The Hawk's Bride by Rebecca L. Gillen
The Wild Lords series
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (58 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Orchid
Banished as a child, Lucan Hawk has grown to be a bitter warlord with a bad reputation. Now someone is killing the king's heirs. King Patton wants him named heir, assuming a shifter lord trained by black elves will be a harder target for an assassin. But Luc can't forgive his uncle for allowing the banishment ten years ago. Then he's offered a boon he can't refuse--the right to marry the only woman he ever loved!
Caitriona, a human-born cat shifter, was orphaned as a young child and brought to Aintoch to be raised by the captain of the guard. Feisty and beautiful, Cait was Luc's childhood best friend and teen sweetheart. Though she knew she could never marry her elfin lover, she never forgot him. The night Luc comes for her, she thinks she's dreaming. But the dream turns to a nightmare when the assassin targets her!
Hawk by name - Wolf by nature.
Lucan Hawk defends himself when his uncaring father attacks him for protecting the only other shape shifter in the castle. The King then banishes Luc to the protection of the Wild Lords.
Many years later the King recalls Luc to become his heir. This is due to the sudden death of the heirs close to the throne. Luc agrees as long as he can marry a woman of his own choosing. The King agrees with one proviso, the maiden must be someone of his household. Both know Luc will choose Cait, the cat shifter he protected so many years ago.
Luc, tall dark and with the dangerous personality of a wolf, is the only one for Cait. They protect one another from the dangerous, jealous elements in the castle. The deaths of the previous heirs look like accidents, but were they?
Luc is one of those dangerous but gorgeous males a woman can't resist. Cait is sweet but with the athletic, fighting abilities of a cat. Many courtiers believe Cait is not good enough to become queen, but only a handful decide to take matters into their own hands. Luc is aware of the danger from these renegades. He's also aware his ability to keep himself under control might falter if Cait is hurt. He might release the wolf to run free.
This book, although short, is compelling reading. Dark and dangerous, svelte and catlike, two wonderful main characters who merge into one. I thought the ones who tried to tear them apart were fools. They might get rid of Cait but this didn't mean Luc would do as they wanted. The story was at times fast paced, at others leisurely and emotional. The shape shifting came to the fore in a very natural and acceptable way. I'm not a great fan of shape shifting books, but I liked this one as this aspect did not overshadow every page. It took its place in the natural progression of the story. A good book to ease the reader into this genre.