REVIEW: Wild Invitation by Nalini SinghWednesday, April 24, 2013 0:00
Sandy M’s review of Wild Invitation (Psy-Changeling Series, Book 11.5) by Nalini Singh
Paranormal Romance published by Berkley 5 Mar 13
I know it’s a risk for authors to write a huge amount of books in a series. Readers’ biggest complaints, I think, is the stories start sounding the same, nothing new between the pages book after book now that the series is a number of years old, among others. So far for me, Nalini Singh isn’t even close to that happening in her Psy-Changeling series. She grabs me every time and I’m glued to each book until the last word is read. I’ll never get tired of this series. Of course, I realize there’s the chance for “famous last words” and all that, but with a talent like hers, I have my doubts that will ever happen.
Beat of Temptation
In this compilation we get a closeup look at different mated pairs, highlighting their issues in that mating and how they overcome them. First up is Nathan and Tamsyn, DarkRiver sentinel and healer, respectively. I know this novella was featured in another anthology before, but I hadn’t read it until now. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing their young selves, along with our other favorites interacting with characters we’ve only heard about so far.
Nathan and Tamsyn have to bridge the age gap. She’s fifteen when their mating bond snaps into place, Nathan being ten years older. He’s made the decision to wait to claim her, to let her experience some independence, because when they’re finally together, what the alpha cat wants goes. But Tamsyn isn’t having any of this waiting business anymore.
She’s now nineteen and beside herself with wanting Nathan, wanting her innocence gone, and just plain old needing him in every way. But doubts begin to sit in when he refuses to complete the bond even now, maybe she’s not enough for him. Deciding to push him into some biting, snipping, and snapping, his cat is also pushing him to mate. Tamsyn doesn’t understand why he can’t see he’s exactly what she needs, dominance and all.
I love this story. We also get some tidbits of these two as we know them today, so it’s wonderful to see how they started, what they mean to one another, and how they’ve handled it throughout the years.
Innocent Tamsyn has always had a place in her heart for Nathan, a blooded DarkRiver sentinel. But is she ready for the fierce demands of the mating bond?
Read an excerpt.
Stroke of Enticement
Zach and Annie are characters we’ve met only briefly in the series, but I have to say I enjoyed them both immensely. Especially Zach. He’s one of those playful heroes with tenderness as well as dominance. And he’s as charming as hell. Annie is human, a school teacher, who has Zach’s nephew in her class, and that’s how they meet, when Zach has to take care of a problem with the nephew at school.
Annie has some trust issues due to a past relationship, so though she’s attracted to Zach, she’s hesitant to let things go too far. There’s also another issue to deal with – her mother is very anti-Changeling. But that charming Zack is able to break through her defenses nearly as neatly as he does Annie’s. Annie does have some doubts about why this dominant male would want her, but he takes care of that too.
I like when he introduces her to the Pack Circle, only part of what it will be like to mate with a Changeling. All of the Changelings are terrific heroes, but there’s something extra special about Zach, which Annie finally realizes and accepts. You go, girl!
A wary young teacher, skeptical about love, arouses the man—and the animal—in an aggressive leopard changeling who must prove his affections are true.
Read an excerpt.
Declaration of Courtship
Now we turn from DarkRiver to the SnowDancer wolves. This first story is about Grace, a submissive wolf, who just transferred from another pack to get away from the protectiveness of her adoptive family. Her immediate “boss” is Cooper, a lieutenant, a sexy, dominant wolf who shows such gentleness and restraint when it comes to his mate. Of course, she doesn’t know she’s his mate yet; otherwise, she’d be scared silly. I enjoyed this story because I like seeing how the submissives also have their place in the pack. They’re just as important as any dominant.
Baby steps is what it takes with Grace, because these two are literally poles apart when it comes to the hierarchy in the pack. Doubts aplenty assail Grace, but she’s excited that Cooper is going to be courting her. There’s a lot of emotion in this story. Grace wants Cooper, but she knows her wolf just can’t stand up to him. But with Cooper’s patience and his need for healing of his own, Grace learns she’s stronger than she ever imagined.
Grace, a shy submissive wolf, finds herself pursued by the last man she ever would have imagined: a SnowDancer lieutenant said to be “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.”
Read an excerpt.
Texture of Intimacy
When I first read Caressed by Ice years ago, it was my least favorite book of the series. But the more I learn about the Lauren brothers, who are all Psy, and what they’ve gone through, they have snuck up on me and now have a special place in my heart. So in this novella we get a deeper, emotional glimpse into Walker Lauren and his mate, Lara, the SnowDancer healer.
As much as Walker tries to give of himself to Lara, there’s still a part he holds back, a part that she wishes he’d share. Little by little he does, and what an emotional roller coaster the telling of his life is. The backbone of the Lauren family, Walker fought to help young children chosen for a life of killing find a little peace during training, while he was helpless to assist his own brother in the same situation. The man struggled to save his sister first from a monster and then from taking her own life. He then took her children as his own, then learned his child had been terminated before its life could really begin. There’s so much turmoil going on inside this hero, I’m amazed at his intact survival. But survival is what he had to do to keep his family safe.
Lara breaks through the silence that has ruled this man for so long. He never wavered when faced with what had to be done, keeping his emotions under wraps the whole time. Walker Lauren is an amazing character. I enjoyed the conversation with Judd, both of them teasing and completely free with one another, something neither of them ever expected. Beautiful scene. Though he and Lara go through some tense moments, you feel the love treading through their mating bond and it’s a wonderful thing.
SnowDancer healer Lara discovers the searing joys—and unexpected challenges—of being mated to quiet, powerful Walker, a man used to keeping his silence.
Read an excerpt.
While these mates are getting to know one another and learning how to cope, we also get tidbits on what is currently happening in the Psy-Changeling world. Not even megalomaniacs wanting to take over the world slow down when it comes to love. After this it feels as if something big is going to come along to shake all foundations to the core. It will be interesting to see what Ms. Singh is going to do with these memorable characters she’s given us.
Overall Grade: A+
See Veena’s review here.
Other books in this series: