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Monday, August 29, 2011

Clawed by Beverly Rae

Clawed by Beverly Rae
Wild Things, Book 3
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (98 pgs)
Other: M/F, Voyeurism, Masturbation
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

His beast could rip out her heart…if she doesn’t claim his first.

Wild Things, Book 3

Chloe Long has cleaned up her last mess where her now ex-boyfriend is concerned. Desperate to clear her mind of her last images of him—in her bed with another woman, then with his hand around her throat—she heads for the mountains. The one place that refreshes her spirit.

Conan Cahill’s sojourn in the North Carolina mountains was supposed to be a break from the demands of his bear-shifter people…and the smell of humans. When he discovers a human female secretly sketching his naked body, though, his reaction catches him off guard. Not only does her scent rouse an aching need to touch and taste, her stubborn refusal to give up the drawing makes his body twitch in some very pleasurable ways.

Trapped with Conan in her tent during a storm, all thoughts of sleeping alone fly out of Chloe’s mind. She can’t help but grab something more than forty winks in her sleeping bag. They come together like thunder and lightning, but there’s danger beyond the rain. And the stirring of a love that may not survive their differences.

What’s a were-bear to do when he finally finds a woman who can see beyond his fur? Claim her of course. It’s not as easy as he’d like which made for a fun book to read.

Chloe is the heroine of the piece and she’s tired of always picking the wrong man. Seems she has an ideal but he only exists in her dreams. After reading the story, I think Fate was giving her hints as to who she was finally going to be happy with. It took a leap of faith and the ability to see the whole picture for Chloe to come to terms with what her future might hold – if she’s brave enough and emotionally strong enough to grab it. Her character goes through a process of believing, not believing and finally acceptance. The author handled the character’s fear and trepidation well without turning the heroine into a mass of conflicted angst that would have undermined her and overshadowed the plot and story. It was just the right balance.

Conan is the hero who is on the run. From what, I was never completely sure but the important thing is, I figured out who he was running to – eventually. The hero seemed like a lonely man which isn’t helped by the fact that he gave the impression that he was a loner as well. He doesn’t interact much with the outside world so his attempts at wooing the skittish Chloe were conflicted. He wants her, of that there is no doubt, but he’s plagued with a lot of insecurities and worries. For a big guy, he’s a crème puff. The only thing that man was confident in and did with alacrity was making love to the heroine. His post-coital actions needed some refinement, but I am betting Chloe will be effective in fixing that. As it was, it contributed to the chaos called courtship.

There seemed to be a secondary romance going on between Chloe’s best friend, Nina and Conan’s buddy, Billy. It was cute and it was nice that everyone seemed to find love in the wilderness; I just wished that more time was spent on getting into Conan’s motivations and emotions. It seemed that the author only gave enough information to make their sexual union more palatable and believable. I guess it worked but I miss having that connection where I really craved to see them come together. I wasn’t teased enough and I think this book had plenty of length that it could have been addressed in some fashion.

The outside conflict came from an ex-boyfriend of Chloe’s. I figured he was going to push his brutish head into the mix and be as obnoxious as the author presented him early on. What I didn’t expect was the second and third confrontations. I was impressed by the last one because it totally took me by surprise. At that point, there were two layers of action going on. The one where Roger tried to instigate a violent reaction and did something brutal to Conan, and the other where the hero kept his promise to Chloe. As silly as I might have thought it was, because he interpreted it literally, it was romantic and sweet and proved Conan to be a true hero, all in the name of love.

Clawed didn’t end with a big, flowery and typical wrap-up. The finale showcased instead, a beginning. Chloe’s life will never be the same and it’s more powerful because she chose it. I found that much more romantic than anything either character could have said or done.

If love, were-bear style, is intriguing, then read Clawed. It’s an engaging and entertaining paranormal romance that has enough heat and fur to keep a reader’s interest.

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