Red Wolf by Jennifer Ashley
Narrator: Cris Dukehart
Series: Shifters Unbound #10
Also in this series: White Tiger (Shifters Unbound, #8)
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Format: eARC, Audiobook
Source: Library, NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Length: 10 hours and 15 minutes
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The New York Times bestselling author of Guardian's Mate returns to the world of the Shifters and a tale of a new love under fire...
A man is only as strong...
Red wolf Shifter Dimitri has fought his whole life for respect. It is claimed that red wolves are tainted with coyote blood and therefore not pure. He may not be skilled at verbally defending himself, but because he's a bodyguard, tracker, and champion of the fight clubs, his fists are always ready for some rough and tumble. However, he'd prefer a roll in the hay with the woman who is his oldest friend.
...as the woman who's got his back...
A spirited leopard Shifter and a fellow tracker, Jaycee Bordeaux has no problem forging a mate bond with Dimitri, but soon the two are called to infiltrate a rogue group bent on enslaving Shifters. Jaycee may have defended Dimitri from taunts before, but they now face a more lethal danger--one that threatens not only the future of their people, but also their love.
I really like the Shifters Unbound series by Jennifer Ashley. Red Wolf follows two un-collared shifters from Kendrick’s pack, Dimitri and Jaycee. They were introduced in White Tiger. Jaycee thought she was in love with her alpha (Kendrick), but realized it was just being safe and loved in the pack she wanted. When Kendrick and his mate start mate bonding, Jaycee and Dimitri end up in bed together, too. They’ve been best friends as long as either of them can remember. Dimitri had a speech impediment and Jaycee is the only one who seems to always get him. During a tense situation Dimitri mate-claimed Jaycee, in the hope that he could tell her not to put herself in danger. That didn’t work. Still, the mate-claim stands until Jaycee either accepts it or rejects it. She wants to accept it because she loves Dimitri and wants him in her life, but she doesn’t want to be controlled by a male. Nor does she want to lose the easy friendship they have. For Dimitri, there’s never been anyone but Jacyee. He didn’t claim her on a whim, he’s wanted her all along. When they’re put on an undercover op, their mate-claim will really be tested and Jaycee will have to decide what’s really important.
This started out slow, with a lot of the focus on Jaycee’s internal feelings and exploring a borrowed house. It does eventually pick up and I really enjoyed the second half. The story-arc is continued from White Tiger, and we also saw threads from other books coming together here. Ashley has a wonderful, solid writing voice that really brings this world to life. Though the romance was slow and somewhat lacking, the overall story-arc and progression of things inside the world really worked for me. I love how she tugs so many threads at once. In this book we see how many of them are connected.
I didn’t much care for Jaycee’s internal struggle about the mate-claim. Her main hesitation was that she didn’t want to be controlled or under the thumb of another. That would make sense if Dimitri ever tried to control her. He didn’t want her in danger, of course, but that’s because he loved her. He never tried to stop her from doing her job and in fact often encouraged her. So her fears there were groundless and therefore didn’t hold sway with me. The outside conflict was much more interesting and kept me reading.
3.75 out of 5