I sure wish I’d read more of these Southern Arcana series books. I’m a huge shapeshifter fan, and Moira Rogers has become one of the best at writing solid paranormal stories with intriguing characters.
First off, I do have to say that reading Book 5 in the series probably isn’t the best place to start. While Ms. Rogers is good at filling the happenings of previous events, there are times I felt my reading would have been more enhanced if I’d read the other books to know exactly what these characters had gone through to get them where they are right then. Especially in the case of our hero, Julio, a wolf. He’d been tortured and Sera, his heroine who is a submissive coyote, was there for him at the end. Now, granted, since I haven’t read any of the other books, I don’t know if this particular scenario is in one of them. If it is, it would have helped reading that story. If it’s not, I would have liked more depth of that situation in this book that Julio went through.
The same is also true with Sera. The coyotes are few in number. Her marriage to Josh, an alpha coyote, has ended in her leaving him behind after too much abuse. We do get a bit more with this situation when Josh locates Sera to make her return to him. Her submissive coyote wants to give in, but the woman in her knows better. Julio’s protection is what she needs, and that wolf is determined to keep Josh away from her. I don’t know if Sera’s and Josh’s relationship has been depicted in earlier books, but if so, it would have been nice to read about it instead of being told about it in this book. However, the few times we do see Josh brings home how far gone he is when it comes to Sera.
But what makes this book is the slowly developing relationship between this alpha wolf and submissive coyote. They go from protector/abused to friends and then lovers. Julio is cautious with Sera in the beginning, wanting to make sure she’s ready to move on. She wants to move on. Now. With Julio in her bed. He still takes it slow, inviting her along on a short vacation with no stress and a lot of fun. Sera only wants to be with Julio, but looking forward to a good time turns into something else entirely for them both. They see firsthand how other regions of wolves are now living after being left high and dry by their prior leaders. Though this adds more responsibility onto what Julio has on his shoulders already, the fact he has Sera by his side helps tremendously. They’re becoming partners, sharing everything from the most important to the smallest detail in their lives.
The balance between Julio’s guilt due to his family causing such havoc for his kind and Sera’s need for protection and fear of losing her independence, along with her giving nature, is nicely done, and it works well with these characters. There are a few actual shifting scenes, which seem to be disappearing from a lot of shifter stories lately – at least the ones I’ve read. I would have liked even a few more here, but what’s done adds to the character of both leads. I do like the end for Sera when she has to protect herself, make her coyote stand up and fight her instinct of showing her belly to be dominated. Julio also has his moment of finally doing the right thing, though it’s quite difficult for him, as it would be for anyone put in that situation. He handles it well, but then he has Sera by his side.
I’m heading to the TBR pile to make sure I have the first four books in this series lined up. I’m intrigued by other characters from those books, their stories as engrossing as this one, I’m sure.
Sera Sinclaire is a New Orleans rarity: a submissive coyote trapped in a town overrun by dominant shapeshifters. Worse, she lacks the willpower to deny the alphas-in-shining-armor who need her soothing presence, even when their protectiveness threatens to crush her hard-won self-reliance.
The only shifter she doesn’t want to push away is Julio Mendoza, a wolf so dominant he’s earned a place on the Southeast council.
Julio doesn’t have the luxury of indulging in the vacation his psychic shrink insists he needs. He can’t turn his back on responsibilities he’s beginning to wish he’d never shouldered. When an obsessive ex endangers Sera, though, instinct drives him to get her out of town. Watching her come to life outside the city makes him feel like he’s finally done something right, and her touch ignites desire he doesn’t want to ignore.
But soon, lighthearted flirting becomes a dangerous game of seduction, where every day spent falling into each other is another day avoiding the truth. Sera’s ex isn’t the only one who’d disapprove of their relationship. There are wolves who would kill to get Sera out of Julio’s life—starting with his own blood kin.
Read an excerpt.
Other books in this series: