About 100 years ago, Lance was on a dig for dinosaur bones when a group of bandits attacked. Lance shot one of the bandits seeking to steal the bones, but immediately felt terrible and did all he could to nurse the man back to health. Lance felt a connection with the bandit, but never expected to see him again. Now, Lance is in China attempting to buy a rare baby dinosaur trapped in amber to further his scientific research. He has been sent by his team to make the buy and is determined to bring the amber back safely. Lance also has a secret. He is one of a small group of dinosaur shifters, creatures who lived long ago as dinosaurs and, after hibernating millions of years, have awakened as shifters.
Yu is a member of RELIC, a team of fossil hunters seeking to preserve history and keep dinosaur bones safe so they can be viewed and studied. RELIC also happens to be secretly made up of dinosaur shifters as well. Yu and his team have heard that there is a rare amber fossil going on the black market and they are determined to get it before it falls into the wrong hands, even if they have to steal it. Yu has done similar jobs many times before, but he doesn’t expect this time to come face to face with the man who shot him in the desert a century ago.
Lance and Yu find themselves immediately at odds as both men need to be the one to claim the fossil. But that doesn’t stop an attraction from flaring between them and a reigniting of that connection they made so many years ago. Especially when they feel the kinship of both being rare dinosaur shifters. But the men are not the only ones seeking the fossil, and when some gangsters join the hunt, Lance and Yu realize that their only chance is teaming up. But even if they can get their hands on the fossil without being killed in the process, the men then have to decide which one of them gets to keep the prize. Not to mention how they can have a future together when their lives are so far apart.
Lost in Amber is the fourth book in the RELIC series and I find these books so much fun. The focus is on the RELIC team, a group of dinosaur shifters who seek to protect the bones and fossils from falling into the wrong hands. Each book features a new couple, but this story does tie in with King and Queen in that Lance is part of the other fossil hunting group we learn about there and we get some more answers as to what they are seeking. So being familiar with that book would be a help here, but not strictly necessary.
I like the way this series follows this same group of men, but gives us new shifters and a new setting for each book to keep things interesting. In this case, we are in Shanghai and Maddox brings the city to life as Lance and Yu spend their time exploring, chasing each other, and evading bad guys. The two of them start pitted against each other, each vying for the fossil, but ultimately have to team up against the gang who is trying to steal the fossil out from both of them. It turns the enemies to lovers element into nice teamwork and gives the men a chance to explore their relationship as they work together. The story is fun and exciting and I loved the side character we meet who is a thief and shifter as well. I also loved how the book ties back to King and Queen and puts some pieces together about the rival shifter group and what they are after.
I enjoyed Lance and Yu together and they make for a sweet couple. Each man is kind of lonely, particularly given their long lives, and so it is rewarding to see them find their way together. The emotions between them come pretty fast given the timeline. Even accounting for the fact they met briefly 100 years before, it is hard to see how they fall quite so fast (especially since Yu was unconscious during most of their past interaction). But I could mostly go with it, particularly given the light tone of the book, and there is just a great sweetness between them that I enjoyed.
We don’t get quite as much time here with the rest of the RELIC gang as we have in some of the other books, but I enjoy reconnecting with this crew. I am really hoping for Montana’s story soon, and we get a hint of who his love interest might be, so I am excited to see how that plays out. If you like fun, creative shifter stories, this series is definitely worth checking out.