Guest Review by Sammy
Title: On Thin Ice
Author: Jessica Lee
Publisher: Resplendence Publishing
Rating: 3 stars
The setting is Alaska. The opening: caribou hunting and a few days of hanging with the guys. To the naked eye, this would seem like a normal “guy” storyline except for one niggling detail – these men are actually lion shifters. Before they can get their shift on, so to speak, a storm moves in, requiring them to take an early flight back to North Carolina.
As the men prepare to leave Alaska, we find out that Silas, the Pride leader, has been the victim of several death threats and that everyone who attended this trip with him had been carefully vetted, everyone except young Travis. Travis was a last minute addition to the team and since he was the growing love interest of one of the other guys that Silas knew well, Silas dismissed the need for caution and allowed him to come along. Big mistake. While in the air, Travis pulls a gun and shoots, but the bullet intended for Silas goes wild after the head of Pride security throws himself at the assassin. Unfortunately, the bullet blows directly through the pilot, killing him. The plane, now unattended, begins a fatal tailspin and Silas is the only one to survive the crash.
Theo, a doctor by trade, sees the accident and brings Silas back to his cabin to heal. But Theo has a secret of his own. He, too, is a shifter—a wolf shifter. Cat and dog—could this get any more tongue-in-cheek? As the story progresses, we also come to find out that Theo is living apart from his pack. Things between these two men heat up very rapidly with lust gradually turning into something more. Theo quickly discovers that Silas is suffering from amnesia, so throughout a good portion of this story we are constantly reminded that this relationship potentially has no future—the dog/cat dynamic notwithstanding. Eventually we find out the reason for Silas’ death threats and how this too greatly impacts the idea of a lasting relationship between him and Theo. There are definitely a few tense moments (the arrival of two assassins at Theo’s doorstep) that keep this story line moving along. Unfortunately, for me, they were too few to really make this a solid and complete story.
I do think that this author has great potential as an m/m romance writer. The scenes she writes between these two men are dynamic and the sex is hot! However, given the shorter length, I felt too much time was spent describing their mutual lust in the bedroom leaving a lot of story lines unattended. For instance, at the very beginning of the novel it is alluded to that Silas has had many partners, both male and female. We are then led to understand that no relationship would ever come between he and his Pride—but then the issue dies there—only to be conveniently toted out as an explanation as to why he and Theo might never be partners. I wanted to understand this dynamic more, read more about what made Silas tick, what made him such a good leader. I wanted to read a bit more about the Pride dynamic and why there were some so opposed to a bisexual leader (like Silas). I did hear a good retelling of why Theo was alone and I felt that of the two main characters he was more solidly fleshed out. However, it didn’t ring true to me that he was so drawn to Silas, yet so easily gave him up, even for a short time.
Ultimately this novel received 3 stars because I felt it was unfinished. So much time and space was devoted to the sexual aspect of Silas and Theo’s relationship that we never saw how their love for each other blossomed and grew beyond simple lust. However, as an author, I feel Lee definitely deserves another chance! She is a good writer; this simply was a weak story—too short to be fully developed. Hence, this reader was left a bit frustrated and wanting more. As paranormal stories go, On Thin Ice is a good beginning to what could have been a great story had it had a bit more meat on its bones.