Tour’s Books Blog

June 17, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: Running Wild by Sarah McCarty (erotic romance)

This book is three separate, sequential intertwined novellas, Donovan, Kelon and Wyatt. Twins Donovan and Kelon McGowan are Protectors of the Carmichael Pack of werewolves, and Wyatt, their cousin and currently sheriff of Haven, is the wayward alpha ascending that Donovan has come to bring back to the Pack. Wyatt’s father is dying and the Pack needs him. All three stories play out over a period of a week or so.

Donovan opens with Wyatt and Donovan sitting in the small town’s only entertainment, a bar, bowling alley, pool hall as a furious Lisa Delaney storms in and heads straight for Buddy, picking up a pool cue on her way. Lisa is mad as hell and has every right to be. Buddy beat the crap out of her sister, Robin. His mother bought off the DA and no charges were brought – but Lisa plans to extract payment and proceeds to beat him with the cue stick. She hasn’t got it in her to kill him, which might be a big mistake.

Donovan and Wyatt hustle her butt out of there, and Donovan realizes he’s holding his mate. As with many werewolf stories, this one is one wolf, one mate, but no humans allowed, especially in the ultra conservative Carmichael Pack where he’s a Protector. Wyatt tries to talk him out of it, but Donovan has already made up his mind, Lisa is his mate, that’s it, even if it means being packless. Lisa is having none of his ‘take charge and tell the little woman what to do’, but her truck won’t turn over and it’s Donovan who takes her home.

Arriving at Lisa’s house – one she’s hoping to turn into a B&B – her sister Robin runs out. Her bruises show and Donovan can tell by her smell she’s not just injured, she’s very sick. But nothing can hold Donovan’s attention other than his mate. The lure of her is too great and he ends up marking her during their night together, but not telling her he’s a werewolf. In the morning Wyatt, realizing what Donovan has done, has his say about it and heads home to his dying father. They return to get her truck at the club, there’s payback from the night before and the pool cue incident and Donovan is very badly hurt. Hs healing ability can only be explained by telling Lisa the truth.

Then Kelon starts when Kelon, Donovan’s twin and fellow Protector, arrives at the house. Meeting Robin is like having a ton of bricks fall on him. Wilder and less civilized than Donovan, he’s the stuff of Robin’s dreams. After her disastrous experience with Buddy, Robin is initially afraid of Kelon. He comes on so strongly that Donovan steps in and Kelon barely grabs hold of himself when he realizes he’s scaring is mate and her sister Donovan’s mate. He wins them back by cooking – seems he has considerable skill in the kitchen, a welcome talent in this household. After cleaning himself up, he looks a little more civilized and even works a 3-D jigsaw puzzle with Robin as way to get her over her fear of him. Robin is embarrassed ‘ because she thinks Donovan has asked his brother to ‘date’ her. She knows all too well she’s sick and this likely will have only one outcome, a fact Kelon is well aware of. Much as she wants to, just once, experience the joy of knowing a man who desires her, this is humiliating. Kelon points out the flaw in her thinking – it’s not remotely possible that even Donovan could tell him what to do. Kelon makes her wait till the next night for their date.

Donovan won’t tell Kelon what’s going on with Robin, he feels that’s for her to tell him, but he does tell him about his concerns for her safety. The two brothers worry about Buddy and his idiot friends, the ones who drove Lisa and Donovan off the road. Then they find what amounts to a snipers nest where someone was watching the house. Kelon hauls Robin off to keep her safe and seduces her. Robin tells him what’s wrong with her and Kelon doesn’t care what that means to him. She’s his mate and he will follow her, be with her, regardless of the cost. He tells her his truth. There in their hideout, he mates with her, locking his life to hers.

The sniper catches up to them and there’s an interesting twist here. Kelon and Robin end up back at the house when the eldest sister, Heather, a nurse, arrives. She’s none too pleased about either man and figures her two sisters have gotten involved with certifiable nut cases.

This is where Wyatt starts. Heather flatly refuses to believe in werewolves. When asked to prove it by shifting, Donovan can’t because has promised Lisa not to shift and Robin wants her sister to trust their judgment and believe them and refuses to let Kelon shift to prove what they are. Kelon, of all people seems to understand the best.

Next day, they all head to the werewolf home where Wyatt is dealing with his father’s impending death. The Carmichael Pack are arch traditionalists. Wyatt has been challenged and simply refuses to kill his challengers – people he grew up with, people with mates and children. It’s getting him injured badly. He’s glad to see Kelon and Donovan with their human mates – and one extra, obviously the oldest sister. It’s to his house that the McGowan’s deliver her and Wyatt finds it’s up to him to explain that their house has only two bedrooms – and she really wouldn’t want to be around two newly mated werewolves. Heather figures Wyatt is as delusional as the brothers, but the nurse in her has her checking out his wounds. It’s then that Wyatt gets his first real scent of her and realizes this bossy piece is his mate. She is also under the McGowan’s protection as a member of their family.

Wyatt can’t help himself, even knowing it will endanger him and possibly risk Heather as well,  he mates her – and leaves his mating mark in a very uncomfortable spot. Heather is just as irresistibly drawn to Wyatt, even though she thinks he’s as delusional as Donovan and Kelon about the whole werewolf thing.

Come morning Wyatt is missing from bed and she finds him fighting. And certain parts of her anatomy burning uncomfortably. Seeing a transformation makes her doubt her own sanity, but she has no intention of allowing Wyatt to get hurt. It’s Wyatt’s father, Al, the man Wyatt has never been able to satisfy, who solves the apparently unsolvable dichotomy between the traditional pack and Wyatt’s progressive views.

Overall, these were three good, solid novellas and combined told a readable and interesting story – even though there are plenty of loose ends for subsequent tales. The writing is a clear narrative style. While Donovan and Kelon seem somewhat interchangeable characters, Wyatt is not. The sisters are well defined and believable. For the erotic romance fan, there’s plenty of hot sex, but aside from suffering the ‘Lora Leigh’ syndrome, it was relatively kink free. (What is it with anal sex????) While none of the novellas reach the level of being great, they are all good and worth a read.

My Grade: C+ (3.25*)

Who would enjoy this book: Followers of Lauren Dane’s Cascadia Wolves and many other werewolf stories. The rating would be X.

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