After two years in a war zone, werewolf Felicia Serna has finally returned to find another pack has taken over her territory…and the new second-in-command is the very man who haunts her fantasies.
Alaric has wanted Felicia from the moment he laid eyes on her, and now he’s ready to claim her. When a threatening shifter begins stalking them, he’s determined to protect her…even if it means putting his seduction on hold. But even in the heat of danger, their red-hot passion cannot be denied.
Wolf shifter Felicia Serna returns home to Alabama after 2 years working as a nurse with an international health organization in war-torn Afghanistan. Shifter packs in North America control designated regions and the vast majority of wolves live in the packs and which provide companionship and protection. Felicia, however, is an anomaly, abandoned by her parents at a young age, she was taken in by a pack that treated her as an outsider. She worked hard, earned her nursing degree then fled overseas and excelled in her chosen profession offering her expertise to those in need. She is therefore ambivalent about this homecoming and has really only returned to retrieve her belongings shipped to human friends for safekeeping. Felicia harbors many insecurities where her kind are concerned and let no one know that she when or if she would return to Alabama. So when Alaric, a powerful werewolf, greets her at the airport she assumes the worst, fearing he has been sent to punish her for leaving her pack without permission.
Alaric, a fearsome, five-hundred-year-old shifter, is second in command to his pack’s Alpha. He met Felicia 5 years earlier when he visited her pack and his wolf instantly recognized her as his mate. She was 19-years-old at the time, too young and unsure for him to claim. Alaric had no idea how badly she was treated by her pack or that her old Alpha was not honorable. When Felicia went to Afghanistan, Alaric used contacts he had developed over the years to keep track of her. A few months previous to her return he struck up an e-mail exchange with Felicia hoping to establish a rapport. Their liaison went well but then she stopped communicating with him and he learned she was headed stateside.
I love shifter stories because it gives an author the flexibility to incorporate the protagonists ability to instinctively recognize and respond to their intended mate on a primal level. Alaric senses Felicia’s inner wolf recognizes and is drawn to him. Alaric is a quintessential Alpha male, his predatory and protective instincts shine through, and, he is extremely seductive. He has waited a long time for Felicia and is determined to claim her. These characters have amazing sexual chemistry, Alaric is dominant but he is tender and compassionate with Felicia, nurturing her passion. Katie Reus pens steamy love scenes.
A subplot involves subterfuge and betrayal within the pack and readers can expect exciting action sequences. Felicia shows bravery and considerable ability in doing what she must to defend her mate. As well, vampire/werewolf politics are adeptly incorporated into the narrative. While Protector’s Mate is a novella and a quick read, the plot is cohesive, extremely well orchestrated and satisfying. The majority of my reads have been full-length novels lately and this novella was a welcome change.
Protector’s Mate isn’t designated as part of a a series, per se but it is directly connected to Reus’ October 2011 Harlequin Nocturne publication, Destined Mate as it is set in the same world and it’s hero, Knox, is Alaric’s Alpha leader. Either book can be read as a standalone. If you enjoy a sexy, fast-paced paranormal romance involving wolf shifters, you may like to give Protector’s Mate a try.
I give Protector’s Mate 4 1/2 Stars
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