This review was originally written for The Romance Reviews
and can also be found there.
When it comes to shifters, I've been through quite a few books and I'm always interested in the differences between them and the humans. After all, it's the very reason why I'm reading shifter stories in the first place.
NATE'S DEPUTY is the fifth book in the Shifters' Haven series and since it was noted that I could read it without having read any of the previous books, I jumped right in.
Nate has come home after being absent for two years. His brother is dead now without ever reconciling with Nate and Nate's sister pretty much hates his guts and has for years. But Nate is a pretty good guy and above all else, he feels guilty for things that really aren't his fault.
On the other side we have Jared who has recently started work as Sheriff's Deputy and also looks after his younger brother, the only family he has left. Jared is full of conflicts, because he wants what's best for his brother and in order for that to happen he feels he needs to hide his sexuality and keep his job. Next to all of that, Nate and Jared are bidding for the same ranch and are finding themselves in the middle of a council dispute.
Once the men realize they were made for each other, both have reasons to fight the connection. One is insecure while the other fears for his future and that of his brother. All in all, I expected much more conflict. Well, in all honestly, I expected much more of everything.
I'm not familiar with the rest of the series, but I can say that this book really lacked the shifter part of the Shifters' Haven. There were a few fights in half shifted form, but for the rest of the book, the guys were too close to humans for my liking. Their issues seemed solid at first glance, but the realization of the conflicts ended up being pretty weak. One moment they are fighting the attraction, in the next they are almost completely okay with it. There was too little character building contact between them for my taste and at the end of the book I can honestly say I barely got to know the two men.
Then there was the whole conflict thing where both Nate and Jared got tangled up in the pack/council mystery but weren't really involved. That part seriously annoyed me, because why mention it in the first place if Nate and Jared will just show up at the scene and then be dismissed because their mating is just overshadowing common sense or because they are not the Alpha so it's not their business? Half of this book was a steppingstone toward the next one, while the other half wasn't nearly long enough to properly introduce us with the characters and give us a romance they deserve.
What convinced me in the end to still give the book three stars were the funny side characters. From the Alpha to Jared's brother, I had plenty to keep me entertained and just that little aspect made me curious about the previous books, at least the one about the Alpha. I didn't have any issues about the writing style and I'm pretty sure the series will have a quite large fan base soon if it doesn't have it already, but I require more with my shifter books and this one just didn't satisfy me.