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Friday, March 26, 2010

Born to Be Wild by Christine Warren

Born to Be Wild by Christine Warren
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full (325 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

A Novel of The Others #7

Josie Barrett brings out the animal in men. Literally. As the local veterinarian in a town that’s approximately seventy percent Others—mostly shapeshifters—Josie deals with beastly situations all the time. It’s practically part of her job description. But when the werewolves of Stone Creek, Oregon, start turning downright feral, Josie smells a rat—among other, more dangerous critter.

Teaming up with the ferociously sexy Eli Pace, a full-time sheriff and part-time were-lion, Josie tries to contain the shapeshifting problem before it spreads like a virus. But when more shifters get infected—and stuck in their animal forms—the fur really begins to fly. Josie and Eli have to find the cause, fast, before the whole town goes to the dogs. But first, they have to wrestle with a few animal urges of their own.

Born to be Wild embraces the gamut of storytelling from a mysterious threat wreaking havoc and circumventing a budding romance to a diabolical plan with far reaching consequences and the race against time to stop it.

If a reader enjoys that spiraling out of control ‘what’s-going-to-happen-now’ feeling in their romantic suspense books then this book should be a winner. It starts off so innocently. Josie is the heroic veterinarian who takes on the care of an injured wolf and gets sucked into a situation that could turn a CDC tech’s hair instantly white. She is a dedicated, hard-working and easy to be with person but Josie also is someone you can count on in an emergency. She’ll have your back. And that’s just the type of personality that would appeal to a man of the law.

Sheriff Eli Pace likes that stubborn streak in her. She’s more than a match for him although those same traits he admires drives him nuts too. Eli is a lion shifter and he is usually a loner. I like it when a loner isn’t alone anymore, when they find their other half. It’s so romantic.

My favorite interplay between Josie and Eli takes place when I got to see his POV, and he’s so proud of himself too. He figures he knows what he is doing when he courts Josie and mentally pats himself on the back. The snickers came when I got Josie’s take on the same situation and she’s practically got steam pouring out of her ears. That male/female disconnect makes for some pretty funny reading.

The conflict and villain are insidious. Ms. Warren definitely did her research and it shows. There were quite a few references to situations and information which would have done The X-Files proud. As it is, once the culprits are revealed, I was stunned to realize I’d met the sickos before in previous books in this series. Never did it dawn on me who was behind it all. When the big climactic confrontation and showdown occurred, I found it to be…toned down. Not at all like a Terminator blood bath, more like the wrap up scene in the A-Team series. The best part about that was how it lit off a light bulb in Eli’s head about Josie. Even amongst all that testosterone and action, there was that perfect moment, like the final brush stroke of a master painter, when they finally ‘got’ each other.

The secondary characters were fleeting at best. Not a lot of time was spent getting to know them. They were there to support the activity in the plot or the relationship between the hero and heroine and that’s pretty much it. There were a few parts with the local pack alpha that I wasn’t impressed with. The way he was written pretty much turned me off. I didn’t respect him because he wasn’t available when he should have been. No excuses. At one point, if he'd been a real person, I’d have been yelling at him to ‘wake up!’ and whacked him aside the head. As it is, I give a loud harrumph to him.

Born To Be Wild kept me flipping those pages with the exciting plot, the scrambling of the characters trying to solve the mystery before it’s too late, and Eli’s very sensual, romantic and typical alpha male pursuit of Josie, his other half. I didn’t stop reading from the moment I opened the book until I got to the sigh-inducing final page. I felt it was time well spent and would recommend this book to anyone who likes a healthy dose of intrigue with their kisses.