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Book CoverSandy M’s review of Animal Attraction by Charlene Teglia
Contemporary Paranormal Erotic Romance released by St. Martin’s 17 Mar 09

This is one of those books that readers are going to really like or it’s just not for them. There will those who will say there’s not enough story to go along with all that sex.  Sometimes I’m one of those people. There will be others who will say more meat is needed  the storyline. Sometimes I one of those people too. But not this time around.

I’m happy to say that on both those counts Ms. Teglia comes up with a nice balance. Yes, it’s an erotic story, so there should be sex. In most of these types of books the sex is so gratuitous it’s not even funny; and, of course, you don’t get much of a story when that happens. Though Animal Attraction has a basic story of shapeshifters protecting their territory and people from adversarial shifters, it’s the characters and the little extras the author gives the reader that makes this book more fun and enjoyable than all those other so-so books out there.

Chandra has started to feel jumpy, out of sorts lately and she has no idea why. Meeting a mysterious man in the store where she works at the mall is another one of those things she can’t explain, especially because she’s drawn to the stranger. But when he saves her from three different strangers who would do her harm and he tells her to come home, she’s needed there, that only makes things more murky for her. Added to that are her nightmares of images and people that scare her but that also feel familiar.

Taking Zach at his word, when Chandra finds him and her other nocturnal visitor, David, at their home they share with nine other men, she feels like it’s her home too, a place where she finally belongs. And when she eventually learns who and what she is, things seem to make more sense to her. But there are other things she has a hard time getting beyond. Because her parents died when she was young, she’s never known her heritage. She’s a werewolf and her first transition is about to take place, so she has a lot to take in. Chandra will also have to choose a mate, the wolf who will then be alpha of the pack, king of the wolves. Before that happens, though, she has to get through a night of mating and marking with the men of the pack.

In between all this it’s the neighboring panthers, along with rogue wolves, who keep attacking, trying to take what isn’t theirs. As Chandra learns more about herself and her new pack, however, the stronger they become. Her feelings are divided between Zach and David, but she doesn’t want to choose wrong to cause a weakness that can be exploited by the panthers. How can she choose between these two men she loves in so short a time? As her shifting gifts become more apparent, her new-found strength gives her confidence and she’s ready to put an end to the fear and scare tactics the panthers are fond of.

How can Chandra have sex with eleven men in one night and you don’t roll your eyes while you’re reading? Believe me, I thought that was going to happen when I realized where the story was headed at that point in time. All in all, those scenes are quite intense, but Ms. Teglia puts that balance I mentioned earlier into play. The first few scenes with different men do go into a lot of detail and emotion of the moment, but the later scenes are kept to a minimum so you don’t end up in overload. But it’s all enough so that you get to know these characters as they interact with Chandra. If enough care hadn’t been taken for that along the way, I don’t think the whole thing would have gone over nearly as well.

Also, the two heroes, Zach and David, are very alpha and very likable, but Chandra holds her own with them. Sure, they want her at every turn, but they also care for and take care of their own. You see how all the men interact with one another in both human and wolf form. You see how much they need Chandra in their lives to make their pack whole. Chandra herself is a very strong and independent woman. Even before she knew she was a wolf, she was smart and quick witted in times of danger.

I also liked the twists that happen among their pack and also with panthers near the end of the story, things you don’t quite expect. Even a blade of grass takes on a whole new light. There were probably a few things here and there that didn’t work in the story, but they’re so negligible that I don’t even remember what they may have been. This is why I love reading paranormals. The author takes that free rein she’s given and runs with it, but doesn’t go overboard, something I wish I’d see a lot more often when reading erotic romance.

SandyMGrade: B+

Chandra Walker always hoped to find out who her birth parents were; she just didn’t expect the truth to put her in the middle of a shapeshifter war with the power to determine the outcome, complicated by a forbidden love for two mates.
Read an excerpt. (scroll down)