In yesterday’s New Series Alert post, I did a quick little spotlight on the first book of Kate Douglas‘s Spirit Wild series, Dark Wolf. It looks like Doug Meeks got his hands on an early copy, and sent over a review for it last night. Great timing.
It is a Bold New Beginning for the Chanku. For so long they kept their shapeshifting ability secret, but now they have assimilated into the world in ways they once never thought possible. Still there are those who want to destroy them, with dark powers of their own…
The CEO of Cheval International, Lily Cheval chooses to live alone, but a series of rapes and murders leave her wary and worried for her fellow Chanku. Then she meets Sebastian Xenakis and the connection is intense and immediate. The son of a charismatic cult leader, Sebastian is a mysteriously sensual man who uses magic to shift into wolf form. He and Lily come together in a moment of supreme ecstasy, succumbing to a primal passion that leaves Lily shaken but utterly alive. Is Sebastian her lifetime mate or is he her worst enemy?
Sebastian Xenakis is still coming into his power as a wizard. He can shapeshift by magical means and runs as a wolf using the power he draws from the elements. But young women are dying—raped by a human and then slaughtered by a wolf. Suspicion falls on the shapeshifting Chanku, but Sebastian wonders if he might somehow be guilty of the crimes.
Then he meets Lily Cheval, the uncrowned princess of the powerful Chanku, and realizes he will do whatever it takes to clear his name and win her love. But evil walks where Sebastian goes, and there are mysteries neither Lily nor her father, the powerful wizard, Anton Cheval, cannot unravel. Is Sebastian the perfect mate for Lily, or is he instead, one she should fear?
Let me start right off by saying that this is a great story. You got the really evil, slimy villain (Aldo Xenakis). You have the strong heroine (Lily) and conflicted hero (Sebastian) both looking for love (ahhhhhh) and a really good cast of secondary characters that are more than cardboard cutouts.
The story drops you right into a good scene from almost page one and continues pretty well as the mystery/action/romance shift around and take center stage from time to time. Great stuff and a sure fire winner as a paranormal romance and thriller. Right ??
OK, here is the parts that detract from this 5 Star story, the author known for her over-the-top sexual writing felt the need to do a few things to support her reputation it seems (the fact that they added nothing to the story other than distraction seems not to matter). First in the middle of the romance/story of Lily and Sebastian she keeps dropping us into the lives of her best male friend and HIS love life, not bad but all it does is take us away from the story we were reading while adding nothing. Second (and MOST irritating/distracting) we are sailing along on the story which is moving at a decent pace and it was like “WOW, damn I almost forgot to write the big sex scene I am famous for” and proceeds to immediately within about one chapter give us very graphic F/F – M/M – 3 Way – 4 Way plus add a touch of voyeurism and masturbation just to make sure we covered everything.
Now since we polished off that (all within less than 24 hours of story time) we can get back to the story we got the book to read about.
Bottom Line: The book is a solid 4 Stars in spite of the author’s efforts to include distracting sexual scenes that did nothing for the story. I enjoy well written passionate scenes but this was contrived dribble that had no purpose other than to support the author’s reputation from past books and add to the page count. Will I get the next book in the series? Probably, since I did love the story but 80% or more of the sex was nothing but filler that added pages and kept you from the actual story.