Carnal Secrets by Suzanne Wright

Ok, I have a question for ya. Why is it that male wolf shifters can always smell the arousal of their female mates, whereas the females only get an increased scent of woods and pine for their male counterpart? Doesn’t exactly seem fair, does it? Could also make certain situations hella awkward!!

What’s it About? 

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Half-shifter Shaya Critchley may hold a submissive role in her pack, but she’s done taking orders. After her Alpha wolf mate refused to claim her—but committed to interfering in her life—she took off. Now she hides from him, posing as a human in a town full of anti-shifter extremist groups. She thinks he’ll never find her again, and that suits her just fine. But she’s wrong.

Nick Axton can barely control his feelings for Shaya, but he could never claim her—not if he truly cares for her. The degenerative brain condition he keeps secret would ultimately leave her with a burden rather than a mate. But when Shaya runs away, Nick can’t bear the thought of never seeing her again. After tracking her down, he discovers Shaya’s feisty and passionate side in the process…a side he’d never seen before. Under the menacing gazes of territorial local packs and violent human extremists, Nick vows to finally claim the spirited Shaya…and despite her initial resistance, Shaya just might find his fiery determination to be the ultimate aphrodisiac.

First Impressions

This was definitely an enjoyable continuation of the Phoenix Pack series, as this story takes us away from the other pack members for a large majority of the novel. This allows us to meet some new characters along the way; some are delightfully awesome, others are homicidal psychopaths. It’s all good fun! Another way this novel sets itself apart from the others in the series is that our two lead characters, Nick and Shaya, knew upon first meeting they were mates. No confusion about it! Their mating did create some added complications though. As alpha of his pack, Nick doesn’t want to claim Shaya because she is a submissive wolf, meaning she would constantly be challenged by other females who could push out dominant vibes over her. To escape the pain of being near her mate without being claimed, Shaya runs away. Little did she know Nick would give up being alpha of his pack to come after her. But come on, we all knew he wouldn’t let her get away!

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Wholesome Little Town

What I really enjoyed about this book was that it was so distinct from the others in the series so far. Yes, we have two mates struggling to come together, but in this instance we also have the added complication of battling human extremists. Unlike books 1 and 2, which dealt more with feuds between or within packs, this dealt with a battle between species. And I gotta say, humans can kind of be major dicks!

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Within this small town Shaya settled down in there is a group of human extremists who want shifters removed from their society; tagged and registered. If that doesn’t work they’re willing to go to ever greater lengths. In this case, the extremists have even created a game preserve where they take captured shifters to be hunted by other humans. Good God Shaya, could you have picked a shittier town to settle down in?! Seriously, it’s like we’ve wandered onto a filming of the Purge: Shifter edition. Definitely creepy, yet also a clever way to demonstrate a threat which impacts all shifters, not just one particular pack.

That Time of the Month

In addition to hearing more about the interactions and obstacles facing shifters and humans, I also liked that we got to learn some more day-to-day aspects of shifters that are rarely discussed. For example, did you know that female shifters have periods?! Shocker!! To quote this book directly, “the shifter menstrual cycle is a bitch.” I mean, you’ve got both the female and wolf to contend with, throwing around all kinds of hostile attitude. No male shifter wants to be around that much irritability. I don’t know why, but I just loved this little detail. Let’s face it, you don’t usually read much about this monthly occurrence in romance novels! The fact that Nick chooses to stay by Shaya when most other male wolves would run for the woods means I might officially be in love with him.

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Matters of Trust

Although Nick gives up his pack to pursue Shaya, she doesn’t initially welcome him with open arms. Trust is definitely an issue in their relationship. For Shaya, she has difficulty accepting Nick into her life considering he rebuffed her from his so many times. To turn your back on your mate is unheard of, and it’s a lasting pain. An event from Shaya’s past also makes it difficult for her to trust men in general. Her first lover tricked her into thinking they were mates, when all he really wanted was to get into her pants.

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As for Nick, events from his own past impact his relationship with Shaya. When he was young, Nick killed a human, and maimed two others who raped his sister. Because Shaya is half human, he thinks she’ll shy away from him after learning the truth. He simply forgot she is also half shifter, which means her loyalties don’t automatically side with humans.

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Nick also has debilitating headaches, and he refuses to go to a female healer for help. The reason being that this healer also has the hots for Nick, and he doesn’t want her scent on him when he’s around Shaya. If ever there was a need for a wolf shifter version of Craigslist calling all male healers this would be it! Eventually his headaches become so terrible he starts to lose his memory, and he decides he’s going to leave Shaya rather than become her burden. Dude! Tell her what’s up, and go to a healer already! I’m sure she’d be supportive of that decision!! Just take a bath if you need to get the other woman’s scent off ya.

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Series: The Phoenix Pack, book 3. Gotta say, I’m really enjoying this paranormal series!

Should you read it? Overall a good read with an intense ending. I do think there could have been a smoother blend between scenes of threatening human extremists and Nick and Shaya learning to trust each other. It felt kind of stop and go at times. The novel starts with him pursuing her to give him another chance, but as things progress and Nick’s headaches worsen we find that Shaya is the one who has to go after him, and convince him to stay. Nice parallel there!

Smut Level: Nick leaves marks all over Shaya’s body. But they’re the good, paranormal claiming mark kind!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $0.99 Kindle Price. Montlake Romance. 377 Pages.

 

Wicked Cravings by Suzanne Wright

Another female shifter with inner wolf problems!

What’s it About?

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For years, wolf shifter Jaime Farrow has harbored a not-so-secret crush on gorgeous Dante Garcea. But the time has come for Jaime to face facts: despite her best efforts, Dante just isn’t interested. And that’s probably for the best. The last thing Jaime needs is for anyone—particularly Dante—to find out about her little “problem.” The one that haunts her past and threatens to destroy her and everyone she loves…As the pack Beta, workaholic Dante Garcea doesn’t have time for distractions—especially the kind promised by Jaime Farrow. It’s all he can do to keep her at arm’s length and his desire at bay. Yet when her flirtations abruptly end, Dante becomes suspicious. She’s hiding something, something big, and unless he can convince her to trust him, their entire pack could be in danger. He knows hot-headed Jaime will resist him…but Dante never takes no for an answer.

First Impressions

This sequel in the Phoenix Pack series definitely had a slower start than the first book, and overall wasn’t as intense. That being said, I must say I did like the lead characters much better. They were more likable and less cocky than the alphas of the pack. Jaime has always had a crush on Dante, and has been following him around like a lost puppy for years. One day, she overhears him in a conversation with another pack member, where he mentions he could never have a relationship with someone like Jaime. Feeling slighted, Jaime decides she must finally relent, and avoid interacting with him whenever possible. As could be expected with similar playground antics, Dante finds himself drawn to her even more. Pay attention to meeeeee Jaime!!!

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The Struggle of a Beta

Unbeknownst to Jaime, Dante has actually always had an eye for her as well. He’s found himself drawn to her very presence, but Dante has vowed to never be with someone in his own pack. As beta of the Phoenix Pack, he realizes that if he were to claim a female, his attentions would eventually be split between his mate and pack business. Dante believes that he would inevitably choose his pack over his mate, and he would never want to put any woman through that, least of all Jaime. However, this doesn’t prevent them from entering into a sexual relationship! Instead of “friends with benefits”, it’s more like “pack members without the expectations of mating”.

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Living with a Wolf

I must say, I find the inner wolf identity of these characters to be a rather unique feature of this series. Although their wolf is an essential part of their character, it’s also a distinct and independent feature of their personality at the same time. They even refer to their wolves in the third person as though it’s another character entirely.

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As mentioned earlier, Jaime has some severe wolf problems. She refuses to let her wolf out anymore because of a tragic event from her past. By continually suppressing her wolf, the animal becomes increasingly restless, and tries to overpower Jaime. Because of this, Jaime vows that she doesn’t want to discover who her true mate is, as she could never ask him to put up with her dysfunctional wolf. Unfortunately this just makes her wolf even more restless. Such a vicious circle!!

Series: Phoenix Pack, book 2. The first book had more action, but I still enjoyed this one. Definitely looking forward to more from this series!

Should you read it? Pretty easy to see where the plot was headed with this one. Both Dante and Jaime have put up a wall where they don’t want to find their mate, which makes them blind to what’s right in front of them. Then you’ve got her wolf ultimately coming out to play, and some rather jealous/overbearing female foes to contend with. Still an enjoyable read though!

Smut Level: These two like to push each other, both in and out of the bedroom. They also like to bite and claw each other in the sack!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $0.99 Kindle Price. Montlake Romance. 395 Pages.

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