Kenai is the Watcher for the Northwest Region, and as such, it’s his duty to step in and help shifters resolve disputes. He was born to do the job, and he has no choice in the matter. But Kenai is also only 19 years old and wishes he could have a life of his own instead of always listening to and resolving other shifters’ problems. He thinks he can never have any kind of relationship with anyone else. When Kenai spots bear shifter Derek, he decides to take a chance and meet the man. But his enthusiasm causes Derek to put Kenai in his place, and Kenai runs thinking he’s being a nuisance.
Derek follows him, though, and invites Kenai to go with him to the salmon pools. Kenai doesn’t know that a large part of the meet up at the pools is about sex, but he wants to experience that with Derek, despite being a virgin. When he tells Derek that there can only be sex between them and nothing more, Derek thinks it’s because he’s a bear and Kenai is a mountain lion. But when Derek finds out that Kenai is a Watcher, he’s not quite sure what to do with the information. And Kenai knows Watchers aren’t supposed to have relationships with anyone. The growing connection will all be for nothing, if these two men can’t figure out to make things work.
I really liked the premise of this story and I was engaged and invested throughout it’s short length. But I had a few issues with it as well, so I find myself a little on the fence while writing this review. There were a couple of moments that worked really well, and I enjoyed the characters. But for once I think that the length worked against this story, and I think it would have been better for some of the key moments to be fleshed out and developed more.
Kenai is adorable, and I really felt for his plight. This was a young guy who has a destiny he can’t escape. He doesn’t have a choice, so he doesn’t ever really get to be his own person. I liked that he both embraced his life, and also had some problems with it. This felt real and believable. But I did have an issue with his sometimes naiveté. It seemed inconsistent, actually. He should have been naïve about more things, or about less. But the things that he didn’t know weren’t in keeping with the things he did, and it felt a little bit too contrived to me. And while we’re on the subject of characters, I wanted to get to know Derek more. What we did see was nice, but at times he reads very two dimensional, and that hindered things for me a bit.
And that’s what I can say about the romance aspect of it as well. There were really nice moments, but sometimes it fell flat and felt underdeveloped. I wanted to feel more of their connection and really understand why these guys were willing to break all the rules to be together. As it was, it felt a little bit like they were ending up together simply because that is what was supposed to happen. The moments that were there were lovely, but I wanted more.
So yeah, I guess that’s how I feel about the book in its entirety. What was there was really nice and enjoyable, but it felt to me like some things were missing and I wanted more. This is the first of a series, and definitely has potential. I will most likely be checking out the next books to see where the authors take the series next. And I can recommend this to any true fans of shifters and mates, as well as anyone looking for a quick read with a slightly different twist on the same old story.