Colin has always felt abandoned and unwanted. His mother left him and his brother when they were kids, and his father made it very clear that he had no interest in Colin. Now, Colin is part of the San Andreas Pack, along with his brother, Kevin. Colin loves being part of the pack, but as a small wolf and a geeky human, he still isn’t quite sure he fits in. Colin finds himself drawn to Judd, the gorgeous pack enforcer, but he knows that Judd is too strong and confident to ever be really interested in a guy like Colin.
Judd is an old wolf and has been a part of many packs, but he has finally found a home with the San Andreas pack. All he needs now is someone to share his love. Judd would like that to be Colin, as he has long been attracted to the small, redheaded man. But Judd also thinks that Colin is better off with someone younger and less gruff than Judd. However, when Colin seems ready to do some sexual exploration, and Kevin gives his blessing, Judd figures a little time with the young wolf is better than nothing.
While things with Judd and Colin are going well, life around them is in chaos. Colin’s friend, Trick, is caught up with some dangerous selkie mobsters, and Colin and the pack are doing everything they can to help him. Colin and Kevin’s mom also appears back in their lives, stirring up trouble wherever she goes. And on top of that, the Feds are involved. Now, Judd and Colin have to make their way through the complications surrounding their pack, while still figuring out if there is a way two very different men can make it work together.
The Enforcer Enigma is the third novel in the San Andreas Shifter series. From a plot standpoint, this story stands alone just fine and you can start here. But this is a very pack-driven series and the various characters all show up in each other’s stories, so you will miss knowing their backstories if you haven’t read the earlier books. Like the other stories, this book has a playful, occasionally silly sense of humor (e.g. they use “Instalamb” to post pictures and shifters get red their “Panda rights” instead of Miranda rights). The books tend to be a blend of romance with some often intense moments, combined with the humor. I find the style entertaining, and this book doesn’t have quite the silliness of some of them, but I think the sense of humor has to be a fit for you to really enjoy these books.
The romantic conflict here centers around Colin and Judd both wanting each other, but thinking they aren’t good enough for the other. It isn’t really my favorite plot device, as I often find myself frustrated at the lack of communication. So there were times I really wanted to see these guys just be honest about their feelings and talk to each other. You also have to get past the kind of squicky idea that Kevin tells Judd to go off and have sex with his younger brother to teach him some things before he starts dating for real. I am not super fond of the pimping, but we do know Judd deeply wants Colin, and Colin overhears the conversation so he is aware of (and totally into) what is happening. Once you get past the set up, I liked these guys together a lot. It is mostly Colin’s journey here as he has many reasons he feels self doubt. He sort of keeps himself small, trying to avoid attention and not ever really feeling a part of things. I loved the way as his relationship develops with Judd, Colin gains confidence in himself. He learns to express himself, stand up for himself, and really join in with others. So this is an enjoyable romantic arc and it is satisfying to see both men find their happiness.
I found the romance to get a little bit buried along the other side plots here, though, and the book feels a little long through the middle. The side stories end up all tying up nicely, and it is fun to see some of the usual suspects from law enforcement show up here. I loved Trick, the barista the pack ends up protecting, and it looks like his story is up next. But I do think that some of the storyline involving Colin and Kevin’s mom dragged somewhat and could have been tightened up.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story and find this a fun series. Carriger creates some really fun world building and I enjoy the found family aspect of the series. I am looking forward to the next installment.