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Psy-Changeling #9.5

Declaration of Courtship

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A dominant changeling wolf, SnowDancer lieutenant Cooper is not known for his patience. But when it comes to courting the shy, sexy woman he wants in his life and in his bed, he’ll have to use every ounce of control in his body to keep both man and wolf in check . . . at least until he convinces Grace he only bites a little.

One of the most submissive wolves in the SnowDancer pack, Grace knows nothing can come of her sensual fascination with big, bad, beautiful Cooper. He might possess her over and over in erotic dreams that leave her aching for the rough heat of his touch, but she knows that in reality, he is far too dangerous for her to handle. Then Cooper decides to change all the rules . . .

This story can be found in the short story anthology Wild Invitation.

134 pages, Kindle Edition

First published March 5, 2013

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About the author

Nalini Singh

266 books24.8k followers
I've been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There's no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).

So far, I've worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer's mill.

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5 stars
2,316 (44%)
4 stars
1,881 (36%)
3 stars
877 (16%)
2 stars
125 (2%)
1 star
23 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 224 reviews
Profile Image for Lover of Romance.
2,837 reviews815 followers
January 29, 2020
Declaration of Courtship is one of the best novella's I have read in a long while. Of course, there is no doubt when reading Nalini Singh right? Well Singh has written another beautiful love story. In Declaration of Courtship we have our hero Cooper, a snowdancer lieutenant, a alpha male and dominant in the pack. He knows who his mate is, Grace a submissive and new to the pack. He only sees a beautiful woman that is smart and funny and kind. He knows that their status in the pack, will make for an interesting courtship, but he is determined to have her. Grace is a submissive, but has a quiet inner strength. She knows that she could never handle Cooper. He is a dominant but the gap between them is bigger than she and her wolf could handle. Even some of the dominant females in the pack would be reluctant to have him as a mate. But she is drawn to him in a way she can't explain, and despite their differences she sees a man that is haunted by his dreams and his past and she aches to heal those demons and be the woman he needs.

The romance between these two almost brought tears to my eyes. I really enjoy unrequited love stories, but wow, does Nalini Singh create a fabulous story here. I didn't feel like the romance felt flat at all, despite it being a novella. In fact, there was a depth to this story I wasn't expecting. The whole focus of the story is the love story though. We see how careful Cooper is, despite how much his wolf is tearing at him to claim Grace. But he knows, he has to be very careful in how he handles their courtship or he could scare her away for good. What I really liked was seeing the differences between the dominants and the submissives in the pack of changelings. We see how much they are both needed. Dominants provide safety and protection and direction for the pack. Submissives provide healing, affection and laughter. They help balance out the needs of the pack. We see how each of these qualties and displayed between Cooper and Grace. It was quite interesting seeing this love story grow. I fell in love with both of the characters and I honestly couldn't get enough. There were moments where we see they need space when the factors of one being dominant and the other being submissive comes into play in the relationship and we see how they each need a breather and some space to work things out internally. We see how Grace, is such a strong woman. She knows a relationship between a dominant and submissive can work, since her adoptive parents have the same kind of relationship. However Cooper is more alpha and dominant than most. However we see how he puts his nature on hold. He is patient and kind with Grace and understanding of her reservations. He doesn't go after her like a bull. He is slow and tender and this was quite refreshing to see from a powerful alpha male. Grace is a heroine I really came to admire. Especially in the end, where we see her true self and how strong she is and I loved the way she handles Cooper, when she realizes that she can be what he needs, and she is the right woman for him. We also see how Grace handles Coopers family and most especially Mercy. She tends to drive away the women he is with. But Grace holds her own, and wins over Mercy instantly. Which is saying something since Mercy is quite a alpha herself.

A truly entertaining, and poignant love story I loved and the only change I would make is to have the story longer. I loved seeing these two together and I realized how much I need to read more of this series and all the novella's that I am missing out on. If they are as good as this one....I need to pick them up.
Profile Image for Sophia Triad.
2,239 reviews3,452 followers
December 11, 2018
Grace (Wolf Changeling, SnowDancer systems-maintenance engineer) and Cooper (Wolf Changeling, SnowDancer Lieutenant)

“You’d better find a way to deal with the big, bad wolf who wants to have you for his own very personal snack.”
A thousand butterflies took flight in Grace’s stomach.

Grace is over the top submissive and Cooper is over the top dominant. Grace wants to disappear every time Cooper looks at her, Cooper wants to eat her alive.
So far he tried to control his need to get physical with her, but he has reached the point of no return and very very carefully he announced to her that he will start courting her. He wants her but he does not want her to feel that she is ordered to be with him.
Grace really likes Cooper, but when he tells her that he wants her she cannot believe that this strong, goodlooking wolf means it. They have huge differences and he has to be extremely careful if he does not want to scare away her wolf.
What Grace does not know is that Cooper has initiated the mating dance. There is no way these two stop until they are mated.

This was a great story.
I loved the slow burn between Grace and Cooper.
I loved how careful Cooper was and his dirty mouth. Since he could not touch Grace from the beginning, he was describing with every detail what he would do to her. Well, it worked!
I loved the fact that deep down Grace is a tough cookie.
Profile Image for Mara.
1,556 reviews3,760 followers
August 17, 2021
4.5 stars - this is one of the novellas in this series that I find myself rereading many times, because I just love the interplay between Cooper and Grace and how Nalini Singh explores polarities in personality types as they come together
Profile Image for Lana Reads.
447 reviews172 followers
May 31, 2021
Ohmygod, how I adored this little story! Two wolf changelings, dominant Cooper and submissive Grace were fabulous together! Cooper was wonderful but Grace was absolutely amazing. It's short, so damn hot and suuper sweet; I adored their slow dance around each other.
Perfect little treat for in-between when you don't have enough time or energy for a longer book.
Profile Image for Grecia Robles.
1,480 reviews340 followers
July 1, 2020
No es de las mejores novelas cortas que he leído y menos de la serie que a mi parecer son muy buenas, entretenidas, tiernas y que le dan un toque fresco.
Más sin embargo esta historia se me hizo meh, en parte aburrida, el romance desangelado.

Está bien para pasar el rato, como en mi caso que nada me llama y sólo para no dejar de leer.
Profile Image for Anna (Bobs Her Hair).
909 reviews194 followers
September 20, 2014
3.5 stars...Cooper, the dirtiest-talking changeling ever! (I think.)

Cooper is one the most dominant wolves in his pack. He has found his mate. Grace, one of the most submissive in the pack felt an attraction to Cooper from day 1, but the wolf side of nature is overwhelmed by Cooper's wolf. Yet, he's patient and has fun courting Grace. He will woo her, while hiding the nightmares that plague him because a dominant pack member is never supposed to be weak.

I loved the main conflict! Cooper was lovingly committed to courting Grace, the woman and wolf. His nightmares too contrived for me. It seemed an unnecessary Achilles heel, but this is only my opinion!

The steam lever is pretty high is this novella. Very hot! After stepping away from this story for a few days helped to move past the subplot. The ending is abrupt, but you can read the "Declaration of Courtship" epilogue at the author's website. It's titled "Dancing with Cooper", which is set during Hawke & Sienna's mating ceremony. Enjoy!

Grade: C+

Profile Image for Angela (Angel's Guilty Pleasures).
1,547 reviews865 followers
April 30, 2021
** Read in Wild Invitation.

4 Stars

Here we meet Grace, a submissive wolf and Cooper a high ranking SnowDancer lieutenant who is going to court Grace. Cooper’s a dominant wolf and must learn how to handle Grace and Grace must learn to come to grips with the sub/dom wolf tendencies and not let her submissive nature rule her.

This paring is hard sometimes for the changelings and doesn’t always work out. It presents several challenges. Singh was able to bring two opposites together without having them compromise something in order to be a unit mated pair.

It’s full of sexual tension, sizzling encounters, and also very tender and sweet moments.

Profile Image for Ronda.
857 reviews131 followers
November 12, 2013
I love Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling series - it is different to anything I have ever read, it is imaginative, each book is individual but runs it's main storyline alongside tons of others... Nalini is amazing!!!

So... I waited for this edition with bated breath, I didn't want to read it within the anthology, I had to wait for it to stand alone and boy it was well worth it!

Nalini captures a great deal in her shorter stories, this one was no different, Cooper and Grace kept me turning the pages until the very end... I absolutely adored this edition, it was fantastic and it brought me back to a world that I fell in love with a long time ago!
Profile Image for Linda (un)Conventional Bookworms.
2,724 reviews331 followers
February 23, 2016
This review was originally posted on (un)Conventional Bookviews
I have missed the psy-changeling universe, and Declaration of Courtship was the perfect cure! Very cleverly done, with an unconventional romance between an alpha lieutenant and a submissive female, I can't stop smiling at their loving interactions!

Review - (un)Conventional Bookviews

Singh was so very clever with Declaration of Courtship! I am not always a fan of novellas, because they feel somehow rushed in many ways. At the beginning of this one, however, it was made clear that Cooper and Grace had wanted each other ever since she joined the Snow Dancer pack six months ago. Thus, what might have felt like a rushed romance wasn't rushed at all, and the story spanned over enough time for the courtship to be delectable.

Grace was a submissive in many ways, but she was definitely not a doormat, and as she got to know Cooper even better, she wasn't afraid to tell him no, or to even get mad at him when the situation warranted it. I loved how Cooper tried to be so careful around her at first, until he realized that she didn't really need him to - she wanted all of him - even the dominant parts. When he made his intentions clear, with a real declaration of courtship as it were, she was both elated and a little scared. He was pretty straight forward about wanting her forever.

As always, I was feeling right at home in the Psy-Changeling universe, and I think the biggest difference between the novella format of Declaration of Courtship and a full length novel in the series was that the whole focus was on the couple, with no extreme danger coming from outside. There was plenty going on, though, both between Cooper and Grace, and with the pack, and even her brother and sister from a neighbouring pack. As Grace dared to show her own strengths, Cooper got what he needed as well - a love that was strong and pure, with no holding back.

Written in third person point of view, past tense, and with some sassy dialogues and humorous quips, Declaration of Courtship was a quick, hot read, and one I recommend if you're a fan of this series.

Fave Quotes - (un)Conventional Bookviews

He'd stayed away from his sexy new systems-maintenance engineer for over six months. Six months. It might as well have been a decade, as far as he was concerned.

Don't run from me sweetheart, he thought as he took the final steps to her. I only bite a little. Not quite true, but he was planning to be on his best behavior until she trusted him enough to handle the aggressive sensuality that was an integral aspect of his nature.

Even no, the lingering whisper of it caused her skin to prickle, her mind cascading with sensory memories of the dark heat of his muscled body, the deep bronze of his skin, the black hair he'd taken to shaving so close to his skull she had to constantly fight the urge to reach up and brush her hand over the bristles. 
Profile Image for AnHeC the Paperback Obliterator.
98 reviews52 followers
July 23, 2016
word count: 30 /35 000
rating: no nonsense, a short romance that goes right to the point

*My rating takes into account the length and what can be expected of the story like this.The limitations.

Writing: Nalini Singh spoiled me. Sometimes I forget how good she is, and then I start reading Looking for Alaska and become aware of the differences in style. Just saying.

Characters: Finally! A romance between a submissive and a dominant! I've been waiting for this one since book one. Why? Because reading about all those strong, dominant, or simply uber powerful characters makes you question some of the supposed dynamics of the pack. You know, the whole 'everybody's important, submissives have their place'. So it was nice.

Story: One of the benefits of having a submissive heroine was that, even though the story is short, it focuses on developing a relationship, rather than having one out of nowhere. She couldn't just jump into a relationship with a powerful lieutenant; her wolf would grovel in submission. That's why he had to ease her into it. And that was nice too.

Why not 5 stars? Because I like holding back. It's unfair, but hey, that's life.
Profile Image for Steven.
1,063 reviews383 followers
August 15, 2020

Meh. I don’t know why I can’t get into this series. I love Guild Hunter, but so many of the characters in this series just seem so trope-based and similar. The next book is Hawke and Sienna though, so maybe I’ll really like it!
Profile Image for Maya.
858 reviews427 followers
August 5, 2015
When I first heard of this book I was sure it would be great. After reading the first couple of chapters I didn't get into it and got a bit bored. I read past half the book and still nothing happened , I only got more bored, so that's when I had to call it quits.

This one wasn't for me, but that doesn't mean it isn't a good book from someone elses perspective.

Profile Image for Aly.
2,326 reviews67 followers
May 5, 2018
Not for lack of interest, but because the SnowDancer's dominant lieutenant recognized he needed to tread carefully with her, Cooper kept his distance from the new system maintenance's tech for the last six months. But now it's time to finally make her his. Shy and discreet Grace is genuinely surprised when Cooper announced his intention to court her. Can the submissive wolf find the strenght to put up with the hero's overbearing nature ?

I thought there was too much sex (thinking about it, talking about it, doing it) and it didn't let enough space for anything else. And too many hassle between them. But if you like dirty talker, with Cooper you'll be served :p
Profile Image for Julianna.
Author 5 books1,318 followers
October 3, 2022
Reviewed for THC Reviews
Declaration of Courtship is a short novella that falls between Play of Passion and Kiss of Snow in the Psy-Changeling series chronology. In this one, we have dominant wolf Cooper, who is a SnowDancer lieutenant and who I’m pretty sure has been seen in previous books of the series, paired with Grace, an engineer and submissive wolf, who I don’t recall being mentioned before. Cooper is in charge of the SnowDancer’s San Gabriel den. Ever since Grace came to work there, he’s wanted to pursue her, but as a dominant, he knows he’ll have to tread lightly in order to win over a woman as submissive as Grace is. For her part, Grace has been deeply attracted to Cooper, too, but she believes a relationship with him would never work because she doubts that her wolf would accept him. Cooper isn’t inclined to let that deter him, though, so he pulls out all the stops, courting her with a slow sensual seduction. However, Cooper has been having terrifying nightmares about his parents’ deaths that happened years ago and has been stoically holding back this information from Grace, which could derail all the hard work he’s been putting into convincing her that they belong together.

Although being a submissive wolf doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s a pushover, Grace is very sweet, while also being a wicked smart engineer. I like that she was brave enough to give a relationship with Cooper a shot, and I love how supportive she was of him, wanting him to let her into every part of his life, no matter how dark or frightening. Cooper is a yummy dominant wolf, who definitely knows how to romance a girl. Once Grace agrees to give it a try, he goes out of his way to make her feel special with all his little gifts and overtures. Determined to find a way to balance out their temperaments to make it work, he’s also extremely patient with her and her wolf, giving them all the time they need to adjust. He does rather stubbornly hold back his fears over his nightmares from her, making me wish a couple of times that he’d allow himself to be more vulnerable. But it all worked out in the end and when he finally does reveal the truth it was a lovely moment. Because this is a slow-burn romance, there are only a couple of love scenes near the end, but they were every bit as steamy as I’ve come to expect from this author. Everything taken together, Declaration of Courtship ended up being another winner in the Psy-Changeling series for me and one that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Profile Image for Vero Rinconin.
519 reviews142 followers
December 10, 2018
Es una historia corta pero intensa gracias a Cooper que es un peludete de esos que conquista, tanto por su fortaleza como por sus debilidades ^^ Grace no me ha gustado mucho como protagonista, no es porque sea una loba sumisa más bien porque es un poco "mñe" "pavisosa".
Profile Image for  ~V~.
937 reviews
February 5, 2021
This was my first time reading this one! This couple was mentioned in Play of Passion so i felt that i had to read Cooper and Grace's story. As with all novellas, it was super short but it was also very sexy and sweet!
Profile Image for Siobhan.
4,490 reviews468 followers
August 29, 2018
Declaration of Courtship is book nine-point-five in the Psy-Changeling series, and although I prefer to read series in order I’ve ended up reading the short stories out of order. As the library did not have the fifth book in the series, I ended up reading Wild Invitations instead, hence why I jumped into book nine-point-five when I have yet to read beyond book four. Fortunately, this story worked perfectly fine without me being up to date with the series.

Declaration of Courtship was a nice quick novella, one that gives the series a little bit extra through being different to the main series. There is a lot less action in this one, and it focuses mainly upon the dynamics of the SnowDancers. It may not have been my favourite read in the series, but I really enjoyed getting to see how the whole dominance aspect of the wolves work, really enjoyed watching the way the romance developed between the two characters.

Without a doubt, this is a nice little bonus in the series. You do not need to be up to date to enjoy this one, but I’m sure there will be more appreciation if you are up to date. At the same time, this is not a necessary story to understand the main arc, just a nice bonus.
Profile Image for Juli.
1,433 reviews133 followers
April 23, 2018

La intensidad de esta historia, ME ENCANTO.
Profile Image for Monique.
548 reviews
September 9, 2017
Reread (Aug 17, 2015)

I adore Cooper and I love his courtship with Grace.

Reread (Jul 15, 2014)

*sigh* I adore Cooper and Grace, and this wonderful story of their courtship.

Originally read (Apr 1, 2013)

This story is part of the Wild Invitation anthology.

I was dying to read Cooper and Grace's story . I have wanted to read their story since Cooper's first appearance who is considered "mad, bad and dangerous" and the mention of his sweet submissive mate in Play of Passion. I was so excited when Nalini released that she was going to be writing a novella on them.

Nalini did not disappoint. It was so nice to read about a submissive wolves in general. And it was even better reading about a submissive wolf being courted by someone wholly dominant. Grace is just so sweet and shy, but she has claws and sass as well. I loved her as a heroine. And Cooper... That man owns me. He's dominant, possessive, protective, and the way he feels about Grace is heart meltingly beautiful and utterly swoon worthy.

I will definitely reread this novella when I'm in the mood for something short, sweet, sexy, heart warming, and something that will make me swoon. I already have read multiple times and I love it every single time.
Profile Image for Malinda.
1,852 reviews225 followers
October 20, 2019
4-4.5 stars

This was a really good story but I think technically it should be #8.5 in the series instead of #9.5 because Cooper and Grace are mentioned as already being a couple in book #9, Play of Passion.

This story is about Cooper, who is a SnowDancer lieutenant and very dominant, and Grace, who is a submissive in the SnowDancer pack and works as an engineer. Mostly this story encoumpasses Cooper trying to court Grace, which is a bit difficult because of her submissive wolf's instincts towards a dominant wolf. There are some additional difficulties due to of some issues from Cooper's past that rear up as he and Grace start to get close. Thankfully, the issues aren't too hard to deal with and Cooper and Grace are happily mated by the end of the story. :)

* note - I listened to this as part of the Wild Invitation anthology and the narrator did a good job.
Profile Image for Gail.
Author 28 books200 followers
April 26, 2017
Excellent novella. Lots of story squeezed into a shorter form. A very dominant changeling wolf has to figure out how to convince a very submissive wolf to let him court her without scaring her off. The romance is the only plot included in this story. Very good read.
Profile Image for Dakota.
415 reviews4 followers
June 20, 2017
short and sweet, a little bit of the dynamic in the SnowDancer pack. Everytime I read a book in this series, it makes me want to go back and read the first book all over again.
Profile Image for Melann.
845 reviews20 followers
December 29, 2017
Lu en VF

Super ! Là pour le coup j'ai aimé que l'approche soit lente et progressive, on a eu le temps de l'apprécier.
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