Fighting Instinct (Lily G’s Review)

Title: Fighting Instinct (L’Ange #2)
Author: Mary Calmes and Tristan James (Narrator)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 3-13-2015
Genre(s): Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Length: 7 hours and 25 mins
Reviewed by:Lily G. Blunt
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5


L’Ange: Book Two

Only a privileged few know L’Ange’s head of security, Arman de Soto, is a shifter, and even fewer know he’s been systematically killing off a pack of werewolves. The reason for this vengeance is a secret Arman trusts with no one, quite the opposite of his obvious longtime pursuit of the chateau’s overseer, Linus Hobbes. Despite Arman’s reputation as a loner, the only thing he needs to complete his life is Linus. Predator and prey just don’t mix, but Arman won’t give him up.

Linus has lived alone for more than seven years, sheltered at L’Ange under an assumed name and hiding secrets of his own, including his terrifying attraction to the most dangerous man he’s ever met. Arman knows Linus should be afraid of the predator stalking him, but Linus is still drawn to him like a moth to a flame no matter how much he tries to deny his instincts. It’s not until Linus’s past and Arman’s crusade exposes their secrets and opens L’Ange to attack that Arman realizes waiting any longer is a risk he just can’t take. So he’ll have to take his quest to the source of the threat in a gamble to protect L’Ange, Linus, and any future they might have together.

I was glad Tristan James continued to narrate this series. I always like consistency both in the characters and style of narration. Tristan’s growly sexy voice is perfect for strong alpha males such as Arman, and he is well able to portray the softer, more emotional characters as well as the passion-filled scenes. 

I was a little confused and surprised at first when I realized Linus was Arman’s mate rather than Tucker as was implied at the end of book one. I also wrongly assumed that Arman was either the lion shifter or a wolf. I liked how his status is kept hidden for the first part of the story.

Arman and Linus are opposites. Predator and Prey. Head of security and protector of a rather aloof housekeeper at L’Ange.

As with many of Mary Calmes’ stories there’s plenty of lengthy dialogue throughout, numerous characters, and unnecessary details that often feel like padding and sometimes detract from the main story. Even though the story starts with Arman and Linus on the brink of getting together and becoming mates after seven years of knowing each other, that one evening drags on for many chapters. Even when they’re about to make love for the first time they keep getting distracted by long-winded conversations or other issues. So the beginning was a little frustrating, but as always it’s all part of the overall plot and when you look back you realize it was sort of necessary to finding out about these characters and their pasts.

The story becomes more focused on Arman’s acts of revenge on behalf of Linus against the werewolf pack who repeatedly raped him. These killings are eventually justified and shown as acceptable in that these men are found guilty of the heinous crime. But it’s okay because these people are shifters and it’s not the ‘real world’. Even so, Arman is portrayed as judge, jury, and executioner of over thirty men all in the name of love and on behalf of his mate.

I particularly liked the story when Linus returns to his native home to face his family and this horrific past. We get a glimpse into the deer pack’s lore and some interesting world-building here. Yes, there’s still a lot of talking—I often felt the rest of the world stopped while Arman and Linus carry on their conversations in their own little cocoon—but there’s action too, both in the ‘courtroom’ and when Arman finishes off his revenge killings.

Linus blossoms and becomes bold and confident after he and Arman become mates and this is seen in him facing up to the Prince who ruined his life. Linus is the beautiful Stag and also another intriguing creature once he’s mated. I liked this added dimension to his character.

I also liked that the hot sex scenes were not too frequent in this story. Less is definitely more here.

It was good to see Roman and Quade were included in the plot. I particularly liked Arman’s team of men and how they supported him one hundred percent. I’m looking forward to the next couple in the series—a lion and a wolf shifter who were left pining for each other at the end of Fighting Instinct.

L’Ange Series

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Advanced Review Copy

Audio copy of Fighting Instinct provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.


Lily G. Blunt writes contemporary gay romance. She loves to explore the relationship between two men and the intensity of their physical and emotional attraction. Angst often features in her stories as she feels this demonstrates the depth of the men’s feelings for each other. Lily is forever writing imaginary scenes and plots in her head, but only a few ever make it to the page. There never seems to be enough hours in the day despite having left the teaching profession to concentrate on her writing!

Lily discovered the wonderful world of m/m romance novels five years ago via fan fiction and went on to write stories in her spare time. With the encouragement of her friends and readers she decided to publish some of her work. Lily subsequently self-published several stories via Amazon and later published short stories with Torquere Press, Wayward Ink Publishing, and Pride Publishing.

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