by Heather Long
Series: Wolves of River Bend, #9
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Ranae is the youngest of the Buckleys, and the only girl amongst three powerful male siblings. Her restlessness and dominant nature has affected every relationship within Willow Bend, not to mention testing the patience of her Alpha. Apprenticeship to the Hunters fed her desire for a purpose. When her Alpha and eldest brother ask her to undertake a mission to the Yukon territory, she’s thrilled at the opportunity for a real chance to be useful. Clashing with the Alpha was the last thing she expected on the dangerous assignment.
The oldest Alpha in the U.S. packs, lives a gray existence. The loss of his mate so many decades before wears away at him, until he doesn’t give a damn about anything. The problems of the other packs are not his, and he prefers to be left to his isolation. The arrival of the Chief Enforcer annoys him, but it is the wolf traveling with him who wakes the predator in Diesel. The scent of mate clings to her, but she rejects his overtures and challenges him on every level.
Another fantastic book from Heather Long! I just love her Wolves of Willow Bend series and Snow Wolf had everything I expected and then some. One of my favorite things about Heather Long’s writing is she immediately pulls you into the world she has created and makes you feel like you really know the characters. Each pack that she writes about definitely has their own personality and it doesn’t take long to see what is below the surface of the Yukon pack – a pack that is filled with care and concern for one another and takes care of their own.
I absolutely loved Diesel. He may be the oldest alpha in the US packs, but that has only made him wiser when it comes to taking care of his pack and learning that being patient can bring you great rewards. The loss of his mate many years ago has left him scarred and a bit aloof, and he really just wants to be left alone by the other US packs. When Julian, the Chief Enforcer, arrives in his territory carrying not only news of a potential threat to Diesel’s pack, but also carrying the scent of a potential mate, Diesel is intrigued. And once he meets Ranae he knows that it’s going to take more than just telling her “Mine” to accept him as her mate – and is more than looking forward to that challenge and all the fun that promises to bring!
I wasn’t too certain about Ranae at first. She has some definite anger issues and is more likely to act out rather than think things through – all things that her training as a Hunter is helping her work on. She definitely feels like this mission into the Yukon has given her a chance to prove herself to her family and more importantly her Alpha. What she doesn’t expect is to meet a man who she can’t decide if she wants to punch or climb like a tree…and he has her doing both! She is not amused by Diesel’s claiming and wants no part of being mated to a stodgy, set in his ways, aloof Alpha who lives in the middle of the tundra, but she has a job to do and Diesel is more than willing to take advantage of that fact to keep her with him while he tries to change her mind. Ranae also isn’t prepared for the man she finds beneath the surface, one who encourage her and appreciates her skills and abilities, one who doesn’t try to be over-protective but rather allows her to take care of him as much as he takes care of her…and it’s all these things that has her finding it hard to resist her attraction to him.
Diesel and Ranae together were so perfectly suited to one another. As an alpha, Diesel needs a strong, dominant mate to help him lead his pack. Once he recognizes that Ranae offers just that, he also recognizes that she has to accept him and cannot be forced into anything. I loved that Diesel was always open and honest with Ranae, and when he finally gets her to trust him enough to be the same, you can just feel how right they are together. I loved watching him surprise her time after time with his acceptance of her skills and her ability to take care of herself. He trusts her to watch his back and even though he still feels the need to protect, he also quickly recognizes that she is capable of holding her own and truly can be his other half, from the bedroom to the battlefield. When trouble finds its way into Diesel’s territory and his instinct is to play lone wolf to solve the problem and protect not just Ranae, his mate, but his entire pack, I just love how Ranae takes a page out of Diesel’s playbook to ensure that his plan has the best chance of success – I think that’s when I totally fell in love with Ranae!
I loved getting to spend some time with some characters from previous books and learning more about the threat from the Russian wolves. There are so many characters between the different packs, and I love watching the packs become more intertwined as matings occur between packs and they have to stand together to face the threat that has touched all of them.
Individually each of the books in this series are fabulous and can be read as stand-alones, but there is an over-arching story arc that is just so wonderfully woven together throughout the series that it would be a shame not to start this series from the beginning. I highly recommend this book and series to anyone.