Lukas Vance found a list of town names left on his car and, as he visits the first two, he discovers a murdered 19-year old who smells like pack at each one. Lukas knows these kids are not pack members, as they smell similar but not identical. But as Lukas heads to Hunter’s Rock, the third town on the list, he is determined this time to get there before anyone else is killed.
When Lukas arrives, it doesn’t take him long to catch the scent of Chris Keenan, another 19-year-old student. Fortunately, Chris is still alive and Lukas is determined to protect him. But of course getting Chris to understand why Lukas is there and what is really going on isn’t easy, even with an instant attraction between them. Chris isn’t willing to blindly follow Lukas’ lead, and so Lukas tells Chris all he knows, which unfortunately isn’t much. He is unclear who wants to kill these people, how they are connected, or why they smell similar to pack. But Lukas is not willing to let anything happen to Chris, and so along with Lukas’ brother Griffin, and Chris’ best friend Albert, the four set off for the next town on the list.
There they meet Tad and Jules and the group begins the process of trying to figure out what is going on and how they are all connected. Slowly the pieces start to come together, but they still have more questions than answers. And the danger keeps growing as the threats to their lives continue. As the group struggles to understand what is going on, they begin to form a bond, a pack among themselves. And the connection between Chris and Lukas is growing stronger as well, as the men fall for on another in the midst of the crisis. But even once they solve the mystery of what is happening and why, the threat to their lives continues. Now the new pack must fight with everything they have to defeat the man who seeks to kill them, and to make out it alive and together.
Shift is a story that grabbed me right from the beginning and kept me engrossed throughout the entire book, eager to solve the mystery of who is threatening these shifters and why. It got to the point where I had to force myself not to pick it up at times, as I had no self control and would keep on reading long past when I had other things that needed to get done. This is the first book I have read by Shelley Grayson, and I was so excited to find a new author and series that I enjoyed so much.
What I really loved the most is how this is kind of a non-traditional paranormal. There are definitely strong paranormal elements going on here, with two werewolves and three shifters of some type among the group. But this isn’t a fated mates, alpha/pack kind of story. The blurb describes it as an “urban fantasy, ensemble cast adventure” and I would say that is a great way to put it. Despite being about shifters, the book has a more mystery/suspense type feel as figuring out what is going on and who is behind it is the real focus of the story. And I was totally drawn in to this one. Grayson does a wonderful job of laying out information at just the right pace that we slowly begin to put the pieces together along with our gang. I will say that I caught the kernel of what was going on fairly early on in the story, but I had no idea how it would come together or what was actually happening until it was revealed in the book. The way the pieces come into place is just fascinating, and Grayson keeps the tension high as they are fighting for their lives against an unknown enemy.
Along with the suspense end, this is definitely an ensemble story and I loved that. These people come together as basically strangers who share this common crisis, and over the course of the book, they become a family, willing to fight and die for one another. The book takes place only over a handful of days, but I had no problem believing the connections among the group, or the romance between Chris and Lukas. There is kind of a road trip feel here since they are together in a car for quite a bit of the story as they go back and forth between the towns, and we get that fast connection that can come from forced proximity. I loved these guys all together, as they banter and tease and poke a bit at one another. It adds some nice humor and lightness to a high-intensity book, and it shows how much this group has grown to care about one another.
The romance between Chris and Lukas is laid on top of all of this, and is definitely not the main focus of the story, but still quite strong. The most important thing for them is to solve the mystery of who they are and what is happening, so their attention is understandably on keeping safe and resolving the crisis. But the connection between these men is evident right from the start, and the tension and chemistry is very strong. Again, this book takes place over only a few days, but I had no problem accepting the feelings that grow between Lukas and Chris in that time. Grayson does a wonderful job showing the growing connection and making it feel very real. Even as the secondary plot, the romance is intense, sexy, and warm.
Even as the main crisis is resolved here, doors open at the end of the book for the continuation of the series. I must say, I am SO excited to see where Grayson takes things. The resolution here is very satisfying, but knowing there is more for these guys totally thrills me because I just loved this story. After seeing the clever, creative way this first book builds, I am eager to follow along where the series takes us. So I enjoyed Shift quite a lot and would definitely recommend it, especially for those that like suspense and urban fantasy, and are looking for a different spin on a shifter story.