Rating 4.25 Stars
Beat of Temptation (#0.5)
Stroke of Enticement (#3.5)
Declaration of Courtship (#9.5)
Texture of Intimacy (#10.5)
Beat of Temptation – 5 stars
This was Tamsyn and Nate’s backstory and by far my favourite in the collection. I first met Tammy and Nate in Slave to Sensation (book 1 of the Psy-Changeling series) and knew that I needed to get my hands on a copy of their story. In Slave to Sensation, they are the epitome of the happily mated couple, having been together for almost 20 years with 2 young sons.
Beat of Temptation begins with 19 year old Tamsyn trying to get 29 year old Nate to commit to their mating. Both Tammy and Nate realized they were mate 4 years prior but Nate chooses not to do anything about their mating as he believes he’s too old for Tammy. He wants her to go out and explore the world before settling down with him in an effort to avoid any future disappointment in their relationship by mating too young. By doing this, he takes the decision away from her and effectively treats her as younger than she is. However, Tammy hasn’t been ‘young’ in years. After an attack on DarkRiver several years ago which killed Luc’s parents (his mother was the pack’s healer), Tammy had to step up from trainee healer to the official pack healer. This sudden increased responsibility means Tammy had to grow up quickly and at 19 years old, she knows her own mind.
Without going into too many details, I will say that Nate’s actions really saddened me and I couldn’t believe everything that he puts Tammy through. At several points, I wanted to reach into the book and shake him. Tammy finally has enough and decides to take Nate’s initial advice and go out into the world independently. This choice finally wakes Nate up from his idiocy as he realizes he can’t and won’t be apart from Tammy any longer, and he begins to understand that he’s going to need to do some serious groveling. Despite his poor actions, Nate is lovable as ever and really grows as a person. Tammy is warm and friendly, and I’m so glad for she and Nate got their happily ever after!
Stroke of Enticement – 4.5 stars
This story features Annie, a human teacher at a school with changeling children, and Zach, a DarkRiver leopard with a nephew in Annie’s class. Prior to reading this story, I can recall coming across Annie and Zach’s names in the series but not much more so I was glad to revisit these characters in this story. Annie was such a beautiful character with a sad backstory (injured as a child and now with medical issues affecting her movement); and Zach, oh boy, he was such a charming, flirtatious changeling who knew exactly how to get under Annie’s skin (and her clothes, ha!). I thoroughly enjoyed the way Zach sought to win Annie over and prove his affections, despite her initial reservations and cynicism. Annie and Zach have definitely been added to my favourite couples of all time list.
Declaration of Courtship – 4 stars
Declaration of Courtship took me a little longer to get into but once done, I was hooked. It’s about shy, submissive Grace and sexy, dangerously dominant Cooper; both part of the SnowDancer wolves. Although considered submissive, Grace showed unexpected backbone at certain points but completed reverted back at other points by her wolf. One of the most interesting parts of this story was seeing that submission from the perspective of a wolf. It was little things like the way she and her wolf worked in tandem with interactions and behaviours such as eye contact, allowing (or not allowing) Cooper near her neck, the volume and language used when speaking to a dominant in general vs her dominant mate, etc. Cooper on the other hand had to learn to temper his dominant behavior around Grace during the courtship so as not to allow her submissive behavior to feel as though she was forced into the mating. It was such a great learning curve for both characters and I loved it!
Texture of Intimacy – 3.5 stars
The final story was about Lara (SnowDancer healer and wolf) and Walker (Psy defected into the wolf pack). I’ll admit, this couple was far from one of my favourites in the series so I didn’t know what to expect in this story but Nalini really knows how to make you fall for characters and by the end, I grew a soft spot for this couple. Lara and Walker mated quietly in one of the main books of the series (Kiss of Snow, if I remember correctly?) but Texture of Intimacy shows a more in depth look at what occurred immediately after the mating as the two navigate around Lara’s compassion and healer role in the pack, and Walker’s slow embrace of feelings now that he’s no longer part of the Psy net and his family is safe within SnowDancer’s boundaries.