Author ~ Piper Vaughn and Kenzie Cade
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 16 November 2015
Genre ~ Paranormal M/M Romance
In the four months since hedgehog shifter Avery Babineaux started investigating the disappearance of a young female werewolf from the Portland Pack, he’s discovered his life’s passion. Now he’s apprenticing under established PI Corbin Reid. Avery hopes his training with Reid will help him finally bring Lacey home, but detective work isn’t without its perils, and the potential dangers strain his relationship with his new mate, Dylan.
Dylan Green would be perfectly content with his mating and his motorcycle shop if it wasn’t for his constant worry about Avery’s safety and the fact that Avery’s never home. Proud as he might be of Avery’s determination to prove his worth and fulfill his promise to Lacey’s father, Dylan can’t stand the thought of Avery being hurt. Yet what right does he have to demand Avery give up his job when it’s clear Avery’s found his true purpose? Still, Dylan wishes he could, and the appearance of a new police detective who sets his sights on Avery only adds to the tension.
Something has to give, but stubbornness runs in both their veins, and it might take a catastrophe for them to find a compromise they can live with.
The story picks up a few months after the end of Prickly Business. Avery is now an apprentice to private investigator Corbin Reid, a falcon shifter, working towards his own license. In addition to his work with Reid, he is continuing his hunt for missing pack member Lacey. All of this is taking its toll on his ability to spend time with his mate, Dylan. While Dylan is supportive of Avery, he misses his mate and the constant worry over Avery’s safety has him spending many nights tailing Avery as he works.
While the mating of Avery and Dylan was completed in the last book, the relationship was still very new. We know that they were compatible, but that the learning curve would be steep just based on their differences. One stumbling block highlighted in this story is the differences in the nature of Avery’s hedgehog and Dylan’s wolf. Avery is trying his hardest to fit in as a member of Dylan’s pack, but hedgehogs are not pack animals and there are times when Avery needs to be alone. He also doesn’t completely understand Dylan’s intense ties to the pack. There are several times this comes up in the story, one being Dylan’s insistence that he and Avery attend Avery’s brother’s wedding. Dylan would like to see Avery attempt a reconciliation with his disapproving family, holding out hope they might accept their relationship despite Avery’s warnings. When Avery grudgingly agrees to the trip, not for the sake of attending the wedding, but more as a getaway to New Orleans with Dylan and their friends, Dylan gets a front row seat to the differences between his and Avery’s families. The trip also shows just how much Avery has grown and it was wonderful seeing him stand up for himself and Dylan.
The mystery of Lacey’s disappearance continues throughout this book, with Avery not letting up even as the investigation gets more dangerous. I thought the storyline played out really well with quite a bit of tension and action. It was hard to tell who to trust and who was up to no good. It also served to introduce a new pack member, Detective Heath Ribeiro, who is assigned to head the Trafficking Task Force.
As in the first, I loved the scenes with Avery in his animal form, whether he is running with the pack or hiding away when stressed, his nature really shows through. Although the focus seems to be on Avery, Dylan is not forgotten. He is a strong loyal presence throughout the story, dealing with his best friend Lucas pulling away, his father’s continued bad behavior and his fear for Avery. His protective streak runs deep and is on full display in this book both in his human and wolf forms as is his sexy, dominant nature. The chemistry between him and Avery is even stronger in this book than it was in the first.
It was great to see how pack members Lucas, Sawyer and Kirk embrace Avery as one of their own even as they are dealing with their own issues. There are glimpses of these other wolves finding mates and dealing with heartbreak and I’m looking forward to their stories playing out in the upcoming books, especially those of Jaden, whose life changes when he meets Detective Ribeiro and Lucas, who is struggling with his own personal issues.
This was a very good follow up to the first story, wrapping up the lingering mystery and starting some new story threads. I loved how the relationship between Dylan and Avery grew and how Avery has changed from the self-absorbed brat he started out as to a compassionate man who can stand on his own, but knows he doesn’t need to. With their HEA cemented, I’m still looking forward to glimpses of them in future books.