Author: Katie Reus
Release Date: April 1, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Nocturnal Cravings
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Novella
Book Source: Author
About the book:
After two years in a war zone, werewolf Felicia Serna has finally returned to find another pack has taken over her territory…and the new second-in-command is the very man who haunts her fantasies.
Alaric has wanted Felicia from the moment he laid eyes on her, and now he’s ready to claim her. When a threatening shifter begins stalking them, he’s determined to protect her…even if it means putting his seduction on hold. But even in the heat of danger, their red-hot passion cannot be denied.
What I’m talking about:
Felicia is a wolf shifter that was betrayed and hurt by her own pack. She fled overseas to use her nursing skills in a war zone. After her service is up, she sneaks back home, hoping to make a quiet life for herself. Alaric, second command of Felicia’s new pack, has lusted after Felicia for years – always keeping a distance since she was too young to commit to the mating call. (We meet Alaric in the first book, Destined Mate.) Knowing that he cannot live without Felicia, he picks her up at the airport, and the pair come under attack.
This second novella in Ms. Reus’s unnamed shifter series starts of with a bang and keeps going. Without the need of much world-building (although you don’t need to read first novella), Protector’s Mate jumps right into the romance between Alaric and Felicia. We learn about the current situation and the characters’ pasts organically – either through scene building or since we are privy to both Alaric and Felicia’s point-of-view, we get insight into their pasts via internal thought process. The story flows smoothly, which is critical for a novella-length story.
Basically they both lust for the other. I love that Alaric has known from the moment he met Felicia that she was his mate, but he held off claiming her or bringing her to his pack because of her age (19). He didn’t trust himself not to claim her, so gave her space. So swoon-worthy. I was instantly invested in the couple and enjoyed reading how they let go of their pasts to move forward together.
The couple comes together so perfectly. Their first kiss is equal parts steamy, sweet and romantic. And the smex is hot! Both characters are strong yet vulnerable. Felicia has been mentally and emotionally broken by her former pack and leader. Yet she gives herself an attitude “adjustment” as Alaric makes his advances on her. She went from “why would anyone want me” to “not sure why, but he does want me so I am going to open up and enjoy it.” That never seems to happen in romances – and I admire the strength and fortitude Felicia demonstrates time and time again throughout the story.
Other than the focus on the primary couple, there is external conflict and a few bad guys. It’s just enough to add action and minor tension to the storyline, but it doesn’t take away focus from the love story. This is just as it should be for a novella-length story.
Protector’s Mate is a quick read, free of major road bumps, and an all-around enjoyable story. It is sexy with just enough tension for the shorter length.
Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)