Naomi wasn’t aware of the supernatural world living which existed just steps away from her own backyard not until she finds a wolf caught in a trap at the edge of her ranch. A wolf who suddenly changed into a man. Little did she know that that would be the least shocking of the changes which would rock her world.
Wes has spent the last few years trying to atone for the mistakes he made as the leader of the Wild Eight pack. He grew up believing that his pack was the “good guys” but as an adult he can clearly see the way he and the others were manipulated and the pain and destruction they caused with their selfish actions. He still can’t understand why the pack master of the Grey Wolves allowed him to live when he turned himself over to his enemy for punishment.
Since that day, he has tried to keep his head down, do his work and stay out of the way of the rest of the pack. Wes’s biggest problem is that there is too much of the Alpha in him, the dominant who led the Wild Eights, that he can’t sit back submissively when he disagrees with the pack master’s orders. That’s what leads him into the trap set by his former pack members and what leads him to chase them onto the neighboring ranch and get his paw stuck in a trap. Bad goes to worse when Naomi shows up with a shotgun to put him out of his misery, so unless he wants to die like a rabid animal, Wes has no choice but to shift in front of the human. Pack law deems that no human can know about their kind, but Wes has enough innocent blood on his hands already and he refuses to add Naomi’s to it.
Now he is stuck babysitting the human until the pack makes a decision what to do with her, and he knows that while he sits around waiting, his old pack is up to something. Something big that will lead to the destruction of his new pack. He needs to hunt down his old pack to get answers but will further defiance of the pack master lead to Wes’s death and Naomi with him?
This was a good romance of two lonely people, who never fit into their respective social groups and were always on the outside, who find someone who understands. As not only a female rancher, but one of Native American blood, Naomi doesn’t find much acceptance among her peers or even her ranch hands and spends most of her time alone. Wes stays away from his new pack, who even after years of being with them, they aren’t sure if they want to trust him. He works with the horses and often beds down at the stables rather than going back to his room in the main house.
To keep Wes busy and away from the trouble stirring with is former packmates, Wes is told to keep an eye on the human he brought to the pack’s ranch. In light of the fact that they are forced to spend a great deal of time together, these two lonely people confess a lot of their inner secrets to each other about their lives, including why they segregate themselves, simply because it is always easier to confess to a stranger your deepest secrets. This time together really forges a strong bond between these two while the pack law which deems human/shifter relationships as taboo keeps their physical attraction simmering on a slow boil.
I figured that since most of the story had been spent on building the relationship between Wes and Naomi, that we were going to jump into a fight between the packs and the story would be over, but I was quite surprised to see that I was only 30 percent into the story.
For a first story in a series, I was quite impressed by the fact that we had time for a solid romance but there was also plenty time spent on world building, getting an introduction to the secondary characters in Wes’s pack, meeting the other leaders in the seven shifter packs (bears, mountain lions, etc) and we even got a look at the human organization, the Execution Underground, who hunt the shifters, vampires and other “baddies” that go bump in the night.
There was a lot of story here and I was really impressed that the author was able to strike such a balance between introducing of all the characters, keeping the story interesting, tossing in enough skirmishes to keep it exciting and still giving us a solid romance between Wes and Naomi where we weren’t force into accepting insta-love in order to keep everything else moving.
I already have a copy of Cowboy in Wolf’s Clothing (Book 2) and I am looking forward to seeing where we go now that the groundwork has been laid out in the world building.