I flew through this, from opening the file this morning until finishing it tonight, with grumbled interruptions for such pesky things as lunch and dinner and errands needing to be run.
The romance was slow burn, frustrating at times, and sweet at other times. The mythology is still well done, and I enjoyed catching up with the couples from previous books.
Nine years ago, Eric's chosen mate broke their bond, and he's been in wolf form ever since, roaming the woods, thinking he can never go home again. An unexpected encounter leads him home, returning him to his human form, having to learn to be human all over again. Opposing thumbs are a tricky thing if you've been on paws for a long time.
Soon after coming home, Eric runs into Ben, a newcomer to their pack, and finds his destined mate, the person their goddess has chosen just for him, a mate that trumps a chosen one.
And Eric freaks out.
Because he's a dumbass. Because he's been hurt and he doesn't trust that this one won't also leave him.
Like I said, this was a frustrating read at times - I wanted to slap him in multiple times as Eric keeps asking for time and patience, and Ben was a fucking SAINT and kept giving Eric time and space and whatever he needed, because that's what destined mates do.
Ben has some struggles of his own - for all his life, his mother told him that the wolf within is a demon to be kept inside. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why Ben's father would choose his wife (a destined mate also, but one who never took the bite to become wolf) over his son, when he could see how much his wife's ranting about the demon-wolf hurt his kid. He never really stepped in to stop her from inflicting this emotional abuse on his son. I was ENRAGED! And then she... well, no, I won't give that away.
But Eric and Ben have friends now, and they have support, and they learn, they grow, and they accept what Diana has given them.
I would say that this book was probably my least favorite of this series. For one, I found Eric disappearing for nine years a bit long, considering that Kim wasn't his destined mate. Secondly, I strongly disliked that both important females in this book were portrayed as uber-bitchy and had few, if any, redeeming qualities. I really don't like that in a book.
The author has a writing style that works well for this type of book, and there weren't any lulls in the plot or any kind of big time jumps. I appreciated seeing couples from the previous books all step up to help Eric and Ben where they can - the sense of family, of belonging, is strong with this series.
While this could be read as a stand-alone, I would recommend you read this series in order for full impact.
** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **