Three brothers. Three secrets. One hope to save the shifters of Seattle.
Former SEAL Jaxson River would give his life for his brothers and his pack, but if he doesn't claim a mate soon, he'll be forced to step down as their alpha. There's only one problem: Jaxson's dark secret would kill any mate he claimed. With someone kidnapping shifters off the street - and only Jaxson and his brothers, Jace and Jared, to stop them - now is not the time for his secret to come out.
Curvy Olivia Lilyfield is a half-witch orphan with a dark secret of her own. She wants to atone for it by doing good in the world, so when she finds a wolf being tortured in an alley, she doesn't hesitate to help, even though wolves and witches mix like matches and TNT. Olivia's dangerous magic means she can't let anyone get too close - but Jaxson can't keep his hands off her, and his kisses are more than she can resist. As they race to save the disappearing shifters of Seattle, the true danger lies in loving each other. They're playing with magical fire and their secrets could end up destroying them both.
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3.5 "Spell Defying Love" Story/4.5 Narration Stars
3.5 "Spell Defying Love" Stars for the story and 4.5 Stars for the narration.
Reminiscent of a fairy tale like UF/PNR tale, Jaxon is an interesting, quick (just under 6 hours) tale. The debut of the River Pack Wolves Series appears to be laying down the framework for a band of shifter brothers who each have their own secret reasons for being unable to take on a mate and thus assume the alpha role for the pack, even as each book in the series tells the journey of how one brother finds his love match.
The underlying UF/PNR plot in Jaxson is fairly standard (shifters and witches that generally conform to many of the basic UF/PNR conventions we have become accustomed to in shifter/witch romances). In that regard, the witches are notorious for wanting to take on shifters as love slaves and thus feared and generally hated by the shifters--meanwhile a shifter's bite can be dangerous to a witch. Layered into this background relationship is a suspense conflict that evolves around an unknown threat against the shifters. Werewolves are slowly disappearing and the River Pack Wolves, who run a security firm, have been engaged to try and solve the threat.
Jaxson is presumed to be the only River Pack brother that can take on a mate and therefore is the current presiding alpha of the River Pack Wolves. Jaxson, however, is hiding a secret that he believes gives him at most one year to fulfill the political objectives he has for the pack since he can never mate.
It is with this backdrop in place that Jaxson meets Olivia Lilyfield, a woman he believes to be human, but who is hiding her own deep dark secrets. Jaxson doesn't understand why he has such a strong magnetic reaction to Olivia, but though he hires her under the guise of being his mate matchmaker (the person who is supposed to find Jaxson his mate), he can't help but feel the strongest attraction for Olivia. An attraction that Olivia feels just as keenly. But can there possibly be a HEA in the future for Jaxson and Olivia when secrets loom in the midst and danger lurks around the corner?
Enhancing the overall effect of the story is the well performed narration by Dougles Berger and Delisha Forest. Mr. Berger performs the chapters from Jaxson's perspective and Ms. Berger the ones from Olivia's. This style generally works well for this story giving the listener a clear differentiation between the POV being shared.
Mr. Berger and Ms. Forest are also generally adept at producing differentiated voices for each character, although Mr. Berger provides less differentiation among his characters, but nonetheless I had no trouble distinguishing the speaker in the dialogue scenes. Additionally, both narrators do a good job of acting out the mood of each scene.
Jaxson generally held my attention. Perhaps my only observation is that the romance between the hero and heroine had a bit of a love at first sight form of attraction to it. Given the natural animosity between wolves and witches--not to mention Jaxson's need to find a mate to remain as the alpha leader for his pack--I would have expected a little more conflict prior to the resolution on this point. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the fairy tale quality of the underlying UF/PNR suspense plot which held my attention throughout the entire listen.
Source: Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review.
- BJ's Reviews