Although In from the Cold is the second book in the Coyote’s Call series, it can be read and enjoyed as a standalone – well, at least I was able to. Because of the way that Ms. Bradford presents Gael and Iker’s story, the reader is provided the necessary background from the first book in regards to the series storyline without losing sight of the developing relationship between the two men. For me, this meant I was able to pick up on the shifter community’s ordeals and how Gael’s past was intertwined with what had been (apparently) revealed in the first book.
In from the Cold has a rather depressing beginning as we meet Gael at an extremely low point in his life – a point at which he’s unsure if he has the will to live much longer. No, he’s not injured, at least no physically. As his story unfolds, we learn that Gael’s life took a tragic turn when he was sixteen and he’s spent the last two decades barely surviving. The sense of hopelessness that he exudes is palpable and his despair at continuing to live the life he has now is understandable. Gael learned far too early that life is not fair, nor is it easy, but with each additional tidbit the author revealed, I understood why he felt like it was too hard to continue on. So it was no surprise that he reacted the way he did when confronted by members from his old den. What was surprising was how he found Iker’s presence calming even as his instinct to fight remained in control. I found the conflicting animal and human instincts that Gael faced in Iker’s presence intriguing. Even more interesting was learning about Iker’s deceased mate (who was female) and that as a wolf shifter he shouldn’t have found a second mate. And yet it was clear from their reactions that Iker and Gael were fated mates.
Although I expect relationships to develop quicker in shifter books than in contemporary romances, I was still surprised at how fast Gael initiated intimacy with Iker. All things considered, I was surprised that Gael actually made any move, much less the first move. However, I was not surprised that he was the sexually dominant one of the two and both Iker and I were pleased with just how dominant Gael turned out to be. Whew! The sex scenes were hot and contained far more BDSM elements than I expected (and that’s not a complaint). While most of the book focused on the relationship between the two men and Gael’s adjusting to his return to Del Rey, Ms. Bradford did not drop the ball at all when it came to revisiting why Gael left in the first place. I must admit that I was caught off guard when Gael was forced to face his past demons because I didn’t see it coming. Even though I enjoyed In from the Cold without having read Off Course first, I hope to be able to go back and read book one before the next book in the series is released as I want to know more about Gideon and Miller’s relationship.