Carina Press, $5.99, ISBN 978-1-4268-9012-3
Fantasy Romance, 2010
Dee Tenorio usually writes contemporary romances, so imagine my surprise when Tempting the Enemy comes my way and I realize that it is a werewolf romance. Well, this is going to be interesting.
The mood is set in the gripping prologue – this is not a romantic comedy with furry people. This is a police procedural tale set in an alternate Earth. We have our hero Palen “Pale” Ryson working for the Violent Crimes Unit, but these guys are more than aware of their shortcomings when it comes to solving crimes compared to, say, people with woo-woo like witches and worse. And trust me, these folks aren’t too pleased about that, heh.
Pale is not too pleased when his bosses call in the witch folks called the Order of the Sibile to help in his latest case: some serial killer on a killing spree, leaving three dead bodies in his or her wake. The VCU can’t come up with anything despite three days of sleepless dedication, so the panic button is hit and the Sibile is called in. When the Sibile shows up, these VCU guys are spoiling for a fight, especially when their masculine ego is bruised from having to defer to a woman.
Did I mention that Pale is a werewolf? He’s the Alpha. Of course he is. Our Sibile heroine, Jade-Scarlet, turns out not only to be a witch but also an unmarked werewolf. And in heat, woo-hoo! Not only do our lovely couple have to solve a case before the serial killer strikes again, they also have to deal with their intense biological impulse to do the doggy and make ten million babies to star in future werewolf romances.
Tempting the Enemy is a curious book in the sense that I am drawn to the world building due to the engaging manner utilized by the author as she slowly reveals bits and pieces of the setting. There are many things that will seem familiar to someone who has read more than a few werewolf stories, but these things come together very nicely here. There is tension building up nicely and there is also great atmosphere here to create a most suspenseful vibe. While under any circumstances, the secrets hogged by our characters, especially the heroine, would be an annoying contrivance to prolong the suspense, here, the use of such plot device fits the context nicely. And there is ample sexual tension between Pale and Jade as well, with some of their interactions skirting the boundary between passion and violence in a most erotic manner.
But – and here’s a pretty big “but” – the whole werewolf thing has been done so many times before, I end up feeling rather indifferent to the romance between Pale and Jade. It’s hard to invest emotions into a relationship that I have read before many times, after all. The whole “I’m a hot male wolf! You’re in season! I am going to explode if we don’t shag, wooh!” thing has been overdone and even played out as far as I’m concerned. There are plenty of reasons for these two to remain suspicious of each other, but, unfortunately, the whole hormones gone wild thing seems to be the only overriding reason to make them both mates for life.
Tempting the Enemy is a readable story, with the author weaving some great tension and tangible fear in the atmosphere to make this one a gripping romantic suspense tale. Now, if only the werewolf mate-mate-mate thing has been played out in a less clichéd manner, or, heck, if the werewolf aspect had been removed entirely, this book might just be something amazing instead of merely a pretty solid and entertaining read.