Rating: 4.5 stars
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With rogue members of their wolf pack out to kill hybrid wolves, Robin has gone with his brother Tim, and Tim’s mate Jay, to seek safety. Jay is a hybrid wolf-fox shifter, so now that he has mated with Tim, they are both targets. Hoping to help confuse the killers as to which brother is mated, Robin has come along as well. They are staying with Jay’s father, Walter, in hopes of keeping safe while their pack tries to stop the killers from acting again.
Jay knows that Tim means well in trying to look out for him, but his overprotective brother is driving him crazy. He is 19, not a child, and can’t stand Tim and his father keeping him so stifled, even if they believe it is for his safety. When Jay smells an enticing scent out in the woods, he can’t help but be drawn to it. Robin is surprised to find that it is his mate, a wolf-bear shifter named Peter. Robin never thought his mate would also be a hybrid, but it is clear immediately that he and Peter are meant for each other.
Robin and Peter take some time to mate and build the bond between them. Peter is big and strong and clearly dominant, totally prepared to care for and protect the younger Robin. He is a bit odd and old fashioned, but he is the perfect counterpoint to the feisty and more impulsive young wolf. Things are going wonderfully, until the rogue wolves show up again. They are determined to destroy any wolf hybrids, lashing out and killing once again. Both Peter and Tim are will do anything to protect their mates, but the killers are not giving up until all the hybrids and those they love are destroyed.
Secret Energy picks up about two weeks after the first book in the series, Secret Chemistry. The first story introduces the rogue wolves and their ideas of pure bred superiority, as well as focusing on Tim and Jay’s relationship development. The crisis carries over to this story, as Tim, Jay, and Robin are hiding away, trying to keep safe while the problem is handled. At the same time, we get the introduction here of Peter as Robin’s mate, as well as the world of the bear-wolf hybrids (or were-bears as Robin likes to call them).
So lots worked well for me here. First off, I loved Robin in Secret Chemistry and was thrilled to see him get his own story here. Robin is fun and sarcastic and feisty and just a fun character. He is also sweet and sensitive, caring for the feelings of others and very in tune to what others are feeling. At the same time, he is also young and impulsive and acts with his heart first and not always his head. Peter is a great match for him, as a much older bear shifter who is strong and steady. He is immediately a source of strength and confidence for Robin, who is often anxious and skittish in stressful times. Peter is confident and a bit arrogant, mostly because he isn’t used to dealing with people and doesn’t always know how to interact with others. So Peter is kind of adorably odd and awkward, at the same time as he is strong and solid.
I really enjoyed the bear-wolf shifter clan and thought it was a nice addition to the wolves we meet in the first book. Kat really gives the bears a different feel than the wolves. You can tell they are different breed, from the way the walk and talk and behave. As hybrids they have different abilities, and with their longer lifespan they have a different perspective on things. I really enjoyed this new addition to the world Kat has created and loved the contrast between the two shifter varieties. We get to meet many members of Peter’s clan and I will say I am dying for a story between Will and Shawn.
I also want to mention this story deals with the death of an important side character and Kat really captures the sense of grief and loss so well here. It is not often that you really see characters grieving and the impact of someone’s death shown so clearly. I thought it was really well done and really made me feel for these guys and terrible danger they are in.
As much as I really loved this story, I did have a few issues. First, I think that we could have used some more background to catch us up on the story at the start of the book. As I said, this book continues the larger plot arc of the rogue hybrid-hating wolves and we sort of jump in where things left off in the first book. Given the time between my readings (as well as the time between releases), I don’t think there was quite enough set up, at least early in the story, for me to remember details about exactly what was going on. As the story continues it became clearer, but I would have liked a little more recap. I also didn’t feel I fully understood what was going on in the larger wolf world while these guys are in hiding, or even what they were exactly trying to accomplish. We actually spend most of the time with these guys at Walter’s home or with the bears, so we aren’t right in the middle of things with the wolves. But even so, more information here would have been helpful. Even the ending of the conflict was a little vaguer than I would have liked and although we get closure, I am not totally sure exactly how things were left with the bad guys.
So this is a series I am continuing to enjoy. I am not sure if Kat has more planned, but I really love this world she has created. I really loved Peter and Robin together and enjoyed getting to spend so much time with Jay and Tim as well. Given how significant Jay and Tim are to the story, as well as the connection between the two books, I’d suggest starting with Secret Chemistry before picking up this one. These are really great shifter stories and I have enjoyed the both quite a lot. I really hope there is more to come in this great series.
Cover Review: Oh, I love this cover. The Secret Chemistry cover is what got me to pick up the book in the first place, so I am so glad to see that the second one is equally as lovely.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.