For people who have not read the previous stories, the series centers around the Bennett pack of werewolves in Green Creek, Oregon. They draw strong magical power from the land and have always been some of the most powerful of the North American shifter packs. Alpha Joe Bennett should be Alpha of all, but his father relinquished the title to Alpha Michelle Hughes in order to return his pack to the Bennett lands after Joe was kidnapped and tortured as a child. Alpha of all generally lives in Caswell, Maine, which is where Alpha Hughes resides. The previous two books saw Joe Bennett and Mark Bennett making their fated matches and fighting off magical and human attacks on Green Creek. Some of these attacks have been specifically sanctioned by Alpha Hughes, who wants to maintain her power, and because she believes the Bennetts are a lawless pack that needs to be eradicated before they turn feral. Among the issues between them is the disposition of omega wolves—packless, mindless hunters of humans. The Green Creek wolves have learned how to tame the omegas, but Alpha Hughes wants them all wiped out.
In this story, we begin with Robbie Fontaine, the second to Alpha Hughes, who is struggling with dreams and hallucinations. Robbie currently lives in Caswell, sharing a home with Alpha Hughes’ aging witch, Ezra. Robbie senses something is wrong in his world, but he fears it’s his lack of community—he has few ties to the Hughes pack, mainly only Ezra and some of the cubs. If Robbie loses his tether to Ezra, he is at risk of turning omega, and being hunted and killed by his pack.
In service to Alpha Hughes, Robbie and Ezra check out a small Virginia-based pack that has recently stopped communicating with Alpha Hughes. Robbie learns of tame omegas during the visit, and that pack’s alpha offers him aid for when he is ready. But Robbie has no idea what he is supposed to be ready for.
Readers of the series know that Robbie left Alpha Hughes’ pack voluntarily several years ago—while observing the Bennetts for Alpha Hughes. Robbie falls not only for the close-knit family headed by Alphas Joe and Ox, but especially for Kelly Bennett, Joe’s beta wolf brother. Their romance is sweet and tender, and they build a loving life together aiding the pack and helping place tamed omegas. But things are not the same for Robbie now and he finds himself struggling to rebuild pack bonds with the Bennetts.
There’s a lot of bad blood involved here—and deep magic. Kelly and the entire pack have been traumatized and harm has come to more than one of them and their pack is not as strong as it should be for many reasons. But the pack is determined to rebuild and this time, they might just do things better than before.
This is a bittersweet read—like the previous two books—because we all know that Robbie is a good man at heart and his deep desire to have a place where he truly belongs is palpable. His youth was scarred by loss and being forced to drift, Robbie didn’t really feel at ease anywhere before the Bennetts and his situation enhanced my sympathy for his situation. Three-quarters of the book is reestablishing trust between all parties and it’s the second half where Kelly and Robbie are both working together to figure out how to navigate their lives—separately, or together. Kelly is stalwart in the face of great emotional challenges. His love and his life have changed dramatically for the worse in the past 16 months, yet, he’s not willing to let go of the deep love he has with Robbie. Unfortunately, Robbie has outside forces that wish to keep him away from the Bennetts permanently.
When the battle lines are drawn, Robbie’s recent intimate knowledge of the Caswell compound makes him a strategic asset to the Bennett pack. His experience could be key to stopping the slaughter of dozens of omega-harboring packs across the US. However, the Bennett battle charge will only work if they can repair the rift within their pack. In the process of repairing their pack bonds, Robbie’s luck may change regarding his mate bonds with Kelly, and maybe even with himself and he knows he needs Kelly by his side.
In terms of the romance, this book ends up an HEA. In terms of the series, we have one more book to go until all the scores are settled and the Bennetts can live their unconventional lives in relative peace and uncompromised love. There was a sneak peek into the fourth book in this series, which will feature Carter, the final Bennett brother, on his quest to find his true mate. Oh, and a showdown to end all others that will likely bring far more bloodshed than I want because if another character I love gets killed, I might be cranky for the next six full moons. Just saying…