This is book three of Terry Spear’s Werewolves Series; note that you do not have to read the books in order. I would advise it purely because there are relationships referenced from previous books that improve the readability.
Tessa lives on the coast and finds a handsome man washed onto the beach as she goes to collect firewood during a winter storm. The mysterious man, Hunter is a lupus garou who has lost his memory because of a fall into the icy water. They are instantaneously attracted to each other, but they are cautious to start a relationship because they don’t know if he is married/mated. She has a stalker and Hunter offers to stay in the house and protect her and discover if her brother has been framed for a murder he did not commit. Hijinks ensue.
The catch of course in this story is that her stalker is a beta lupus garou who wants her. Hunter recognizes this and feels the need to protect her and if her brother’s girlfriend was killed by a lupus garou, then he has to deal with it in his own way as opposed to using the human justice system.
I really enjoyed the Alpha character of Hunter. Ms. Spear tends to write male characters that are not assholes, if you forgive my language. This is refreshing to read about an Alpha male who is kind and considerate, rather than arrogant and snarly. He is dominant, but softer edged than you might find in a J.R. Ward book for example. Again we get to see how Ms. Spear integrates wolf characteristics into a human in a very sexy method. For example, here is a quote from the novel:
Her gaze shot up and he sensed her fear—the look in her eyes, the smell of it on her skin, the hint of perspiration on her brow, the tension in every muscle returning.
Tessa’s character is that of a loving sister who struggles to deal with this new world of lupus garou as she figures out that something just isn’t right. She is not the strongest female lead I have run into, in fact that is one of the challenges that she faces is that she might not be Alpha enough to be a love match to Hunter. However, there are moments when she is a spitfire and you are pumping your fist for her:
The first man seized her arm and dragged her toward the truck. She dug in her heels and tried to jerk free. With as quick a move as she could manage, she slipped her right leg in front of him, and he tripped and fell.
The weakness of this book is in the tropey behavior. That being said, it was difficult for me to find a theme. Hunter must overcome his preconceived notions of what he should look for in a woman, and Tess must gain the self confidence to believe that she is good enough for Hunter.
The strengths of this book are in the relationships we see in the beginning of a new pack and how the characters relate to each other. We see how betas communicate and fall into the hierarchy and how Alphas work together in a crisis. There is plenty of sexy time and relationship development between Hunter and Tessa as he resolves if he can turn her or not. It has been something he was against before.
What could be better?
The downside of this book (and perhaps series) is that the conflicts are pretty stereotypical romance. For example, he washes up on the beach hurt with his memory lost, typical. Her brother’s been convicted of a murder he didn’t commit and she needs help proving his innocence, typical. Hunter tries to fight his attraction because she’s not one of his kind, typical. This book is full of tropes and most of the other books fall into other trope circumstances. So we have in essence The Bourne Identity, The Fugitive, and Romeo and Juliet.
This makes it sound like it was a bad book, but I don’t want to leave you with that impression. It is a book that I read often when I want some fun, light reading. This is a well-written book, the relationship between Tessa and Hunter is compelling, the dialogue is interesting and the sex scenes pretty steamy. While the situations are contrived, how Ms. Spear handles them is entertaining. I would start with book two of the series and see if you like it. If you enjoy book 2 then you will like the series as a whole.