wolf en gardeRating: 3.75 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

Note: This is the second book in a series that must be read in order, and as such, this review may contain mild spoilers for the previous book.

It’s been three years since Lyle’s aggression and dominance play had him shipped from home to learn control. And though Lyle says all the right things, he still truly believes that he is the better wolf, better than his father, and that Randy, his father’s partner, should be his. When on a trip with his family to visit Randy’s parents, Lyle gets to experience the city life of Washington D.C. It appeals to him, more than the small town life of Wolf, WY, and when he’s out in the city he meets Arius. The vampire spouts all the rhetoric Lyle wants to hear, and he’s intrigued by the man.

When an opportunity presents itself for Lyle to stay in D.C., he jumps at the chance. He finally feels like he’s going to be the wolf and man he is supposed to be. And though he finds Arius again, he starts to realize that the vampire is even crazier than he thought. Not to mention there’s a spot in Arius’s lair where Lyle knows he shouldn’t go, and yet he’s drawn to. When the calling gets too strong, Lyle breaks through the locked door to find a bound and gagged man.

Lyle rescues Rafe, and feels and immediate kinship with the young man. And he quickly learns just how menacing and vengeful Arius is. Lyle and Rafe need to flee for their safety, and there’s only one place they can go: home to Wolf, WY. But Lyle isn’t on the best of terms with his family, and he’s not sure his father will even believe him. But he knows he’s coming to care for Rafe, and he’ll do anything to keep the man safe. When all the events come to light, Lyle is surprised. But he knows Arius won’t let things lie, and Lyle is going to have to step up to protect Rafe and his family.

I finished this book with some mixed feelings, and I’m going to be bluntly honest about them. I picked up this book because I’d read and enjoyed the first one. I was a little iffy on reading this one because I didn’t particularly care for Lyle in the first book. And when this book started, well, I wasn’t feeling much like toward any of the characters. Lyle was a petulant brat, Randy came off as patronizing, Lyle’s father seemed resigned and irritating. Even Randy’s mother, when she appeared, just rubbed me the wrong way and really bordered on evil (which made sense later).

And while the characters weren’t endearing themselves to me, the plot wasn’t appealing too much either. The pace dragged to a crawl at times, the action almost stalling out. I wished that some scenes had been condensed or even skipped all together. While I enjoyed seeing Lyle enjoying time with the family, it didn’t do much to further the plot for me. When Arius was pontificating about his world view, the information was important but the scenes dragged. It was tough for me to fall into the story. So things got off to a rocky start for me, and I had to convince myself to push through.

But just before the halfway mark, the story really picked up and redeemed itself. It was like a switch flipped and suddenly things were moving at a much better pace. The action picked up and I was absorbed into the story, turning pages quickly to find out what happened next. And not only did the story line become more interesting and plot propel the pacing, but Lyle became so much more than he started out.

I have to admit, I had worries that he would ever redeem himself in a way I could believe. In the first book, he was kind of irritating and ridiculous. And the way he started this book had me questioning if I’d ever like him. But oh, he grew by leaps and bounds, found himself, and really became a good and decent person. And when he did, I fell a little bit in love with him. It’s quite a credit to the author that a character I disliked so much would eventually worm his way into my heart.

The romance was not always at the forefront of the storyline, but that too had a bigger role in the second half of the book. Lyle doesn’t meet Rafe until about the midpoint, and then way he’s drawn to the man adds an allure to the story I found I really enjoyed. We don’t get to know Rafe as well, but what we do know works well for the story. It’s easy to see how these two men fit together, and I liked watching their feelings blossom. I liked, too, that they admitted the way they were drawn together, and alluded to what they could become. But there were no huge declarations, and that absolutely fit for the story.

So I definitely had some trouble with this one, and it took me a long while to get truly into the story. But once I did, I was all in. The second half of the story really makes up for the lagging first half, and by the end I truly enjoyed Lyle. His romance with Rafe was gratifying to see, and the whole ending was really well done. I can recommend this to anyone who wants to know what happens next to these characters. And cautiously recommend the series to anyone looking for a slightly different twist on shifters.

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