Lily St. Claire is a simple Southern girl who has no idea what she is in for when she decides to move back to her home town in Louisiana after a decade of being away. But between the two very different alpha werewolves who instantly begin fighting to claim her as their mate and the serial killer who has her in his sights, she’s about to find out.
WOW! I know it’s been a few years since I last read The Heat, but I did not remember it being so violent. Yes, a certain level of violence is expected in shifter books. But I really didn’t remember just how intense Ms. Killough-Walden had made The Heat and it often felt as though I was reading the book for the very first time. And I loved it!
Because I couldn’t remember a lot of the storyline, the Prologue had me on edge from the very beginning. I of course fell into the carefully laid trap and jumped to the conclusions the author intended – as I said, it often felt as though I was reading the book for the first time so I got to experience Lily’s surprise, attraction, excitement, fear, sense of safety, terror, and sexual tension right along with her as her high school crush shows in interest in her after all these years. What Lily does not know is that she is a dormant – a wolf’s mate – and Daniel is the alpha wolf who she’s been dreaming of for years … literally. At his little sister’s request, Daniel has avoided Lily but now that he’s caught her scent and realized what she was, all bets are off and nothing will keep him from claiming his mate. Well nothing except for another alpha who’s come to claim her. And as the two alphas battle for the right to claim Lily, she finds out that there are things that go bump in the night that are even scarier than werewolves.
One of the things that I really liked about The Heat is that Lily didn’t turn into a blithering idiot and immediately proclaim her love for her high school crush now that he has finally “noticed” her. And it’s because of that, that her reaction to her abductions <=yes that’s plural, were so believable. When push comes to shove, Lily is no shrinking violet even when faced with werewolves who don’t have her best interest at heart. Or serial killers. Lily proves to be just as formidable of a force as the men in her life and she’s not willing to be backed into a corner. While her actions to escape Cole are extreme, it was his response that bowled me over and it’s why I am excited to reread The Strip next because while I am pretty sure that Cole finds his mate, that’s about the extent of my recall for the details of the book and I cannot wait to read it for the first time all over again.
Green-eyed Malcolm Cole is a cursed werewolf, an alpha in the most powerful sense who has given up hope for any kind of happiness or peace in his life.
Until he catches wind of Claire.
Claire St. James, Charlie among friends, is an amazing young woman with an incredibly special gift. Cole recognizes this at once and swears on the spot to claim Charlie as his mate.
Of course, he isn’t the only one with such plans. Charlie is too precious to let go without a fight, and one of the most powerful alphas in the world has already staked a claim, whether Charlie-or Cole-like it or not.
In the Epilogue of The Heat, we briefly meet Charlie via one of Lily’s visions and the presence of Malcolm and another alpha as well indicated there would be another struggle to claim a dormant mate in The Strip. As expected, the “war” between Malcolm and Phalen proves to be as action-packed as the one between Malcolm and Daniel in the previous book. But what the vision didn’t point to that amped up the intensity of this book was what made Charlie so special beyond just being a dormant and it’s a doozy.
Because there are so many secrets that are revealed in The Strip it’s almost a landmine for writing a review without revealing spoilers – but I’ll try my best to avoid them. Much like Lily, Charlie is a force to be reckoned with. She is strong, caring, independent, and apparently a magnet for men who think it’s okay to take what they want from her. The victim of more than one attack, Charlie has taken self-defense classes from a man who is basically a sadist who gets pleasure out of hurting her as he teaches her to defend herself. While her ability to defend herself against an attacker gives her confidence and her music gives her freedom, it is her best friend Jesse who gives her safety and security. And oh how I wish the author would have played THAT scene out fully. When the band gets a contract to play in Vegas for six months her bandmates are ecstatic, but Charlie can’t help but feel that something’s not quite right about it. Had she listened to her instincts, she probably would have avoided a whole host of pain, but she might not have met Malcolm either. And with as intense as the chemistry between them was – and it was HOT – that would have been a shame.
I really liked seeing how Malcolm’s character had changed since his attempt to claim Lily. The author shows a bit of growth in his responses to his potential mate, yet shows were some characteristics are too much a part of him being an alpha. Killough-Walden dropped many a bomb in this installment in the series that left both me and her characters reeling. The action that takes place as each alpha attempts to claim Charlie is quite graphic at times and there is a complete disregard for human life by one of the parties. The revelation that a new “breed” of dormants possessing powers paves the way for even more interesting twists and that along with the Epilogue have me chomping at the bit to read The Spell.