Title: Chosen Pride (L’Ange, #3)
Author: Mary Calmes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 26, 2016
Page Count: 240
Reviewed by: Renée
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Jon Slade finally met his mate, but instead of it being the happiest day of his life, it became the saddest when wolf shifter Kelvin MacCurdy chose his obligations over their fated bond, leaving Jon to pick up the pieces of his shattered dreams. Lucky for him, Roman Howell, his boss and the owner of L’Ange, saw promise in the forlorn lion and put him to work so he wouldn’t have time to sit around and lick his wounds while he waited for his wounded spirit to heal.
Then the wolves make an official visit to L’Ange, and Jon finds out Kelvin’s pining for him is taking its toll on his position as the king’s champion. Though Kelvin’s training and the expectations of others steer him toward an intended mate, Jon has an unbreakable hold on his heart, and it’s no longer possible for Kelvin to keep himself from where he truly belongs.
But the conclave brings more than Kelvin to the château. It also brings a challenge to jackal alpha Quade Danas, a threat that Quade and Roman, Arman and Linus, and Jon and Kelvin may have to fight in order to keep L’Ange’s family intact. Jon never wanted to lead a pride, but the loyalty and devotion to one is ingrained in him. Kelvin was raised to punish anyone who questioned his king, but the calling to protect others runs through his veins just as deeply. To come out on the other side of the battle together, Jon and Kelvin will have to hold the darkness of solitary pride and broken hearts at bay—and find strength in belonging to something bigger than themselves.
We’ve known Jon Slade since book 1, and I was very excited, at the end of Book 2, to discover that we would get his and Kelvin’s book next.
Spoiler for book 2 ahead, in case you haven’t read it:
Jon and Kelvin meet, and they immediately know they are the other’s mate. I LOVE fated mates in shifter stories. Gets me every time.
But while Jon is ecstatic in that instant of recognition, Kelvin won’t have it. He’s sweet about it, but he tells Jon, in no uncertain terms, that his life doesn’t accommodate a male mate. He must reproduce for his pack (touta), in his station of Fenrir. And he is already betrothed to someone, whom he’ll mate with later in the year.
So Book 3 begins with a truly heartbroken Jon, many months down the road from where Book 2 ended. He hasn’t seen Kelvin since their first meeting, and he still feels pain inside at knowing his fated mate is out there, and soon to be mated with someone else.
Imagine his shock and devastation when Kelvin’s pack comes to L’Ange to hold their royal ceremonies there. Jon was sad enough at the situation, but now he actually has to SEE Kelvin again. Be in his presence and know that he can’t have him. It’s just too much.
I’ve said it before, Calmes shines for me when she does internal relationship angst. I enjoy her OTT “happenings” to her couples from external sources. Kidnappings, guns, etc. are no stranger to a Calmes MC, but the crème de la crème, for me, is when she has internal relationship conflict. I’m putty in her hands. I truly felt Jon’s anguish given the situation. And he was no doormat when Kelvin wants to see him.
“You said I wouldn’t be anything to you […], you said we would never be what we’re supposed to be to each other.”
I ate it up and was begging for more.
Because this is one of her full-lengths, and one of her shifter stories at that, it wouldn’t be Calmes without the dun, dun, dun surprises and twists. I won’t spoil any of that for readers.
Just know that this was my favorite of the L’Ange series, with a lot of presence from the MCs from the first two books. They are, after all, each other’s families.