Romance novelist, Clarice Adler, has lost the inspiration to write ever since dumping her cheating boyfriend. How do you dream up a plot of two people falling in love, when you’ve stopped believing in love yourself? But her deadline is looming, and her career hangs in the balance, so she decides to lock herself away on the secluded Scottish Isle of Skye to finish her manuscript. Upon meeting Derek McMillan there, it seems she’s found her new muse and the words start to flow out of her as if by magic. Clarice falls for him, hard, despite knowing nothing about the man, except that he’s unavailable.
Derek McMillan has been managing his farm and renting out a few holiday cottages on his own for years now. He deals with the occasional tourist for some extra money, but mostly keeps to himself. When he first lays eyes on the curvy beauty, Clarice, he immediately regrets accepting her booking. Lightning strikes, and as much as he tries to deny it, his inner bear knows that she’s his mate. But he’s a shifter, and she’s a human, and the two can’t ever mix, can they?
In this steamy paranormal romance novella, follow along as an impossible love blossoms between two people, who couldn’t be more different. One might say fate intended for them to meet, if you believe in that sort of thing, but they’re both set on fighting their attraction with everything they’ve got. They’re going to need another push to admit to themselves as well as each other what’s going on…
Please note that this is the first title in the Scottish Werebears Series. Each book features a different couple from first meeting to HEA, as well as an overarching external plot that won't be fully resolved until the end of the series.
WHY I CHOSE THIS BOOK...
The blurb interested me and I like the yummy cover. The setting is Scotland. So yeah... Scottish + Werebear = 'Nuff said.
STORY IN NUTSHELL...
Clarice, a writer, takes a two week trip to a secluded Scottish Isle to overcome her writing block (due to a cheating boyfriend) and finish her novel. She meets Derek, the owner of the cottage she rented. Attraction ensues but she is human and Derek is a werebear and a somewhat reclusive one at that. His fated mate cannot be human so he tries to keep his distance until she leaves, but then an event occurs putting Clarice in danger and forces him to accept his feelings and make Clarice his mate.
WHAT I LIKED...
I like the story pace at the beginning. Even though it was a novella, it didn’t rush right into the relationship and sex like many of them do. It went slow, relatively speaking for a novella, but it pulled me through and I enjoyed getting to know Derek and Clarice a little. I just wish there was more interaction between Derek and Clarice themselves. They interact very little during the first half of the book as they work through their own issues and misunderstandings. I found Derek and Clarice to both be likable characters, but I think the lack of interaction between them early in the story may be partly the reason why I didn’t really feel much of a connection between them. Like most novellas that I have read, eventually the story pace speeds up and suddenly everything starts to happen quickly…too quickly for my tastes.
I also like that there is no cliffhanger and it has an HEA. The next book looks like it focuses on a different couple, which is set up at the end of this book. So even though it's a novella, I greatly appreciate that it follows the basic reader expectations of a "Romance".
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE...
- The werebears talked to each other in their bear form. It pulled me right out of the story and felt like a Disney movie.
- There were some inconsistencies/logic blips like when the power is out but Derek is able to warm up some mulled wine and later implied they would have some stew that I assume would have to be warmed up.
- No real external conflict. The Sons of Domnall (humans who hunt shifters) were introduced late in the story but they weren’t really part of this story. It seems more of a setup for an overarching conflict for the continuing series. There really wasn’t anything that happened to create much suspense in this story other than the storm and its result that finally brings Derek and Clarice together. There was some internal conflict in the form of Derek and Clarice getting over their issues and a minor misunderstanding both of which kept them apart for most of the first part of the book. Derek needed to get over himself about having a human for a fated mate. Clarice made an assumption leading to a misunderstanding based on something that Derek says (he says it intentionally to keep his distance from her so this was partly Derek’s fault... actually it's all Derek's fault... stupid bear).
- Derek’s dialogue was not written with any Scottish brogue at all. I consider the accent to be a yummy bit in a romance with a Scottish hero so the lack of it was disappointing and I had to keep reminding myself that Derek was Scottish and the story is taking place in Scotland.
- The ending felt a little abrupt. I wasn’t expecting to turn the page and suddenly find the epilogue.
It appears this book is the first in a series of novellas each with an HEA for a different couple but with an overarching conflict in each book in the form of the Sons of Domnall. This is just my guess and I could be wrong so don’t take my word for it. UPDATE: I just noticed at the end of the blurb where it basically says this exact thing... ha! I honestly hadn't read that until after I posted my review and copied the blurb here. If nothing else, I nailed that part at least :)
I enjoyed the story but like most novellas, I felt it was too short for me to get a fully satisfying story. A longer story would have allowed for better characterization, a slower and more fleshed out relationship between Derek and Clarice, some better world building, and better suspense and conflict. I guess in the end I just wanted “more” from the story.
I received a free advanced review copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Heat Level: open door and steamy/spicy, 1 scene near the end
Kindle locations: 956 - story text ends at 934 (97%)
Print Length: 100 pages
Cover Art: Yum!