Title: Wolf’s Challenge
Author: Christina Lynn Lambert
Series: Stranger Creatures
Publisher: Loose ID
Release Date: 02-19-2017
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 214
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 1.5 stars out of 5
Taking risks, especially risks of the handsome male variety, is currently out of the question for Sydney Reid. She will make no exceptions for tall, gorgeous Derrick Porter. Never date a player–it’s rule number one in Sydney’s book, and the charming lawyer constantly devouring her with his eyes is every inch the reason. Despite her best efforts to keep Derrick in the friend zone, sparks fly between the two of them, and Sydney isn’t entirely sure she wants to throw water on the flames.
Can Derrick convince the shy, sexy Sydney to give him a chance, something more than her elusive “maybe”? More importantly, should he? Derrick has a few secrets, the least shocking secret being that he can transform at will into a powerful wolf. He’s still trying to forgive himself for being at the wheel during the accident that killed his son. Losing Sydney when she learns the truth might break him, but he’s pretty sure not having her would be just as bad.
And with an obsessed stalker on their tails, more than their hearts are at issue.
I wanted to like this book. The premise intrigued me, and I found that I was in the mood for a shifter romance. Unfortunately, the book didn’t live up to its promise.
Derrick Porter is a wolf shifter who hasn’t had it easy. Riddled with guilt after ending up in a car wreck that kills his son, Derrick throws himself into his work and plans to stay that way. That is until he meets his new running partner, Sydney.
Sydney Reid doesn’t have the best luck with guys. When she sees Derrick surrounded by women one cloudy morning, she writes him off as a player. It’s the last thing she needs. Derrick, however, is persistent. Little by little, Sydney wonders if there’s more beneath the surface. There’s something that calls to her. If only outside forces weren’t waiting to tear them apart.
I initially picked up this book because I like the enemies to lovers trope. I love when another character digs a little deeper and finds something–someone–they didn’t expect. Someone that surprises them. Unfortunately, the characters never connect on that level. Sydney writes Derrick off instantly. For the first third of the book, she’s not willing to give him a chance. Derrick also hears Sydney say he’s only after one night, so he tries to forget about her. Everything changes in an instant. They hardly exchange more than a few words on the page let alone full conversations, and I didn’t understand the sudden shift (no pun intended) between them. There are some hints that they might have talked, but as a romance reader, I want to see those intimate moments. That brief conversation where the hero or heroine reveals more whether intentional or not. An act that the other witnesses that change their preconceptions. I felt shortchanged because those moments are relegated to the background for insta-lust which quickly becomes insta-love. The fact that he’s a shifter is barely a blip on the radar before they hop into bed.
I continued reading hoping that a spark would ignite or that the romance would flesh out more. While they do have a few meaningful conversations, it never reached the level of intimacy I was hoping for. The outer conflict did add an element of suspense, but the resolution was lackluster.
In the end, I needed to believe in the romance. This fell short.