Bastien by Tianna Xander
Hidden Breeds, #1
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (258 pgs)
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Dahlia
Trying to escape from her personal hell leads Carly to Bastien. Taking on a job as housekeeper, things rapidly are not what they seem around Bastien’s homestead. With wild animals coming in from the woods and her vicious ex-husband circling the front gate, Carly is desperate to find security and a feeling of calm.
Bastien is an alpha wolf and knows her the moment he meets her on the most basic of levels. From scent to curves, Carly draws his attention and holds it when he should be concentrating on pack business.
Just as he’s starting to make his move, they are separated by a secret government lab dedicated to turning soldiers into shifters and Carly ends up in a cage, left wondering if he is the one man who thinks she is worth rescuing.
When abuse is all you've ever known, how do you learn to trust in love again?
Carly has hit rock bottom. Living a life filled with abuse is no way to live and this latest incident is the last straw for her. She is mentally and physically exhausted and feels death would give her the freedom to end all the pain. This newfound peace of mind gives her the courage she needs to tell the truth to the police. With a restraining order as her only line of defense against him, she tries to remain incognito hoping her ex-husband will give up and move on. When she lands a job as a housekeeper in a secluded area, she begins to think her luck may have changed. Plagued by nightmares and trust issues of both man and beast, Carly soon realizes she’s not out of the woods yet.
Bastien has many secrets. Secrets about his dual nature, the true identities of his "friends", and the instinctual feelings he harbors for his housekeeper. Bastien is desperate for Carly to trust him and the animals he cares for, but knows that there are deep-seated fears he has to work through in order to gain her trust. Little by little, he breaks down those barriers while his own resolve to remain detached crumbles. He knows he must tell her things she may not be receptive to and a traumatic past experience has left him with little hope that this will be different. However, time runs out when Carly’s ex-husband pays a visit and his father comes to him with horrific images and a missing leg. The seemingly insurmountable barriers continue to intensify when Carly goes missing. Now a new threat has emerged of far more sinister proportions and a cold reality check is delivered that could have devastating results.
Once you’ve started reading this story, you’re not going to want to stop. There is a pleasant balance between the action sequences and the sexual tension that builds with a smoldering intensity. Although there were moments that seemed a bit unfocused, there is still so much depth in the plot and every scene is readily imagined. Reader’s will appreciate and connect with Bastien and Carly’s relationship as it is built over time with emotion and trust. It would be hard not to feel for Carly’s character and the physical and mental abuse she endured while with her ex-husband. Ms. Xander depicts some of the before and after effects of that abuse quite well, so reader’s should be warned if this is not subject matter they would like to read.
This being the first in a series and my first read by this talented author, I am excited for more. It will be interesting to see who the focus of the next book will be and how the plot will continue to thicken.