Rating: 3.25 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
Millionaire tiger shifter Cade is a successful owner of a software company. When he stumbles across a client illegally selling national secrets, Cade turns the man over to the FBI. More concerning was that evidence of shifter existence was uncovered as well, which could mean drastic and tragic consequences for all shifters. Cade now finds himself in hiding as a hit man is out for his hide. He takes cover in his isolated cabin where the plan is for no one to be able to find him, least of all a former one stand. Cade does not sleep with the same man twice and strictly follows his “one and done” rule that was self imposed after a hard lesson learned years before.
Alpha lion shifter Micah just cannot get the mysterious tiger shifter out of his head. They spent only one night together and Cade left without so much as giving his name. A newspaper article regarding Cade’s disappearance has Micah determined to find and protect the runaway tiger. He locates Cade in his solitary retreat, learns why he is on the run, and makes a call for help. Help comes in form of lion shifter Stone, the best bodyguard around, but the one man Micah cannot stand. Stone can certainly think of better ways to spend his days than being in the wilderness with the alpha who tries his very last nerve.
Spending days together in an isolated cabin, Micah and Stone have to find a way to work together to protect Cade and expose the traitor selling secrets that can bring them all down. With lust and arousal in the air, perhaps love is just not so very far behind for three different men.
Let me start off by saying cats are my favorite, any type of cat domestic or wild. So when I saw this story about lion and tiger shifters, yep this was the story for me. But then again, maybe not so much. But let me back up and start at the beginning.
The story opens with a restless, frustrated, over worked, and tired Micah having a drink and noticing that none of the men in the bar hold his attention. As he is heading to the exit, Micah sees a man coming in that has his inner lion perking up. He is immediately attracted to the yellow-eyed tiger shifter and his assessment of him is fun as he thinks:
Never before had simply checking out another man produced such an immediate, throbbing need …. Throwing him down on the floor and mounting up would show a huge lack of control, not to poor manners.
As they immediately head out for a one nighter, we get a few brief glances of their shifter traits, such as their keen sense of smell, fangs, and mating barbs (yes those types of barbs). While they are going at each other like cats in heat, I kept getting distracted by terms such as tumescence, member, manhood, sphincter, hard tool. These descriptions showed up throughout the book and pulled me out each time as just not being the sexiest of terms. And while Cade does not tell Micah his name, he does tell him where his isolated cabin is that no one knows about. Their connection is intense and they both feel one night won’t be enough, but Cade has a past he cannot let go of and to protect himself he never sleeps with the same man twice, hence his “one and done” rule. This catchy motto was cute the first time I heard it, maybe even the second, but by the fourth and fifth times I was sort of done with it as well.
Two weeks pass and growly Micah is unable to get Cade out of his head. When he discovers Cade’s disappearance, Micah takes his first vacation in years, and of course he knows exactly where his mystery man is: the cabin.
Once at the cabin, we learn the extent of the trouble Cade is in and the larger plot of stolen genetic secrets. A phone call from Micah has bodyguard Stone arriving for security. Stone and Micah have never gotten along for any other reason than their alpha dominance and their ability to push each others buttons. Their conflict with each other is basically throwing out insults at each other. Cade immediately calls them on what he states is foreplay, and now all of a sudden Stone and Micah are looking at each other differently.
The dialog was clichéd, and at times, juvenile and adolescent, with Cade throwing out one-liners such as, “Cats rule dogs drool.” When sleeping arrangements are discussed, the conversation dissolves into talks of farts and wet spots and when the men start slapping themselves and each other on the ass to see who has the firmer one, I couldn’t help but just laugh at the silliness of it all. Several times I thought I had stepped into a cartoon, a teenage boy-wants-to-be-a-detective-novel, or a frat boy caper, none of which this book was supposed to be.
There is no world building. We know second hand that there is a Lion Council and that humans do not know that shifters exist. There are other types of shifters, a bear and a wolf are mentioned, but that’s all we know, just that they exist. The on page shifting is minimal and was one of the areas I was most looking forward to. The first shift is just knowing that Micah is in his lion form for just a moment. Then there are no further scenes of shifting until the midway point and again it’s minimal and not very descriptive. The final climatic shifting scene happens very quickly and there is not a lot to build on. The shifters think like humans in their shifted form and there is no sense of the cat world at all. We don’t even get a description of what they look like other than the guys calling Cade “Stripey” (he’s a tiger), but they start calling him that before they even see him in his tiger form.
The plot line of the stolen genetics information is predictable and could have had more potential, but just fizzled out in the end. The men set a surveillance trap to catch the traitor, and then sit back, monitor, and wait. Likewise, the assassin hunting for Cade is the best there is, yet it was extremely easy for the guys to draw him in and take him down. There was a specific reason he was so good at what he did, yet it was just glossed over and was not developed. The whole scene that the book was working towards was over very quickly and just fell flat.
The relationship with the guys was another area that had so much potential. They are all alone for different reasons and none of them really want to be. Cade has built up the solitary tiger persona after being hurt years ago. After one conversation with Stone he completely opens up to him. The story was a common one and lacked impact and Stone now will do whatever is within his power to save Cade and keep him smiling. They all catch the scent of each others arousal but the sexual tension stays on the page and does not leap out at us. Cade goes from living by his strong rule of “one and done” to all of a sudden realizing he needs both guys and is contemplating fidelity. He decides almost by himself that the three of them should try to make it work after the men have only spent a few days together in a cabin under stressful conditions. They don’t act on any desire until the assassin is dealt with, which leaves it rushed in the end, with several combinations of bodies happening just one after the other. The three of them finally getting together should have been explosive, but it all just lacked a certain emotional investment by that time.
I was really looking forward to being immersed in the feline world, but there was no world to be immersed in. I was really looking forward to being able to love all three guys, but I had a really difficult time connecting with the way their relationship played out and the predictable feel of the story in general. It’s really disappointing to not have totally loved this one, but in the end, overall, it just didn’t work well for me.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.