With Mercer after the Winsford pack, Quinn knows their home is no longer safe. Faced with few options, Quinn decides to take them to Winterhaven, home of his former pack. Things were not good for Quinn or Graham when they lived there, but Apollo is a strong alpha and he has a large pack with big walls around their land. So while it may not be ideal, at least Quinn and his pack will be safe.
The situation at Winterhaven is worse than they expected, however. Apollo is incredibly controlling and barely allows his people any freedom. He wants to control Quinn and his pack as well, and it is all Quinn can do to stand up to him without ruining their chances for a safe place to stay. In the meantime, Quinn and Rowan are focused on learning all they can about Mercer, the drugs that Rowan’s father was giving him, and Mercer’s ultimate plan. It is not easy, as human authorities won’t take the concerns of shifters seriously, every lead they have seems to fall apart, and Mercer and his beastly shifters are a constant threat.
The bond between Quinn and Rowan continues to grow, and the men are becoming true partner and mates. But they are facing near impossible odds, between the growing problems at Winterhaven and the increasing threats from Mercer. Fortunately, the men have a strong bond and a pack who is committed to one another. It is going to take all they have to protect those they care about from danger and get themselves, and the Winsford pack, out of this situation alive.
Of Betrayal and Monsters is the second book in Alice Winters’ excellent Winsford Shifters series. The first two books very much tie together, both in the world building and in Quinn and Rowan’s developing relationship, so you are best off reading these in order. This story picks up almost immediately after the end of Of Secrets and Wolves as Quinn and Rowan travel with their pack to Winterhaven. It is clear right from the start that things are not ok at Winterhaven, and Quinn must walk a careful line between standing up for himself and his pack, and not angering Apollo to the point that the alpha won’t give them safe haven. At the same time they are dealing with problems at home, Quinn and Rowan are also digging more into Mercer and his pack and dealing with the increasing threats they bring. It pulls Quinn in two directions, as he can’t be in Winterhaven protecting his pack from Apollo at the same time he is out investigating Mercer. And of course, every time they think they are making progress, another roadblock appears. This is a twisty story and a lot of things we think we know at the start begin to take different turns. Winters does a really nice job here setting up this dynamic and slowly letting it all unfold. I don’t think this book is quite as high octane as Of Secrets and Wolves, but it is still suspenseful and really well developed.
On the personal side, things really fall into place here for Quinn and Rowan. In the first book, both men were figuring out how to make things work, particularly Rowan, who was just coming to really accept his shifter side. But here they are all in and it is clear that they are committed to one another. So this story really brings them to a good place. We also see Rowan dealing with the fallout of finding out that his brother is part of Mercer’s pack. We learn more about Rowan’s past, and it is even worse than it seemed at first. He wants so badly to reconnect with his brother, but it is unclear if Brennan is too far gone and past saving after Mercer’s physical and emotional manipulation. The side characters are well drawn here and I continue to find Ari totally adorable. I also love seeing Emery coming out of his shell and really fitting into the pack. There is a lot of fun snark here, and whenever there are two or more of the Winsford pack together, things all seem to devolve into chaos in the best ways. Winters does a nice job balancing the intensity with the humor here and I just love the scenes of them all interacting.
The third book in this series looks to be coming out later this summer, with a novella in between. Winters sets things up so well for the upcoming books and I am really excited to see how this journey ties up for the Winsford shifters.