The Mysteries Of Myth And Legend Shine Bright Against A Backdrop Of Action And Romance In "Shadow Wolf"

33596075 Title:  Shadow Wolf
Series:  (Arctic Brotherhood #2)
Author:  Jane Godman
Review Format:  eARC
Length:  177 pages
Publisher:  Swerve/St. Martin's Press
Rating:  4 Stars

They are the Arctic Brotherhood.

They are deadly fighters, fierce protectors and loyal mates.

Samson Lee last saw Valetta Rickard five years ago when a shared a kiss almost led him to break the promise he had made to himself. Now Valetta has disappeared, and Samson has promised her father he will find her. When Samson finds Valetta leading a rogue gang of bloodthirsty Arctic werewolves, he soon discovers that all is not what it seems. As soon as they see each other again the feelings they denied all those years ago resurface.
Valetta is Shadow Born, a rare and mystical werewolf with legendary powers. If she chooses, she can destroy a whole species. A power that an evil hunter wants so that he can destroy the Arctic wolves. Samson, together with the other members of the brotherhood, must find the hunter before he can put his plans for Valetta into action. At the same time, Samson must put the past behind him and convince Valetta that she is worthy of love.

 Sample An Excerpt Of The Adventure To Come 

Valetta waited for Samson’s expression to change. She had just confessed to being Shadow Born. She was a monster who had the power to destroy his whole species. Now he knew what she was, she expected him to walk away in disgust. At the very least. If he tried to kill her, she wouldn’t blame him.
               What she didn’t expect was for him to lift her into his lap and wrap his strong arms around her so that he could cradle her against his chest. One big hand ran up and down her back in a surprisingly gentle motion. He held her that way for long, heart-stopping minutes until some of the terror that had held her heart in a vise for so long began to melt away.
               “How did you find out?”
               She loved that he didn’t do the obvious stuff. Didn’t say it couldn’t be true. Didn’t exclaim and wonder. Didn’t offer sympathy or horror. He just got directly to the important part.
               “My mother left me a letter to be opened when I was twenty-one.” She lifted her head and found Samson’s face disturbingly close. “My father thought it was a lovely idea. That it would contain sentimental mother-daughter stuff, you know?”
               “Hendrik never knew?”
               She shook her head so violently that the action vibrated through both their bodies. It was a mistake. Even in such a serious situation, she was all too aware of his potent masculinity. The powerful thigh muscles beneath her buttocks clenched, and she sensed him battling for control. “He still doesn’t know. Her letter begged me not to tell him.”
               He gave a soft growl, his eyes probing hers. “So you have been dealing with this all alone for two years?”
               “What else could I do? The truth would have destroyed my father. He loved her so much.” Valetta decided that although Samson’s lap was her new favorite place, it was probably not the best position from which to conduct a serious conversation. Reluctantly, she moved back to sit at his side. “Did you ever meet her?”
               “Only once.” He seemed to be conjuring up a mental image. “The main thing I remember about Teresa is that she was stunningly beautiful. You are very like her.” Valetta hung her head. She’d never been good at accepting compliments and a tribute from Samson was so far outside her experience it knocked her off balance. “They were happy together and I was pleased that Hendrik had found someone at last.”
               “Did you ever think it was strange that he had been alone for so long and then, just as he left the brotherhood, he met my mother?”
               “I never thought of it that way. If I had, I suppose I’d have said it was a happy twist of fate.”
               “Happy? Or sinister?” Valetta had had the last two years to think about this. Her mother’s letter hadn’t told her much. Just that Teresa was a Shadow Wolf. Which makes me just about the worst thing in the world to a werewolf. I’m like a silver bullet wrapped in flesh and blood.

My Thoughts

"Death to the Shadow Born!"
The one phrase that has managed to strike fear into Valetta Rickard.  A young lady born into privilege, beauty, and a secret.  A secret linked to the wolf inside her.  A secret linked to a mother she never knew.  A secret that if unleashed, could make her the destroyer of the Arctic Werewolf race.

So, when the beautiful young were female disappears from her home without a trace.  Her father, a former member of the elite Arctic Brotherhood, turned senator, is on a mission to find his only daughter.  A mission that he will do anything to complete.  A mission he knows can only find a successful conclusion in the hands of one man...Samson Lee.

Samson Lee is the best "tracker" that the Arctic Brotherhood has.  Which means that he is the best "tracker" period.
The fact that the last time Samson had seen the beautiful alpha, the chemistry between the two had produced a natural phenomenon to rival the Aurora Borealis.  It would be more than safe to say that Samson's reasons for finding Valetta can only be classified as "personal".

But to say that "sometimes things aren't as they appear" would be quite the understatement.  As Samson soon learns, when he finds that the missing Valetta is know alpha of the very gang thought to want to kill her.
A twist of fate that changes Samson's role in her life from that of rescuer of bodyguard.  As he now works with Valetta to solve the mysteries of both her mysterious past, and what could be a very deadly future.

Shadow Wolf is the second offering in the Arctic Brotherhood series.  A book that it seems lets the girls take the lead.  At least that is what one comes to think at first glance.  But the closer that one looks into this most twisty of paranormal plots, the more one comes to see that this is less and less the case.
Sadly, Valetta just never seems to be able to convincingly wrangle her alpha.  A disappointing fact that is thankfully negated by all of the history, mystery, and lore surrounding the Shadow Wolf plot line.
Speaking of which...
All the build up that leads to the final appearance of said Shadow Wolf provides readers with decidedly more excitement than the actual event.
In fact, everything about the famed and lauded Shadow Wolf can best be described as anticlimactic.

It is both the lack of a true alpha, in the case of Valetta, and the rather lackluster outcome of the Shadow Wolf plot.  That gives reason for the 4 Star rating to an otherwise 5 Star read.  The writing is superb.  The romance and rapport between the leads is effortless.  The story as a whole is cohesive and well done.
What seems to have happened here, is what happens sometimes in the case of second books.  It is a  "middle child syndrome" of sorts.  A book that is serving as both the continuing momentum for the series as a whole.  As well as a "one up" for the story that came before.  Never really managing to find a solid footing of its own in the process.

Reviewer's Note:  Shadow Wolf is the second book in a loosely related companion series.  As such, it may be read in any order within the series.  Or as a standalone.

About Jane

Jane Godman writes paranormal romance for Harlequin Nocturne, thrillers for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, and steamy historical romance for Samhain Publishing. Her paranormal series, The Arctic Brotherhood, is published by SMP Swerve. Jane lives in Cheshire, England, is married to a lovely man and is mum to two grown up children. When not writing, Jane loves to travel to European cities that are steeped in history.
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