I waited with much anticipation for this book, after the two main characters, Aidric the werecat from Dolf's clowder and one of his betas, and Carter, the alpha werewolf from the Dark Lake Pack, felt the mating bond in the previous book, when he came to the clowder lands to address an issue caused by his nephew with the Veela and his mate - I just had to know how a love story between a dog and a cat would work out.
There's no insta-love in this series, thankfully. The mating bond, while presenting a strong pull and a desire to pursue that pull, does not mean instant HEA. No, the weres in this series must overcome odds, danger, and potential pain to get their happy ending. This applied to all the couples (and the thruple from book 1), and I'm glad that the author didn't deviate from that point here either.
Obviously, with Carter being an Alpha, Aidric must face the reality of leaving his clowder, giving up his beta position, and moving in with a bunch of werewolves, some of which are none too happy that their Alpha was given a werecat for a mate, and a male to boot. Carter's ex-girlfriend Sabrina, who fancied herself alpha-mate without ever being given that promise by Carter, and her brother Delaney make trouble for Aidric and Carter from the start, sowing distrust and trouble where they can, and things only get worse when during the first full moon run, an attack is carried out on the pack house where the pups are kept.
I really liked how the author keeps giving her characters some huge odds to overcome, and how the cat and dog characteristics are presented, what with Aidric chasing his own tail, and Carter's wolf close to the surface, making him somewhat gruff on occasion. Their behavior is colored by the animal that lives inside them, and it permeated every action and reaction they had to each other and their surroundings.
Carter also struggles a bit with being given a male mate, which would in his mind prevent him from having children/pups to carry on his Alpha line, plus the additional headache of having many members of his pack resist his mating a werecat. Clearly he hasn't heard of surrogacy or adoption.
The relationship grows slowly as they start to build on the mating pull, starting to trust each other more every day, and learning about each other. The UST is high, but neither is willing to complete the mating bond until they are certain of their own feelings and each other. When the mating finally comes - oh boy, oh boy, that sure is explosive.
This was an excellent, strong addition to this series, and I hope there will be more. The book can be read as a standalone, since the events from the previous books are somewhat rehashed by being interwoven into the book's progression, but then you'd miss out on the fun of the first three books, and you wouldn't want that, amirite? So, just read the whole series!
** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **