by Vivian Arend
This is book 4 of the Takhini Wolves series. Preceding entries have been relatively light fluffy reads that are long in romance and sex but somewhat light on plot and character development, though they have shifted to slightly more serious toned as things have progressed.
In Diamond Dust Alpha Evan Stone sniffed out his mate and naturally dropped his long-term lover Caroline, which was great because that freed her up for her own mate, bear shifter Tyler Harrison. Unfortunately by the time Moon Shine rolls around not only hasn't Evan found his elusive mate, someone is seriously sabotaging his business. Enter Samantha Amy Ryda. She's the incognito Alpha of the Miles Canyon wolves and she has a serious beef with Evan.
I'll admit, based on the current Goodreads reviews I wasn't expecting much because generally Amy hasn't been considered a very attractive or sympathetic heroine. So, I guess it is fair to say I had low expectations, but Ms. Arend blew it out of the water for me. Amy was smart, strong and devious, and I really liked that about her, especially the devious part. And while I am not saying all of the conflict is completely Evan's fault, a good chunk is because of both his failure to communicate AND his failure to recognize Amy as an Alpha in her own right. The whole story is intricate and action packed with a healthy helping of psychology and I really enjoyed how Evan changed and grew, but while I know I am in the minority here, Amy was what made this story work for me. Yes, she may have made some less than stellar choices based and a lack of information, but it certainly wasn't her fault she didn't have the needed information. I enjoyed seeing a heroine who usually used her brain to get things done but wasn't afraid to get physical either. This quote at the end summed it up best for me:
"But the brightest part was having a pair of strong arms slip around his waist as Amy cuddled in tight. She was the absolutely perfect cherry on the top."
He didn't see her as soft, or sweet, or comforting, or sexy or any of the other insipid descriptions you usually have alpha heroes thinking of their mates as, he thought of her as strong and that makes this story rock for me.