Reviewed by Helyce
One minute Jared is enjoying a beautiful morning, having coffee with his alpha and fellow pack mates, the next he’s vaulting over the railing and running from two men who recognize him. He’s assuming it has something to do with a woman, but he’s not sticking around to find out. As he runs, he finds himself boarding a cruise ship docked at the harbor. When the staff assumes he’s someone else, he goes along with it, thinking he’ll disembark as soon as the coast is clear.
Keri Smith is working on the cruise ship as a favor to her friend Tessa. When Jared launches himself onto the ship and stumbles past her, she is overwhelmed by his scent and is almost positive she’s met her mate. Bad timing would be an understatement and she plans on fighting the mating until the cruise is over. She does not want to let Tessa down and acknowledging the mating would literally put her out of commission for the duration.
When circumstances throw them together, they can’t fight the mating any longer. But when passengers start reporting that items have been stolen from their rooms and it appears that Jared is the thief, they will have to work together quickly to get to the bottom of the mystery and reveal the real offender.
Vivian Arend has fast become a favorite author of mine. When Mandi offered me Wolf Line and I realized it was book 5, I quickly snatched up books 1-4 and did a marathon read and I’m so glad that I did. It was great to get to know the major characters and get a good feel of the Granite Lake Wolves before jumping into book 5.
I really enjoyed the idea of a shifter only cruise. Passengers can wander around in their animal form freely without fear of discovery, able to just enjoy themselves in a safe environment. When Jared boards the ship, he’s mistaken for a fellow pack mate named Mark and he goes with it in order get away from the men trying to catch him. When the ship begins to leave the dock and he’s stuck on board, he continues with the ruse, taking on the duties as if he had been hired for the job himself.
Jared has a couple of secrets and as this is a short story, it would be too spoilerish to reveal either of them but I will say that one of them causes Keri a lot of grief. Once she realizes that Jared/Mark is her mate, she is overwhelmed with need to act on the mating and get busy with him ASAP. However, every time she sees him around the ship and he politely ignores her, she becomes even more confused and frustrated. At one point, she resorts to sneaking into his room when she knows he’s not there, just to roll around in his bed and wrap his scent around her.
The intrigue provided by the plot of the thefts on the ship is woven in a way that keeps you guessing. The case of mistaken identity takes on an even bigger role when Jared/Mark is recognized by a prominent family on board the ship who are more than happy to play along with the ruse when they realize that Jared has found his mate.
While I’m not a big fan of the novella, I’m always impressed when an author can pull off a story that grabs me right away, provides intrigue and suspense, gives me a hero and heroine who really complement each other well and is able to do it in only 100 or so pages. In this Ms. Arend succeeds. In addition, there is quite a bit of humor in this story and for me that is always a plus!