check. Jayna Winston fled into the night on the very night that nearly happened. Bloody, beaten and alone.

Fast forward to the present day, and Jayna finds herself in a hell of a mess. In Paige Tyler’s mythology, werewolves are created at times of great terror and pain, and Jayna’s change came that terrifying night. Now, her alpha, Liam, has placed his small pack into the hands of the Albanian mob, locked them into committing crimes, from theft to murder. Murder. And Liam apparently doesn’t care that his tiny pack is in danger of being killed every time they commit a crime. That right this very moment Jayna’s life is in danger. Because Liam said there were no werewolves in Dallas. Especially no alpha werewolves. But now, in a warehouse in a bad part of Dallas, Jayna and the omega wolves Liam has taken in – huge, ruthless, savage – are surrounded. Surrounded by a SWAT team composed completely of wolves. Alpha wolves.

A whole pack of alpha wolves. Toe-to-toe to one of said wolves, Jayna knows she will never survive. Until the alpha wolf dumps her into a packing crate, tells her to be very, very quiet – and then pours a shipment of very expensive perfume over the crate to block her scent.

What the . . . ?

Why did that happen? And to make it even weirder, the alpha, Eric Becker, tracks her down. But he doesn’t arrest her. He wants to help. Liam may have dropped Jayna and her tiny pack into certain death, but Becker wants to help. No one has ever offered to actually help Jayna. Now she and Megan, Moe, Joseph and Chris, three beta wolves, can no longer rely on Liam. And without Liam’s strength, they can’t leave, can’t fight back.

But Becker has a plan. First, he has to present himself as an omega, and be accepted by Frasheri, the Albanian mob boss, and his underboss, the psychopath Kostandin. And then? Well, here is what is going to happen . . .

Tyler’s mythology is interesting in its difference. Neither Jayna nor her pack members, or Becker himself, have been wolves for very long, all learning what it means. All have things to teach one another. Jayna is terrified, of course, of losing her much loved pack members, even Liam who sold them out to the mob in exchange for money and the illusion of power. To save them she will have to be stronger than she ever could have imagined. And she comes through beautifully. Becker and his people are strong, of course, but also very human in the best sort of way. A pleasant read.

I received In the Company of Wolves from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

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Review: Handcuffed to the Bear by Lauren Esker #ParanormalSuspense

“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!

Review: Spiral of Need by Suzanne Wright #ParanormalRomanticSuspense

Spiral of Need (The Mercury Pack, #1)“Nothing like being accused of attempted murder to complete a girl’s Friday evening.” What a great opening line to a new series by a favorite author!

I have been a fan of Suzanne Wright for quite some time – since I first found her “Phoenix Pack” series. The stories are well written, have great backstory and, within a paranormal romance setup, speaks to issues we all face today. Prejudice, hatred, all the nasty habits of humanity. But her works speak of the good as well – love, duty, honor. All the things that, if we would only concentrate on those instead of hating one another, we could become better, stronger, and more worthy of our presence on this beautiful planet.

Now, Ms. Wright has a spin-off that melds the Phoenix Pack with the newly created Mercury Pack. Led by Nick Axton and his mate, Shaya Critchley, a previous member of the Phoenix Pack, this first book is just as strongly written, and just as filled with wonderful characters and situations as the Phoenix series.

We first met Derren, the unwilling Beta of the Mercury Pack, in “Carnal Secrets,” book three of the Phoenix series. Broken and bitter from years imprisoned as a 14-year-old for a crime he didn’t commit, Derren is tough, introverted, and brutal. And the one thing he hates, more than anything else, is a Seer. But when Cain Holt calls, Derren can’t say no. He owes Cain, another shifter juvie prisoner, a favor. And he can’t turn down Cain’s request to rescue, and protect, Alyssa “Ally” Marshall from an intolerable situation in her present pack. Of course, Derren has every reason to hate Seers. Not only was he betrayed by a Seer, whose son committed the rape Derren was accused and sent to prison for. His Alpha and best friend, Nick, and his enforcers Marcus and Roni were also betrayed by Seers. Yep. Having a Seer in your pack can be a wonderful thing – but a bad Seer can be as bad as a bad Alpha – deadly and destructive.

Suzanne continues her wonderful world-building and character building, her story telling strong and well designed as usual. Betrayal, hatred, back-stabbing and murder are all part of the story – and yet the strong bindings of family and pack are intertwined, pulling the story forward and drawing me into Suzanne’s world once again. Suzanne, like Eve Langlais, is a strong writer of paranormal romance without the ridiculousness of so many other paranormals. Her female characters, both the good and the bad, are truly strong characters, whether you love them or hate them – and some of them you really, really hate! My ‘go-to’ authors for nights when I need to read strong women, complex plots and a great world so close to our own.

I received “Spiral of Need” from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. The only thing I would change is the title – in my opinion it doesn’t really ‘fit’ the book, but otherwise, I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes strong characters and well written storylines. I would call it more “Romantic Paranormal Suspense” than simple “Paranormal Romance.” It is stronger than simple PR.

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