Months after saving Jamie and Deanna from crywolf, Kiara and her brother Cole have moved into the city. While clubbing one night, Kiara is stunned to see her ex, Taryn, onstage. But before she can react, Jamie notices a distinctive tattoo in the crowd: an axe rumored to be the mark of the Huntsmen, a group of werewolf-tracking humans. The girls need to leave immediately—and since Taryn is also a werewolf, they need to take her with them.
The Huntsmen are more than a myth, and they’re scouring the city for lone wolves just like Taryn. Until the General North American Assembly of Werewolves lends a plan of action, Kiara’s small pack is on lockdown in a friend’s apartment, where she and Taryn must face the differences that drove them apart. Furthermore, the longer the group waits, the more it seems the Huntsmen haven’t been acting entirely on their own.
I wanted to like this book more than I did. I truly tried to like it more than I could. There was something missing in this story that kept me from enjoying it as much as the first one. Kiara and Ryn weren’t as engaging and the suspense plot wasn’t as exciting. There were some great scenes and funny lines. But overall this story didn’t live up to the expectations set by the first book.
Kiara was a strong character. She protected her family and pack. She was a quick thinker and wanted the best for everyone around her. However she was constantly second guessing her actions and didn’t act like a leader as often as I expected an heir-apparent to. In the flash backs she seemed to lose herself and her core values too easily to Ryn. She didn’t fight for what she believed in and what mattered to her. It was hard to see Kiara’s feelings for Ryn. Both in the flash backs and present day. They never really talked or reconnected in any real way beyond the physical. They were put in a tense situation where they couldn’t leave each other’s side for a few days. But I didn’t feel those emotions from them.
I didn’t like Ryn through most of the story. She constantly harped on Kiara to change and sacrifice but wasn’t willing to give anything in return. She never respected Kiara’s wishes and decisions for herself and berated Kiara when she stood up for herself. It was made clear Ryn didn’t like packs, or any rules for the safety of herself and werewolves as a whole. But we never learn why. She gives a few flippant responses. But she comes off whiney, self centered and reckless.
There were some wonderful scenes throughout the story. Plus I adored seeing Deanna and Jamie again. Cole and Nathan are so much fun in this story and their tension grows. I loved seeing how that’s progressing. My favorite live in the story was “You only like him because he looks like a lesbian”. It was a throw away line that if I hadn’t paused there in my reading for real life, I would have missed the hilarity of that line. It was such an appropriate response and quick humor, you couldn’t help but laugh. There were other little snippets of levity throughout and I thoroughly enjoyed those. I still desperately want Cole and Nathan to get together and get their own story.
Kiara and Ryn don’t build much of a relationship through most of the story. Despite their physical relationship, they don’t connect much in the story. It isn’t until towards they end they talk about dating and actually wanting to be together for real. They are very clearly going to try and make a relationship work this time around. But they still have so much more to deal with personally as a couple before I would consider them together, let alone in love.
Three and a half
I’m quite excited to have Kiara share a letter with us today. She wrote to a younger version of herself and gave some advice. It’s a letter you don’t want to miss. Read and enjoy!
Hi. It’s older you (older me?). I know this is weird, trust me, I know. But Deanna suggested it and you know how she is when she gets something in her head – or, I guess actually you don’t. You haven’t met her yet.
You’re twenty-three, and you’re still putting your life back together. You think Ryn broke something in you. You think you won’t ever love again. You think the cost is too high. You think the love you have in your life already; Mom, Dad, Cole, Jamie, the rest of the pack, you think that’s enough. And it is, for a while. It’s good. You’re happy enough.
And you do start dating again. I know you stopped, for a long time, but you pick it up. There’s a boy, and he’s sweet. He’s soft in the ways you are not, and you feel gentle with him. There’s a girl who takes you out on her motorbike, and it’s the closest to running with the pack you’ve felt with a human.
You go to a different school. You still talk to Sophia—she’s married now, two kids. You went to her wedding and though you refused to admit it, you cried during her first dance. She kept her hair short. She says it’s easier now, with the kids. You don’t see each other that often, but you email a few times a year.
You become who you want to be. It isn’t perfect, and getting there wasn’t easy, but you become someone you can be proud of. Pack is first, still, always. Always, always. But pack means something different now.
I don’t want to tell you too much. I don’t… I don’t want to tell you how it works out. I know this isn’t actually a letter to you, and I know nothing I say here would have actually influenced anything, because this is just a silly journaling exercise that Deanna talked you (me?) into doing, but – I still don’t want to tell you the hows and the whys.
You figure it out. It isn’t easy. It isn’t fun. But it’s good. You stay strong and you stay fierce and you stay you. You learn how to compromise, and you learn to temper your, well, temper. You aren’t so angry all the time. You go to yoga, believe it or not. And you like it!
You are happy and you are loved. Then and now.
“You can’t come back here.”
Confronted by an upheld palm, Kiara halted at the stairs that led backstage.
“This area is for performers only.” The Latina woman’s face was set in bored lines; her yellow shirt identified her as one of the club’s staff. Clearly it was not the first time she’d turned someone away that night.
“Look, I’m meeting—”
“Hun, I don’t care if you’re meeting Evan Rachel Wood herself. Performer’s only.” The woman enunciated the last part without managing to pull her attention from the room behind Kiara.
The prickling behind Kiara’s eyes mounted and was echoed in the flesh of her gums.
“Maria, hey.” Ryn pushed back the black curtain. “Come on, let her through.”
“Tar—” Reluctance was heavy in the woman’s voice. “You know I’m not supposed to.”
“I won’t tell if you won’t, ‘kay? This is my girlfriend. We won’t cause any trouble. Promise.” Ryn held out her hand past Maria.
Kiara placed her hand in Ryn’s and plastered a smile across her face. “I’ll be good.” She added a flutter of her eyelashes and coaxed a blush to her cheeks. Ryn’s skin was hot under her palm. Touching Ryn had always felt like touching the sun.
“You’d better be,” Maria warned as she stepped aside and let Kiara through.
“Thank you.” Ryn winked at Maria, and Kiara heard the woman’s heartbeat accelerate in response. With a valiant effort, Kiara swallowed her huff of annoyance.
The back of the stage was dimly lit. Ryn kept Kiara’s hand in hers as she led the way, deftly avoiding the few other performers who loitered about, waiting for their turns on stage.
“We have to go,” Kiara repeated. She spoke more loudly now that they were away from everyone else.
“I heard you the first time.”
“Then what are we doing?” Kiara’s fingers curled perfectly around Ryn’s. She wanted to yank her hand free. She wanted to kiss the spot where they fit so well together.
“I have to get my bag.”
Ten years. Surely ten years was long enough for feelings to fade, for the memory of what they had been to dull. She shouldn’t feel the bright hurt, the greedy hunger, as though it had been yesterday.
In the back of her head a siren screamed, a warning that she didn’t have time for this. Kiara’s grip on Ryn’s hand tightened involuntarily.
“I’m not leaving it. There’s five thousand dollars’ worth of equipment in there.”
“Ryn, you heard me. The Huntsmen are here.”
“Maybe.” They reached a set of lockers, and Ryn wriggled her fingers free of Kiara’s. “Aren’t you the one who told me they’re a myth? Do you really think they’d show up in Vancouver? At a drag king show?” But even as she spoke she opened the locker door and pulled free a large duffle bag.
“Werewolves are supposed to be myths, too.”
“And yet,” Ryn conceded. She slung the bag over her shoulder. “My bike is out front.”
Michelle Osgood writes queer, feminist romance from her tiny apartment in Vancouver, BC. She loves stories in all media, especially those created by Shonda Rhimes, and dreams of one day owning a wine cellar to rival Olivia Pope’s. She is active in Vancouver’s poly and LGBTQ communities, never turns down a debate about pop culture, and is trying to learn how to cook. Her first novel, The Better to Kiss You With, was published by Interlude Press in 2016.
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