If you have read any of the Love at Stake books, you know Howard is a huge were-bear shifter who works for MacKay Security and Investigations. He is always eating donuts and is loveable, loyal and a fierce fighter. In the last book, Wanted Undead or Alive, there was an enemy name Rhett Bleddyn who had a history with Howard but we didn’t get the whole story. In this book, we learn that Rhett Bleddyn killed Howard’s high school girlfriend and Howard thought he had killed Rhett until he showed up in the last book.
Howard returns to Alaska to destroy Rhett Bleddyn’s reputation. Howard hacks into Rhett’s computer and feeds the information to his best friend Harry who is a reporter for a newspaper. Harry and Howard work together to destroy Rhett’s political career and his hold on law enforcement and government. Howard decides that he needs to be far away from Alaska when the news hits so that Rhett does not find out he was behind any of it.
While Howard is gone, Shanna finds DVDs under Howard’s bed and thinks they are pornography because her son said that Howard watches Big Al, The Hammer and Amazon Ellie on the DVDs. She watches them and discovers that the DVDs are actually of a popular home improvement show and that Howard has a crush on Elsa Bjornberg aka Amazon Ellie. She decides to play match maker and invites the show to remodel the gatehouse where she and Roman will live near the school for children with special abilities.
When Howard returns, Shanna surprises him with the news that the show is in town and tells him that he is to represent her on the show since she cannot show her face because they don’t want their enemies knowing where they live or that it is even their house.
Elsa is immediately attracted to Howard, not only because she is a tall and stout woman who has always felt like she lumbered over men and Howard makes her feel petite, but because he looks at her like she is a goddess. Both Howard and Elsa have family curses which they both thought were fairy tales handed down from generation to generation until they get to know one another and find out that their curses are related. Not only do they have to overcome their curses, they have to deal with Rhett Bleddyn.
I felt sorry for Elsa in this story. She has a great life built for herself even if she was a little lonely and then all of the sudden, she has a whole other reality thrown at her from curses to shifters and vampires. I think she handled it all pretty well.
There were a few things that I wonder if they will blowback on the school which is supposed to be kept secret from anyone. Howard’s cousins put a bunch of stuff on Facebook that could lead to their location while they were at the school. Howard had them take down the posts but someone could have seen it. The wolves found the town but I’m not exactly sure how they learned about it. Also, the show had a lot of people and supplies go to the gatehouse so anyone could probably trace it. The Vamp’s enemies all know Howard works for them so when he appears on the show along with his twin cousins who were interviewed on the show, someone could recognize him and find the school with minimum investigation. But of course, that could be me just being realistic and we know these books are not about being realistic.
Nothing really happened with the fight against Master Han and his army in this book or the last book. That was kind of frustrating.
The word “winced” was used 58 times in this book, three more times than the last book. That’s a lot of wincing.
Overall, the story was pretty enjoyable. I don’t think I liked it quite as much as previous books but I still liked it.
Of course, I’ve already downloaded and started reading the next book in the series, The Vampire with the Dragon Tattoo. It’s not about Mikhail who is my crush. It’s about Dougal.
Book Cover Design – I’m loving the hot pink typography and for once the models match the characters in the book. I don’t think the man being in black and white and the female being in color works quite as well as in one of the previous covers that had this theme. The other male was a vampire which worked out great because of him being undead, it seemed appropriate but with the main character here being a shifter, the black and white didn’t work as well. Everything else worked out great. It’s a nice cover.