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Monday, November 8, 2010

Wolf’s Den by Aileen Harkwood

Wolf’s Den by Aileen Harkwood
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (109 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Waking with amnesia in a body made for sin, Luka is a woman with an identity crisis. Not only doesn't she know her last name, why can't she remember the intense stranger with wolfen eyes who makes her want to howl with sexual hunger? Why has he accused her of a gruesome murder she knows she didn't commit?

Griffin is a wolf in mourning, sworn to bring his mate's killer to justice. His beloved Anya has just died of the bloodsong, a ritual magic forbidden among his people, in which the wolf can be called out in anyone, even humans such as Anya, who can't survive the transformation. How is it, then, that when he looks into her killer's eyes he sees not a murderess, but his own mysterious destiny?

Love transcends the impossible in this story of rebirth and second chances.

Luka a/k/a Isabelle wakes up to a scene from a horror movie except for her it’s all too real and about to get much worse. In her a reader sees the strength and resiliency of the human mind as she struggles to make sense of what is happening and what’s happened. On top of that the heroine needs to tackle the impossible task before her; learning who to trust in the middle of a snow storm tracked by a ruthless and psychopathic killer and figure out why she’s so confused about the other man who wants her dead and wants to kiss her at the same time. It sure seems a lot for one woman to do especially when she doesn’t even know who she really is. The author uses the techniques of flashbacks/memories to help a reader understand just what’s at stake and what is really happening to Luka. A reader will see a confused woman slowly morph into woman of strength.

Griff is the man tormented by grief, regret, fury and the resignation to duty with the expectation of his own death. That is a ton of baggage to carry around for any man. On top of that is his massive confusion. He should hate and abhor the woman who killed his mate and true love right? So why is his wolf conflicted? It should have been a crystal clear duty and yet something is driving his instincts barmy. The author allows a reader to get into his Griff’s head, to experience his loss, his anger and his disbelief of what his very own eyes tell him, never mind his nose.

As the story unfolds, the reader learns valuable clues through the dialogue between Griff and Luka that hints to an impossible hope. It was nice watching what I believe to be Griff and Luka/Isabelle falling in love despite all that happens in the book. As the story continued, and with the prophesy revealed, it all fell into place or so I was led to believe. I thought I knew where the author was going with the HEA until I got there and realized it was not at all how I imagined it was going to play out. For me that lifted the book higher in my estimation.

The conflicts are internal and external. The secondary characters are few and most of them aren’t very nice. The dialogue was key in helping a reader understand the dynamics of the relationship between the hero and the heroine, and the sense of panic, anxiety and fear permeates most of the book as effectively as if a reader was actually there. No small feat. The sense of relief and wonder that I got at the end was the result of a very intense climax full of action and uncertainty. It kept me riveted.

Wolf’s Den is a book that will take readers on a roller coaster ride of emotions. I experienced the gamut of feelings that allowed me to connect with both Griff and Luka. After everything they fought for and almost died for numerous times throughout their ordeal, the happily ever after was well worth it. I wish there’d been an epilogue because I wanted to enjoy the astounding ending a bit longer. Wolf’s Den is a well told tale and worth the read.

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