Synopsis: After her sister is bitten by a werewolf, geneticist Sophia Reece begins researching shape-shifters and isolates a gene she calls Furry Beast–FB for short. But in her excitement over her discovery–dancing in the lab is never a good idea–she has a teeny little accident with the samples, one canine, one feline, and winds up landing on the syringes, pointy side up.
Werewolf Chase is head over heels in lust with Sophia. He can’t stop thinking about the human’s sexy body or how badly he wants to get her naked. But she acts as if he has fleas. So why, all of a sudden, does she stare at him like a wolf in heat? And what smells like cat?
When she experiences her first mating heat, Sophia isn’t prepared for the new feelings she’s experiencing, and her secret desire for Chase refuses to remain under wraps. For Chase, this is his wildest fantasy come true–to finally get his hands on the curvy, caramel-skinned Latina. But when some serious predators come sniffing around her research, Sophia will have to find out what she’s really made of, and Chase will have to decide if he’s man–or wolf–enough to make things permanent…
Miss Anna Key says: A couple of months ago I came across a number of tweets promoting a new book by Milly Taiden, an author I knew nothing about. What caught my attention were the words “erotic”, “shifter” and “geneticist” appearing almost next to each other. As some of you might know I’m a mad scientist myself hence any book featuring one of my brethren will most assuredly win a prime spot on my “To Read” list. After downloading a preview it became obvious that I’m going to enjoy it and so I’ve promptly purchased a copy trying to squish the sense of guilt over buying yet another book (the horrible thing about e-books is that you can’t use the “lack of space” excuse). And I haven’t been disappointed. Yet again, Twitter allowed me to discover a fresh voice in the genre, a new author who even though not featured on the best-selling lists published by the New York Times or The Guardian, turned out to be a wonderful storyteller with fabulous characters engaging the reader in a story from the very first paragraph.
Sophia is an esteemed geneticist living in a world were were-shifters, witches, demons live among the human population. We meet her in when she succeeds in singling out a chromosome responsible for shifting in weres (it reminded me a bit about Howl at the Moon by Christine Warren in The Others series): “This little baby was the hottest ticket in Shifterville. It’s what’s bonded with the rest of a person’s DNA and created the furry beast that lived inside them. If it were a person she’d kiss it, hug it, probably spank it for being bad and making it so hard for her to find it. […] She could swear she heard birds chirping and a Hallelujah Chorus above her head while she stared through the small eyepiece of the microscope.” (I have to congratulate the Author for capturing the pure joy and childish excitement which accompanies such discoveries. All that bouncing on a stool, doing a small dance number straight from Grease and singing off-key while doing that… yeah, that’s pretty much what’s going on behind the closed doors of a research facility). Unfortunately, when carrying the specimens to the freezer she trips and falls on the syringes containing an isolated chromosome of a wolf and a cat shifter. The weight of her body depresses the plungers and minute quantities of both specimens are injected into her bloodstream. When she wakes up after her accident she feels changed and incredibly horny. Apparently both of her animals are in heat and they won’t be appeased by a quickie round in the bathroom…
Chase is a leader of the Back Water pack. His brother and second-in-command, River, is happily married to Sophia’s older sister Julie. Even though we get a lot of a back-story on the couple I was told that there’s no prequel to this story. Chase has it bad for Sophia ever since he first saw her. He adores her lush curves and staggering intellect; however he’s also convinced that she’s completely indifferent. Well, as you might have guessed, dear Reader, he couldn’t be more wrong. I love the way Miss Taiden describes the not-so-subtle attraction (or should I say obsession) which Sophia feels towards Chase: “The man had so much sex appeal her girl parts were ready to lift a white flag in surrender just by looking at him. […] He was her biggest temptation. If she had an affliction it was called Furry Beast Alpha, or FBA for short [ok, that’s a bit cheesy]. Side effects included, but were not limited to: making a woman stop, stare, and drool on the spot; panties somehow finding themselves off and thrown his way; and finally, if said subject were to smile, blacking out from sudden excitement.” It cracked me right up. Suffice to say when she bumps into Chase during her sister’s BBQ party in her new, “heated” state she nearly jumps him ready to be claimed by Mr. Eye-Candy. Not that Chase is against that idea either. And so begins an incredibly passionate and enjoyable sex marathon culminating in claiming of the one-true mate.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, I’ve truly enjoyed this book. Why? Firstly – the narrative. It’s funny; it’s cheeky and filled with innuendos and undercurrents. Secondly – the characters. Sophia’s fabulous sense of humour and her no-nonsense approach caught my heart from the very first paragraph. The interactions between the characters are natural and filled with mutual attraction and strong feelings. I found myself laughing and sighing at the same time absolutely charmed by the humorous dialogues and a passionate lovemaking. And speaking of which…. As I’m sure most of you have noticed (being a book-addicted, romance-craving, erotic maniacs like me) that in most of the stories in the diverse genre of romantic fiction the male hero is usually the more dominating lover, full of stamina and sexual virility. How pleasing it was then to find out that Sophia is no frightened maiden but an experienced and lustful bed partner. Even though her love life was a string of dispassionate and disappointing intercourses she is no victim (at last, thank you Milly!). She knows how to pleasure herself, she knows what she wants and is not afraid of using Chase to make her wicked fantasies come true. Not that he ever complained. She is a perfect choice for the domineering and arrogant alpha male and a perfect alpha female of the pack.
There were only a couple of elements which I had some doubts about. The dream which Sophia has about her children doesn’t quite fit. It’s slightly too touchy-feely and stands out from from the rest of the story. Furthermore, on a couple of instances the descriptions of particular scenes feel more like a bullet point list rather than a compelling presentation of the surroundings, e.g. “They checked the house. They made a perimeter sweep. She went to cook dinner.” The final aspect is the science behind the discovery. Unfortunately, I’m not an expert in the field of genetics to be a judge on the merit of Sophia’s discovery; however as a scientist I was left with a number of unanswered questions: How exactly does the change occur? Why the change happened so quickly? What would be the consequences of having two strands on the DNA structure? Etc. However I’m aware that too detailed descriptions would impede the pace of the story.
Concluding, I believe that what made this story a success is the combination of sexual maturity of characters, feisty and humorous dialogues and a constant undercurrent of wicked imagination and sexual tension.
Thanks Milly for a deliciously hot and enticing read and one fabulous evening.