Zarina and Tanner have captured many readers’ imaginations as their romance has simmered under the covers for some time. It all finally comes to a head when Tanner disappears, after horrific events at the DCO center cause him to lose control. Poor Tanner, all he’s done is jump from the frying pan into the fire, because he’s now in the midst of a lot more trouble than he ever imagined.
As the name suggests, this is a pivotal book with the secret doings of the DCO and the existence of hybrids and shifters exposed to the public. From the time Zaria first met Tanner, she’s had a soft spot for him and has done all she can to help him assimilate back into the world. What becomes clear as the story evolves is that Tanner was battling the very real issue of PTSD when he was kidnapped and experimented on. Now he’s battling with the animal instincts from the experimentation, as well as the PTSD that was never dealt with.
The one thing Tanner prizes is control over himself. So when the battle at the DCO causes him to lose that control and give in to his animal instincts, he runs away to hide and lick his wounds in public. Of course, Zarina is not going to allow that, so she follows him. Deep in the woods they find themselves befriending a group of survivalists who are battling trained mercenaries. The story, as it evolves, is as horrifying as it is fascinating.
In parallel, one of the human DCO agents is dispatched to investigate a strange murder which seems to hint at hybrid or shifter involvement. As this story develops, we discover two great new characters that I hope to see more of in upcoming books. The story reads almost like two standalones that eventually converge in a very interesting way. As always the subtext that is revealed leaves me marveling at the Machiavellian threads that weave through these stories.
Ms. Tyler does a great job with Tanner’s back story, and we finally get to meet his family and understand what drives him. Tanner’s story and his battle with PTSD raises awareness of the real problem that our vets face and how inadequate the resources are that are available to help them assimilate back into their previous lives. It’s great to see the chemistry between Zarina and Tanner finally have free rein as the hot romance and sweet tenderness of their relationship finally gets center stage.
HE LEFT TO KEEP HER SAFE
Believing he’s too dangerous to be among people, feline hybrid Tanner Howland retreats deep into the forests of Washington State—with no choice but to leave behind the woman who’s captured his heart. What he doesn’t know is that she followed him…
SHE WOULDN’T STAY BEHIND
Heartbroken and determined, Dr. Zarina Sokolov tracks Tanner into the wild. Her presence unleashes Tanner’s protective instinct—big time. Locals have been disappearing and he is desperate for Zarina to leave. As the kidnappings escalate, Tanner must embrace the dangerous instincts he fears so much. But with Zarina at his side, he’ll have to learn to control his animal impulses, or lose himself—and the woman he loves—to the beast within.