New Concepts Publishing, $6.49
Fantasy Erotica, 2007
Tendrils of smoke rose ghostly white against the night sky like escaping spirits. Two days had passed and the house had collapsed to one side in a heap of charred beams and ash. No human could have survived such devastation.
James Macleod was not human.
Far beneath the blackened beams, he lay burned, bleeding, and broken, close to death but as yet unable to embrace it. Now and then, he broke the surface of unconsciousness, only to be dragged under again by relentless agony and despair.
The waning moon hid its face as James opened his eyes at last. For a fleeting moment he thought he was blind, then realized night had fallen, although which night it was he had no idea and didn’t care. He was still alive–barely–and didn’t care about that either. His broken ribs screamed at him as he began to cough up more blood and soot, but this time oblivion stubbornly refused to take him back.
Our adventurous heroine Jillian Descharme arrives in Dunvegan Canada shortly after getting the massive bill for veterinary school. She’s there to help out Conner Macleod (all around nice guy and family pimp) at his little veterinary clinic in the big woods and eventually gettin frisky with Conner’s mysterious, tormented, long haired, older brother, James Macleod all doggy style like.
Happy Halloween everyone! The frost, she be on the pumpkin and winter is most definitely on it’s way. So it’s time to stock up on those fuzzy socks and fluffy robes and Swiss Miss Instant Cocoa with Marshmallows. Not to mention some really good “comfort reads” for those long winter nights.
Dani Harper has, I think, written a dang good paranormal “comfort read” right here with Heart of the Winter Wolf. This story is not about ground breaking or risk taking, gonna make you see werewolves in a whole new light kinda way. It does not blast you with mating scene after mating scene. In fact underneath it is actually a slow burn, old school style romance book where the focus stays on the characters and the small events in the growth of the relationship.
In other words the term “Mate!” might be used but not as an excuse for short handing the relationship building between the hero and heroine to get them into bed as quickly as possible. Which happily fits right into the world Dani built here where the magic is simple and invisible, only seen if you catch it at just the right moment. Nothing of huge import or epic proportions happens here, the magic gently helps things along in an practical and natural way making the story feel sensible but not totally predictable.
What really impressed me was despite the HUGE tragic past torment Dani heaps on these characters, they never come across as overly whiny or extremely indecisive angsty “I am such a victim!” messes. Well OK, the hero was the more indecisive angst ridden mess of the two, but I never really stopped liking them both or not understanding where they were coming from. Now that says talent to me big time.
I had to read this book a couple of times to come to a decision in how I felt about it. I enjoyed it, each and every slow moment, but I can see how the lack of action or prominent sex scenes for the first two thirds of the book and the simmering relationship build might drag on certain readers. I also caught a few messy editing mistakes – one particular scene where I could have sworn James is speaking to Jill and suddenly he is Connor – but that’s probably more New Concepts Publishing’s fault than Dani’s.
Heart of the Winter Wolf is a gentle and quiet story and not one you are gonna take big bites out of and finish off in one sitting. It will definitely go great with hot cocoa and fuzzy socks and a long Winter’s night in my opinion.
Grade A for a nice relaxing read. I bought this in paperback also. It’s going on my keeper shelf. Yeah, it’s that good.