Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 1-59998-919-0
Fantasy Romance, 2008
Wait a minute, tigers live in packs? And they have an alpha? “Alpha cat” is a term used to describe a particularly aggressive cat, yes, but the use of “alpha” in the context of this story is more appropriate if we are talking about shapeshifting doggy types rather than felines. Let me guess, Kaye Chambers changed all references in her story from wolves to tigers to meet the submission requirement for the On the Prowl line, am I right?
Oh yes, the story. This is marketed as an urban fantasy style romance, which, in today’s climate of generic homogeneity, simply means that the heroine is telling the story from her first person point of view. Don’t worry, folks, the soulmate thing is still here.
Princess Alexandra “Sasha” DeStephano is the Tiger Princess. Wait, they have tigers in America? Maybe there was a mass migration from, say, India to Savannah and New York some time in the last century when people were not looking. That doesn’t explain how these Tigers have names like “DeStephano” and “DeRusso” though. Back to Sasha, she is actually an outcast of sorts since her family was blacklisted by the other DeSomething families when her parents decided that they would not raise her among the pack politics of the wolves. Oops, I mean, cats. But Sasha’s bloodline and pedigree mean that the other DeSomethings will summon her back to play out her rightful role. Soon she becomes a pawn in some potentially sinister game that the “rogue alpha” Colton Reyes is playing with the DeSomethings.
The problem with this story is that, after all that information dumping from the author about the various DeSomething families, the story ends in an utterly anticlimactic “Wait… so that’s it?” manner that leaves me scratching my head and wondering why the author has put all that effort into details when she’s just going to end her story that way. Also, I’m not sure whether I would trust Cole were I Sasha because that man hasn’t been upfront and honest with her, but in this story, “soulmate” is just another shortcut for true love that doesn’t ring real.
It is not as if this story features non-stop hot sex scenes, so I don’t know why this story exists in its current half-baked form. I won’t find easy titillation in this story to overlook everything else. Tiger by the Tail is too much like a longer story that is cut short for some reason. Ms Chambers should have expanded this one into a longer story before selling it, if you ask me. This one has some interesting promise, the whole “tigers have alphas” thing notwithstanding, but the execution does the author and her characters no favors at all.