Three days. Three dead bodies. One newly turned, broken-hearted lycan tracker to figure out the connection.
The one summer Rick Barton takes a vacation, all hell breaks loose. Running from an abusive relationship leads him into the arms of hard-nosed lycan Travis Chandler, who gives him little choice but to become a lycan too and join the Paranormal Bureau of Investigation. Out of options, Rick joins the weird organization, expecting some two weeks of training and an adjustment period. Tough luck, he doesn’t get either. On his first day, his new partner offers to promote him to field agent if they get mated – less time wasted on training, more time on the field, and considering Rick is the only tracker the Bureau has on hand when a wave of strange murders hits the community, time is of the essence.
Someone’s killing the leaders of the paranormal world and mutilating the bodies. Investigating and tracking clues is enough of a challenge, and Rick must contend with an impatient Council, Travis’s advances, and actually adjusting to being a lycan. Only one thing is certain: Rick’s new life promises plenty of interesting adventures—as long as he can survive.
Rick leaves an amazingly abusive, and long-term relationship which also equates into him leaving his job because his boss was his boyfriend. He goes on vacation where he falls in instant lust with a guy at the beach, Travis. But this guy is no mere “boy of summer”, he is actually a werewolf on the prowl for a new “partner”.
Travis ends up biting Rick, which starts Rick’s transformation process into a werewolf. Rick is given two choices: complete the transformation with a second bite and become a werewolf who is subject to the Alpha orders of Travis and become his partner on the Paranormal Bureau of Investigation or take some serum which will stop the transformation but leave you permanently in pain and less likely to live your full life-span.
Duh. Rick takes door number one, and becomes Travis’ partner in solving paranormal crimes, despite his anger at being forced into this decision and his reluctance to have to obey this stranger in all things.
It gets worse. Travis is kind of an asshole. He is brusque, rude, demanding, sarcastic and bossy. There are times he abuses his “Alpha” voice to get what he wants, even though the results push Rick farther away.
To add insult to injury, Travis’ boss and his mate are psychopaths with a political agenda that no one knows about which ends up placing both Rick and Travis in harm’s way.
Oh yeah. He has to resist being around Travis for two weeks or the pheromones released between a turned werewolf and his Alpha will push them into a mating that transcends work partners and makes them permanent life partners as well.
Well – he doesn’t resist and ends up mating Travis, against his better judgment, and now Travis has even more power over him. Peachy.
The two end up embroiled in solving a crime spree that spans species and ends up involving people high up on the command of the PBI. Now their lives are in danger and they haven’t even admitted that they might love each other!
Not to mention, Rick is haunted by his role as victim and can’t get past the fact that his present feels distressingly similar.
In the end, they solve the mystery, figure out they mean more to each other than work “partners” and we get a HEA, however shaky.
There were parts of this book I absolutely loved. I thought Travis was a uniquely flawed werewolf who, given enough time, could really evolve into a guy we might all love. I thought Rick did a great job of trying to sift through his experiences as a victim of domestic violence and differentiate that from what goes on in a werewolf relationship where everything is controlled by pheromones and animal impulses.
The “mystery” was fairly straight-forward, but interesting and compelling and I enjoyed the CSI tools the pair used to get at the truth. I loved the troll in the morgue, she was great!
I liked the world-building, it was interesting, unique and has a lot of potential.
I didn’t always like the writing. It was disjointed at times and I had to read several passages multiple times to figure out what was being said. It could have used some editing with simple punctuation and sentence structure to make it easier to read, and more flowing.
I also never liked the relationship between Travis and Rick. It had the roots of a relationship that might work – one day – but it didn’t get there by the end of the book. Maybe it wasn’t supposed to and there is a sequel, but if not, I didn’t quite buy their “love”.
I really, really hated the “take the transformation or lead a horrible life” choice Rick was given. Yes, that was part of the mystery, part of what they fought against, but it was never resolved for me. Never justified in any way as being ok. I wanted Travis to at least have a damn good reason for taking away RICK’S ENTIRE LIFE with that first bite. Even “I think you’re hot and might make me a good Mate one day” would have been something! As it was, I saw Travis as another abuser that Rick fell victim to and we never saw him regain his own power. It felt like the same abuse, different guy.
Another thing that bugged me, though minor, Rick never gets to be a dang werewolf. We don’t ever get to see him transform, not once! Sure he uses his super sniffer all the time, but never once does he get furry. I wanted to see that. **sigh**
All in all I enjoyed the book, read it quickly because it kept my interest, and I really rooted for Travis and Rick as a couple. But…I was kinda disappointed by the weak ending in that Rick gives up a lot, Travis gives up absolutely nothing, and though they love one another it isn’t ooey gooey at all. I still felt like Rick was more or less “compelled” to love Travis and Travis never did explain why he chose Rick or convince us that he felt more for Rick than what the pheromones made him feel. I just didn’t feel like we got to the point where finding true love makes up for all the bad stuff our hero goes through.
So I give it a 3.5 of 5 hearts, it’s worth a read, but I didn’t love it.