Title: Off the Beaten Path
Author: Cari Z.
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 18
Genre(s): Paranormal, Wolf Shifters
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 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.
Book blurb sums up the plot fairly succinctly. Sam’s sister, a human, does play an integral role, along with Tennyson, the pack doctor and Liam, Sam’s shifter husband. Combined with Ward and Henry, this was a solid, well rounded cast of characters.
I LOVED this book! It was a very refreshing change from the growing trope of Mate! Mine! Sex! when it comes to paranormals. This had a well thought out plot, it had emotional tension from Ward desperately wanting to find his daughter to Henry’s mental state of being separated from his pack for too long, it held the question if little Ava can shift before the Guardian is told to remove Ward from pack territory. At one point, I was holding back the sniffles and not succeeding!
As I noted above, I thought the supporting characters in Sam, Liam, and Tennyson only added to the strength of the book and all the characters superbly supported eachother. Sam, being human herself, never once demanded, teased, cajoled, or asked to know the intimate details of Henry’s sex life (a HUGE quirk of mine – the bestie wanting to know ALL! Overdone and tiresome.) nor did she push him into a relationship with Ward. Sam was co-alpha, she was strong, she stood up for the pack, she was cool.
Tennyson came from a broken pack, his partner taken forcibly from him and he has some issues that Henry has to cope with. Liam is from a Canadian pack that doesn’t have to deal with the situation in the States – which I thought was an interesting way to show how bad things were for the packs. Ava…I thought Ava was so well written! I’m not a fan of kids in my romances, but in this case, it worked. The cuteness factor was perfectly balanced with the heavy emotional load Henry carried and Ward’s need to be there and be strong.
Ah…Henry and Ward. Two strong men. Two men in desperate need of some emotional support. I adored how the author showed that need, that emotional desperation in action, in touches, in looks, and not in “Mate!” or “Mine!” declarations and copious amounts of sex. Thank you Cari!
My one teeny tiny complaint was part of the ending was a tich predictable. I won’t say what or why, but I saw one resolution coming down the tracks right from the beginning (and no, it wasn’t Ava. Her situation was a complete given).
Still, I was entirely satisfied with how everything ended, nobody noticed me quietly sniffling during a couple scenes, and I would turn around and read this again.
I could fangirl over this book for pages – but that would be a waste of reading time! Go read this!