~* 4.5 Stars *~
Now That's One Big and Deliciously Bad Wolf
Paige Mahoney had been drinking. They all had. It was a whirlwind cruise vacation just over a year ago and she and her two best friends, Mariah and Livvy, were living it up on the streets of Cabo, one of their ports of call. Hell, it's not like Paige even believed in magic and wishes and werewolves! That didn't keep her for wishing for one hot night of unbridled sex with a true alpha wolf when she was tying the wish bracelet around her wrist, though. She blamed it on the paranormal romance she reads. She certainly didn't expect anything to ever come of it. I mean, seriously...werewolves?
Then Mariah's bracelet fell off and Paige's understanding of the world took a little detour through fantasy land.
It wasn't until her own wish bracelet fell off while she was dancing at the very wedding her best friend's wish had lead to that she started to really think about the repercussions of her wish. Werewolves. Werewolves? Oh, god...werewolves.
Professional nature photographer...and werewolf....Adam Jaeger wasn't sure when the Universal Wish Federation fairies had added pimping to their wish-granting services, but he had to at least credit UWF fairy Davina Traherne with one thing. Paige is a good looking woman. If it wasn't for the fact that she's human, he'd be interested in far more than the one night of wild monkey sex he'd agreed to. But she was, and Adam had no intention of getting involved in a cross-species mating. He had more than enough proof of how badly those ended.
One night of passionate fantasy sex with someone who already knew his nature, though...well...that was an irresistible opportunity.
Paige gets her wish in more ways than she ever dreamed when she meets Adam. He's everything she was too afraid to hope for when Davina finally convinced her that all of this was real. Coming in contact with his skin will start the clock on their twenty-four hours...and stir her life into a vortex of natural urges and yearnings that have nothing to do with evading a predator wolf who is all man and everything to do with making sure he runs her to ground...and bed...and wall, for that matter. As far as she's concerned, one night will never be enough.
Two books into this fun, sexy, surprisingly touching series and I'm already fairly convinced I've developed a girl crush on Kate Willoughby. She's impressed me yet again with her seamless blend of sizzling erotica and genuine, heart-felt romance, and has created a story that thoroughly satisfies. Lately I've been chronically (and vocally) grumpy over romances that feel more like lust fests than love connections. Willoughby, on the other hand, has a series here that restores a bit of my faith, and she keeps a keen eye on both the erotic and the romantic elements in her fiction.
The high points are many in this book, starting with the characters. Paige and Adam are absolutely delightful. Both are surprisingly well developed for the shorter length of the story. They are perhaps not as expansively drawn as one would expect of characters in a full length novel, but Willoughby is exceptionally good at quickly encapsulating the significant and applicable character traits that make characters seem real and believable to readers, then tosses in a few neat personality quirks and peccadilloes to further flesh them out.
There was a genuine sense of chemistry and passion between Paige and Adam that was readily apparent. And by readily apparent I mean it exploded across the page in unfettered sensual delight. I loved them as individuals for their depth of character and personalities, and I loved them even more together as friends, lovers, and hot sex aficionados. Their wish fulfillment evening never once seemed cheap or sleazy to me, as intended one night stands in romance tend to do. Instead it was seductive and tantalizing...and very hot. Then again...they don't exactly walk away from each other after one night, either, and that's pretty much a no-brainer, what with the romance aspect of the book.
Speaking of plans, the plan of this book, the plot, was so much fun. I loved the career paths Paige and Adam had been meandering down, and I loved the epiphany-shaped idea that Paige had for them to merge those paths. There were also a few great ancillary plot threads and secondary characters that were woven together to create a truly rich and full narrative with plenty of wonderful action, adventure, romance, sex, and humor. There was even a fairly weighty relationship conflict that made those pesky "misunderstanding" conflicts in romance seem shallow and ridiculous in comparison.
In fact, the only minor issue I had in this whole story was that I wish the external conflict climax and relationship conflict climax had been more expansively developed. I don't know that they could have been within the length of the story, really, but there were some parts of the conclusion that felt a bit rushed and got a little confusing as a result. I was really craving another twenty-five pages or so to really flesh out the elements of action, fairy machinations, and danger in the external conflict, and would have loved to dig deeper into the emotions behind the issue of the relationship conflict. And I have to admit, I wish the relationship conflict resolution had gone a different route. The way it was resolved was comfortingly concrete and final, so it didn't leave me feeling in any way that there were unresolved issues, but personal preferences would have liked a slightly different resolution.
I do love these stories, though. This one was longer than its predecessor (yay!), and had a much more realistic and natural romance arc as well as a more complex overall plot, but both of them were wonderfully entertaining. I can't wait to see what delicious and sexy fun UWF fairy Davina stirs up next for the third friend to tie on a wish bracelet, Livvy.Quotables:
"You're killing me, Laszlo. Don't you have one romantic bone in your body?"Disclosure: A copy of this book was provided to me by the author for an honest review. This rating, review, and all included thoughts and comments are my own.
"As a matter of fact, I do," Laszlo said a little stiffly. "My incus is romantic."
"Your...?" Davina blinked. "Your incus?"
"It's a very small bone in my ear."
"You're making that up."
Reviewed for One Good Book Deserves Another