I am, by no means, an expert in shifter books. This is only my 3rd I've ever read, and if it weren't for a buddy read, I'd probably never have picked this up...despite loving me some Mary Calmes!
So, with my limited experience, and my low-love for our furried friends, I jumped in. And I was pleasantly surprised. There were some classic Calmes in here...there were 100000000 characters, some "mine" loving (though with shifters, apparently since you're "mated", "mine" actually means something!), and lots of name-screaming sex (I wonder how many times "Arman!" was in this book...exclamation point included...)
But I kinda liked how this wasn't her typical insta-love. Arman (a hunky bodyguard with a "killer" instinct and an I'd-do-anything-for-my-man sense of loyalty) had me swooning, as Calmes' alpha MC's tend to do (RAND! SAM!) Linus is the formerly abused, now silghtly battered love of his life. It took 7 years for them to get together. Lots of emotional reasons why. But one that I found most interesting was that Arman's shifter animal (revealed later in the book) is typically a predator and Linus' (a stag) is typically prey. I'd never heard this take before on the animal-lovin'...and I buy into it.
Yet, once they do finally get together...it's kinda beautiful! Not an ewwwww factor at all, which is usually where my face gets all scrunched up and weirded out by the animal thang. Again...the loyalty and love between Arman and Linus is...seriously romantic. I was swimming in sap and loving it. The book really had me engaged.
Now, the story gets a bit convulted in the middle and on it's way to the ending. I think it was interesting, I suppose, all the lore and "world-building" around the various types of shifter clans. But, I was losing some patience and the story was a bit all over the place. Speaking of all over the place...Linus was also a hard character to pin down. I'm not quite sure what to think of him. I'll just be happy he's there for Arman to love.
And Arman...yup...me likey. SEXY...though I'll admit, once he revealed what he becomes in shifter form, I googled it immediately and...um...had my reservations. But, I think I can overlook it because he's got guns and knows how to use 'em!
I don't know if I'm now completely sold on shifter stories. But, I'm intrigued by the L'Ange world, and plan to go back and read book 1 (Old Loyalty, New Love)...and definitely read book 3 once it releases.
Not bad...not bad at all...