Theodore Kodiak (that’s correct, his name can be translated to Teddy Bear) is a wildlife photographer looking for the next great photo op. He’s constantly on the move looking for what will elevate his career. He doesn’t have time for a relationship, but hot bodies to warm his bed are no problem at all. Teddy has won a few awards and his work is in demand, but he’s got his eye on the most prestigious photography award and he feels Dr. James Marian, wildlife expert, is the key. Jamie, however, is not interested at all in being the star attraction of a photo shoot and turns down Teddy’s inquiries repeatedly. So what’s a photographer to do? Well, fly to Denali, Alaska unannounced of course.
Jamie always thought he would settle down with the right man. He thought he found that man until he was left at the altar. So now Jamie states that he will never, ever fall in love again. The gorgeous photographer would be perfect for some spontaneous fun, but Jamie can’t get past the sheer nerve of the man. However, the men heat up the frozen wilderness and as soon as this assignment is over, Teddy will be back on a plane. Works for both of them–right? Teddy isn’t interested in settling down and Jamie’s not ready to be left out in the cold once again. If only their hearts would get the same message.
The first thing you should know about this book is that Jamie and Teddy have highly entertaining and well-timed banter that makes for many winning scenes. That is also coupled with chemistry from the first moment they see each other. When Jamie first sees Teddy his thoughts are, “As I peered in, the door opened and out stepped my fucking libido.” So Jamie and Teddy get off to a fairly rocky start. Teddy is convinced that photographing Jamie in his natural habitat with wild animals will give him the exact photo he is looking for. There are reasons that Jamie is not on board and the men have several text chats before they even meet and Jamie is not a fan of Teddy at all.
Their initial scene is all kinds of amusing, between the dialogue and the visuals with which Lennox sets the scene. Their attraction is immediate, even though they antagonize each other and they have no issue acting on it right away as well. Yet, Teddy shows up unannounced and, man, is he pushy. He goes above Jamie’s head to get what he wants and after a great opening, my image of Teddy was then altered almost as quickly. But the men connect quickly and the story had a great pace for me until shortly after that the men were separated.
From then, until almost the half way point of the book, their relationship is developed through phone calls and texts. Now, given the background of each character, it was appropriate, but it did slow the momentum the book had already built way down for me. Jamie is trying to recover from being left at the altar and Teddy’s background and career leaves him feeling he can’t ever truly settle down. But their relationship is insulated as all of the time they spend together they are isolated and then huge life changes are offered up. I would have liked to have seen them some more as a couple and the ending did have a predictable cadence for me.
The setting of Denali is amazing, especially if you like animals. Jamie’s work is depicted in a vibrant manner, with several animal species mentioned and a view of the landscape that offered unique and engaging scenes. Although with the blizzard-like conditions, it’s never mentioned that anything gets cleared before letting the dog out and I just kept wondering about that.
Being part of the Made Marian series, this book wouldn’t have been complete without a visit with the Marian family themselves, along with a special cameo from Blue and Tristan from book one. It was hard not to compare one couple to the other and just seeing Blue and Tristan for a moment did make me realize that Jamie and Teddy’s chemistry wasn’t quite as explosive. While Taming Teddy can be mostly read as a standalone, I did enjoy the connection made back to the first book. Jude’s book is up next, and we do get a glimpse again of him here and for as close as the family is and the concern they have for him, it did seem out of character that nobody asked him what was really up, especially as he’s not being overly discreet, but I will leave that to the next book. Lennox continues to offer great characters with chemistry and while some of the side plots hinder the focal point for me, she continues to leave me ready for more of the Marian men.