Felix Cotter is on the trail of a thief. As an insurance investigator, he has been put in charge of figuring out what is going on with a series of thefts from high profile clients whose safes are being broken into. At every scene, Felix smells the same scent. Felix is also a feline shifter, though he appears to be a mixed breed, and his nose is exceptional. Whatever man is committing these crimes, his scent calls to Felix, though Felix isn’t sure why. After piecing together some additional clues, Felix has some suspects and he sets up a trap to lure in the thief. He’s there when the thief breaks in, and is surprised that it’s his least likely suspect, Tyler Panterone.
Tyler is also a shifter, a white panther, and the surprise of finding Felix causes him to partially shift. The two men have a battle for dominance, which Felix wins, and Tyler admits he finds himself drawn to Felix as well. The truth quickly comes out about why Tyler is committing these crimes, and Felix is determined to help Tyler get free as well as solve the crime. Together they put together the remaining clues, find the mastermind behind the scheme, and in the process they grow closer. But Tyler has a lot of reason to fear trusting another person. Felix can only do so much to win Tyler over. That’s not the only thing standing in their way, however, and these two men have to figure out if they can overcome the obstacles in order to be together forever.
Okay, so, I’m just going to start off by saying that the blurb and premise drew me in, but the book itself fell short on just about every aspect. It seemed the author took a lot of plot points, threw them on the page one after another, and didn’t take time to develop the characters or the plot to go along with it. I found myself waiting for this book to be done so that I could step away from it.
The problems start right at the very beginning, with a prologue from a young Felix’s point of view that illustrates that he’s a shifter, that he’s lost, how he meets Ben, and how Ben takes him in. From the very beginning, this seemed incredibly unlikely to me, as Felix is shifts from cat beast to human in front of Ben, and Ben takes it all in stride and, in fact, names Felix and takes him in. I was willing to roll with it though, until the first pages of the first chapter tell us again what we just read a minute ago. I was there for the prologue, I saw it happen, I didn’t need the reminder. And this was just the first instance where repetition got irritating. But I would have been willing to let that go and chalk it up to author’s style, if the rest of the story had merit.
I liked Felix. He was an incredibly likeable guy. Big heart, good at his job, wanting to stop the crimes that were being committed. But he ultimately didn’t have much depth. And as the course of the story progressed, I found myself having some trouble with his thoughts and actions. He’s an insurance investigator, and I could buy that he was the one piecing together the clues. But when it came time to set up a sting operation, and he not only had exactly the right contacts, but did it himself without police involvement? Yeah, that was going too far outside the realm of realism for me, and that yanked me out of the story time and again.
We don’t get to know Tyler nearly as well. The story is told from Felix’s first person POV, so everything is colored by his perspective. But I thought Tyler was a sweet guy. But again, I had trouble as the story went on. I would have forgiven his info dump of information upon our first meeting, simply because of the stress he was under and because of the way he was drawn to Felix. But he, too, had no real depth to speak of. And he and Felix certainly didn’t have any chemistry together. They were supposed to be fated mates with this insane need for one another, but I just didn’t feel it at all. There was no spark, barely a connection, and their interactions felt flat and colorless. I didn’t believe them as mates. And moreover, I didn’t think they had enough of a foundation, or a strong enough pull to last forever.
I could go on. I could point out how Felix finds out an upsetting secret about Ben, and then it’s dropped for a good long while, before it’s suddenly picked up again. I could mention how both Felix and Tyler immediately start calling each other by endearments, and I’m talking a whole host of different nicknames, and the sheer ever changing number and how quickly it happens makes it feels disingenuous, though this is a personal peeve of mine. I could even point out how the epilogue was completely and totally unbelievable, left me with more questions, and what little there was to try and tie it to the theme of the rest of the book was just not enough to save it for me.
Instead, I’ll just end with saying that this book missed the mark completely for me. While there were a couple of good moments, they were few and far between, and not enough to make up for all the story was lacking.