Title: Off the Beaten Path
Author: Cari Z.
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 18th 2017
Genre(s): M/M Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 200 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
When Ward Johannsen’s little girl Ava shifted into a werewolf, she was taken into custody by the feds and shipped off to the nearest pack, all ties between father and daughter severed. Ward burned every bridge he had discovering her location, and then almost froze to death in the Colorado mountains tracking her new pack down. And that’s just the beginning of his struggle.
Henry Dormer is an alpha werewolf and an elite black ops soldier who failed his last mission. He returns home, hoping for some time to recuperate and help settle the pack’s newest member, a little pup named Ava who can’t shift back to her human form. Instead he meets Ward, who refuses to leave his daughter without a fight. The two men are as different as night and day, but their respect for each other strikes a spark of mutual interest that quickly grows into a flame. They might find something special together—love, passion, and even a family—if they can survive trigger-happy pack guardians, violent werewolf politics, and meddling government agencies that are just as likely to get their alpha soldiers killed as bring them home safely.
I had a hard time putting this down. Filled with interesting world building, great, well-fleshed-out characters, and an interesting plot this was a very entertaining page turner.
Ward Johannsen is willing to do anything to get his daughter, Ava, back. Removed from his care by Federal agents after she shifted into a werewolf, she is sent to a remote werewolf pack without Ward even being able to see her again. Ward uses every resource he has available to find her, and faces possible death in the Colorado mountains tracking down her new pack, to be with Ava again.
Henry Dormer is the Alpha of Ava’s new pack and it’s when he returns home after a failed assignment and meets Ward that the story really takes off.
I hated how badly the werewolves are treated in this world. Cari Z. definitely wove some first-class world building in this that sucked me in completely. Werewolves are certainly less than second class citizens and Alpha werewolves are treated even worse by the federal government – using them for black and extremely dangerous military operations.
There is a dual third person POV from both Ward and Henry. I really liked the way their relationship progressed and that the passion in this isn’t excessive but fits with the storyline. There is a HEA and enough crumbs that it’s possible Cari Z. could extend this into a possible sequel or series.
For the sticklers: There were a few small proofing errors, but hopefully those will be caught and fixed prior to final publishing.