Series: Stand Alone
Published by Independent on March 23, 2013
A killer is stalking the streets of Crossroads, Mississippi, and it’s up to Sheriff Ava Dushaine to stop him. But when suspicion falls on werewolf alpha Julian Kasey—Ava’s ex-lover and the man who still haunts her dreams—Ava knows that she’ll either have to prove his innocence…or watch the whole town go up in flames.
My Initial Reaction…
Honestly I was a bit disappointed. This was a free eBook and they usually take me a bit to get to. I enjoyed the story overall, but this one’s description and especially the little warning at the end had me expecting a much more exciting read. I suspect that Cynthia Eden’s novels are much better, since my major complaints with this short all related to underdevelopment of people and storylines.
This short is basically a day in the lives of two main characters: Sheriff Ava Dushaine and Werewolf Alpha Julian Kasey. Ava has the potential to be the kind of heroine I love: she’s independent and strong-willed. She’s smart. And she has a weakness for the town’s really hot werewolf. Because this is a short, we only get to see a brief glimpse of her character and it was enough to make me want to see more. With more development in a longer story-line I think she could be a fabulous character. Within the context of this story, she’s just captivating enough to keep me reading, but not really invested. I got to know Julian even less than Ava, but like her I saw potential for my kind of hero. For one he’s a pain in the ass! But in all the right ways: he’s stubborn and overly protective, because he’s head over heels. But he didn’t work for me. I need to see love interests develop, at least a little bit, especially if the guy is going to be possessive. For me, that’s only endearing after I’ve grown to love him because I know he’s got a soft underbelly; it’s not enough to tell me, I have to see it for myself. So once again, I think that in the context of a longer story, where I would have had time to develop affection for him, Julian would be a fantastic character. As it is, he’s hot and sexy and good enough,
We start this story with Ava investigating several murders that could be the work of werewolves. During her investigations she runs into all kinds of obstacles, including more murders, betrayal, deceit, and Julian. As Alpha of the area’s pack, he’s at the top of her list of people to question and she’s not sure he’s telling her everything. Of course it would be simpler to investigate him if she hadn’t slept with him and didn’t still feel hopeless drawn to him. And if people would stop trying to kill her. With Julian by her side, for better or for worse, she’s going to get to the bottom of what’s going on and to her feelings for the sexy alpha. In the end, it just felt like the story skipped all the plot building and went straight for the series of climaxes that usually make up the heart of the book. I realize that this is a short and thus has less time for that buildup, but for me it needed even just a tad bit more substance. Thankfully all those climaxes did mean that the story wasn’t ever boring, even if I wasn’t really invested in the characters, didn’t understand their world or the importance of their actions.
I really wish I loved this short, but I did still like it. It was like walking into a pretty good movie in the middle and being able to tell it’s a movie you’d like, but you need to watch it from the beginning – except that in this case there was no beginning. It makes me want to read some of Cynthia Eden’s longer works though!