When lion shifter Shane and his tight-knit team of Marines, who are also all shifters, unexpectedly win the lottery, they know they can finally make their dreams come true. Healing from their war wounds, they are ready to leave the rehab hospital and begin their lives outside of the Corps. They intend to buy a ghost town and build it up, and since they are now multi-millionaires, that will be easy to do. They decide to hire a personal assistant, and when Lucky shows up, though Shane is put off by the man’s dyed orange hair, he wants to hire Lucky for the position.
Lucky is a misnomer, and he’s certainly down on his luck. He’s desperate for a job that he can keep for longer than two weeks, and with his funds down to just a few bucks, he’s really hoping the job with Team Paladin works out. Of course, his insane attraction to Shane makes things seemingly complicated. And then there’s the fact that his empathic nature is showing him that Shane is dual-souled…even if he doesn’t understand what that means. But it’s not long before Shane explains that Lucky is his mate, and that they are meant to be together forever. From there, they start making plans, for the team and for their future.
Um. So okay. I find myself in a really weird spot with this book. It started out pretty good, and then sort of…devolved as the story went along. There were a few inexcusable typos, and Lucky’s last name inexplicably changes. What started out as promising, though kind of formulaic, lapsed into a plot without details to back it up. I think that if it had been longer, if a few of the chapters in the latter half had been more fleshed out, I would have be more inclined to enjoy it. And yet, even though I had some fairly big problems with the story, I still liked it well enough and would even consider reading more in the series.
Lucky is a sweetheart, he really is. He’s had some crap luck though, and let his snarky mouth get away with him, so he’s in a pretty rough spot. The job with Team Paladin is a lifeline, and once he’s sure it feels right, he jumps right on it. I found Lucky a little inconsistent, but mostly adorable and likable. His empathic abilities were a big deal in the beginning of the story and then then were kind of dropped. He was very accepting of Shane and his shifter ability, but I think that actually made sense given what Lucky himself could sense. So yeah, he was delightful in a lot of ways, and what was a bit off was easily forgivable.
Shane was rather predictable, but since I like gruff, in-charge, alpha characters, he totally fit the bill for me. He’s what the team needs in a leader, and what Lucky needs in a mate. Lucky is, for the matter, what Shane needs as well. They fit together well, and though I didn’t think their chemistry was off the charts, they definitely had a spark. What I liked most about Shane was that he had a master plan, he would stop at nothing to take care of those he considered his, and that alone endeared himself to me.
But I had a serious problem with the world building, as I basically didn’t know anything that was going on. Okay, so shifters are a secret. I got that. Everything else though? What happened to the team to get them a decorated discharge, but landed them in a rehab hospital nursing some pretty bad wounds? How is it that Shane doesn’t seem to have any aftereffects from serving? Do any of them? What the heck is up with Lucky’s siblings? I could go on about the unanswered questions that cropped up for me. And I will allow that some of them may be answered as the series progresses. But this story almost felt like there was too much required to take on faith, and that was problematic.
But again, ultimately, I liked it well enough. I wasn’t surprised by the very last bit of the story being a set up for the next one. I assume that there are going to be seven books in the series, as there are seven men on Team Paladin, though it’s possible two of them are already involved with each other. And I’m willing to give this author and this series the benefit of the doubt and pick up the next one to see where it goes. I’m going to qualify this recommendation by saying only those of you who are hardcore lovers of fated mates and instalove are going to want to pick this one up.