Series: SWAT #2
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Challenges: Finishing the Series | NetGalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge | What An Animal |
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Blurb from goodreads:
He's in trouble with a capital T...
There's never been a female on the Dallas SWAT team and Senior Corporal Xander Riggs prefers it that way. The elite pack of alpha male wolfshifters is no place for a woman. But Khaki Blake is no ordinary woman.
When Khaki walks through the door attractive as hell and smelling like heaven, Xander doesn't know what the heck to do. Worse, she's put under his command and Xander's protective instincts go on high alert. When things start heating up both on and off the clock, it's almost impossible to keep their heads in the game and their hands off each other.
Oh, I liked this one so much more than the first one, despite some plausibility issues. The heroine in the first book was hard to like at times, and got on my nerves. This heroine, Khaki, did not. Although, Khaki? Really? I know there are some unusual names out there but that was just odd. And yet, not one character mentions it or comments on it. That itself was unusual and weird.
But Khaki, despite her name, was a treat. She owns up to her mistakes, she's smart, funny, independent but not unreasonably so, resourceful, and able to admit her ignorance. There are several times when she admits her ignorance or her lack of skills and it's okay. Yeah, she's embarrassed but she still opens up and it pays off every time.
The world building is stronger in this story which made me very happy. It was frustratingly weak in book one but in this book, Tyler brings her world to life. Most of my questions were answered and the pack was more believable and their interactions made more sense. In fact, the pack dynamics were a large part of what I liked about this story. There's a deep camaraderiee and real respect. There's a little resistance to a woman being added to the team, but they welcome Khaki and give her a chance. She shows that she belongs even as she worries and strives to fit in. They help her, encourage her, and when she does well, applaud her. The new kid in school angle worked well.
...she'd earned big points with every guy on the squad except Xander. She knew because they'd told her so over lunch. She'd appreciated their support, more than they would probaly ever know, but when Cooper told her to just keep doing what she'd been doing and they had her back, she'd just about lost it.
Xander, like most of the pack, has little experience with female werewolves, and he's not a believer in love or fate. So he's thrown by his attraction to K, and is slow to realize the truth. Because of his attraction to her, he's extra-hard on her which puzzles the rest of the pack but they decide it's just because he wants to make sure there are no screw-ups. The decision to add a female came from human authorities and there's concern about what will happen if they realize that SWAT is made up of werewolves. If Khaki fails, they could get stuck with a human teammate.
I'm not usually a fan of insta-love or characters magically having feelings about each other because in their world it's fated or some such nonsense. But in this story it worked. There's an attraction but they take the time to know each other and to see where there feelings take them. Neither one realizes right away what's going on and there were some funny scenes as they tried to figure it out.
One place their feelings take them is in conflict with police and SWAT command. There are regs, which apparently their relationship breaks. This was one area where plausibility was weak, primarily due to the author's failure to explicitly state and clarify why Khaki and Xander's relationship breaks the rules. It's just, "Oh, no, that can't be; mustn't happen for the good of the Pack and the team." Well, why the heck not? Once Tyler, very late in the story, expands on it, the problem makes sense and becomes plausible.
I also had doubts at first about the likelihood of certain events in Khaki's life before she joins the team but, again late in the book, Tyler addresses them and in hindsight they work. Khaki's ex-boyfriend was disappointing; he had no depth but was a caricature, the basic boring standard crazy and evil ex. Yawn. The ending was a bit too neat and tidy but honestly, I had fun reading this. Xander and Khaki sparked and it was fun to watch them dance around each other, trying to figure out their feelings and resist, or not, their sexual attraction.
"We don't have to use the bed," he said. "The back of the couch looks like it might be fun."
Khaki smiled as she sidled past him. "But the bedroom is where I keep the condoms, so we might as well start there." She threw a look over her shoulder as she headed in that direction. "We can try out the couch after that. Then the kitchen table."
Tyler also does a better job this time around of combining SWAT and werewolves. It's an excellent combination and good premise but it was only sketchily developed in the first book. In this book she explores the similarities between a werewolf pack and a military team and makes them mesh. "Wolf Trouble" was fun, sexy, and a treat to read despite it's problems. Tyler is building a solid, exciting world.
Bea's Review of Book One, Hungry Like the Wolf