Favorite Quote: “Maybe a marriage of convenience to a wicked wolf wasn’t so bad after all.”
Reviewed by Tori
Roguish. Reckless. Unreliable.
Raff Pineda has a certain reputation among the Animari. He’s the one to call if there’s a party starting, not the man to rely on when all hell breaks loose. Though he’s nominally the leader of the Pine Ridge pack, he defers to his second on the tough calls. Raff prefers to live fast and hard and keep his heart hidden, but a certain Eldritch princess won’t fall for his usual tricks, and their contract political marriage may be anything but convenient.
Ambitious. Elegant. Isolated.
Princess Thalia Talfayen may not have been raised by a witch in a tower, but she’s spent the last few decades locked up for a failed insurrection. Plotting and scheming come naturally to her; personal connections do not. Since she’s come this far in her unstoppable quest to claim the silver throne, she won’t hesitate to do whatever it takes to unite her people, even if that means giving herself to the big bad wolf… (Goodreads)
The third story in Aguirre’s highly charged adventurous paranormal romance enchants readers with a marriage of convenience that begins as a political strategy and ends as a true love match. Witty, romantic, and yes, jam-packed with intrigue, suspense, and plenty sword swinging, lightning striking, wolf chomping battle scenes. I’ve been a huge fan of this series since its first installment, The Leopard King. A world filled with shifters and other supernaturals co-existing find themselves at war when an extremist faction decides to break the peace treaty in an attempt to rule them all. Aguirre introduces the world and arc in book one, steadily expanding both while building a single couple romance in each installment.
Heavily character driven, Aguirre slides readers into this new installment with nary a bump as her latest couple must not only overcome races issues but also personal ones if they want to survive. Princess Thalia Talfayen is Ediritch (think fae) and is one of four house that rules their people. Locked up by her father for her failed attempt to overthrow him after he broke the peace treaty, she is now free and determined to save her people from more war. She must marry soon in order to secure her throne and avoid a forced marriage to her enemy. After being turned down by the cats (book one), the demon lord (book two) and the bears, Thalia turns her attention to the wolves and their leader, Raff Pineda.
“…she was prepared to do whatever she must to consolidate her hold on Eldritch leadership.”
Raff Pineda, Leader of the Pine Ridge wolf pack, has been the leader of the pack ever since he was forced to commit his father. Considered nothing more than an ignorant playboy who avoids responsibility, Raff is taken back but intrigued by the invitation from Princess Thalia and decides to head to her home to discover what game she is playing.
“The wolf is at your door, Lady Silver. Will you let him in?”
Aguirre does a fantastic job of building the slow burning romance, allowing Raff and Thalia ample time to get to know one another while expanding the arc and moving it in the direction needed. We are given more information on Thalia’s people and her father’s court. Thalia and Raff are perfect together though it takes them a while to see that. Both used and abused by insane fathers, they subconsciously seek different ways to avoid being hurt by anyone again. Raff with his many bed partners and Thalia by holding herself aloof from those around her. Their soft attraction gains in strength with their witty banter and a set of conflicts that force them into life and death situations. Despite Raff’s reputation, he proves himself to be quite the kinky protective romantic and does everything he can to prove to Thalia she is worthy of love.
“The way she trembled against him roused every ferociously protective instinct. Somewhere, there were assholes who wanted to slaughter this bright, lovely creature. Then and there, Raff decided they all had to die, no mercy, no exceptions.”
New faces are introduced while old faces demand our attention. Aguirre makes a few interesting matches as she lays clues towards book four and the possible coming outcome. Amusing dialogue stands out in contrast against the story’s bleak landscape as these two very different races try to find some common ground to build a relationship on.
“The Eldritch are secretive, even when it comes to shit we’d consider common knowledge. Took me damn near ten minutes this morning to get the staff to tell me where the fucking bathhouse is.”
The violence tinged conflict weaves its way in and out of the story though the focus remains heavily on our protagonists and their journey to healing themselves and their people. I was shocked at how easily Thalia’s nemesis was dispatched in the end but applaud the methods.
Once again Aguirre gives readers an action packed romantic adventure well worth the wait and I am looking forward to the next on in the series-The Shadow Warrior.