Title: Alpha’s Challenge
Author: Lauren Dane
Series: Cascadia Wolves
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: 3/1/2017
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 186
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
“Mark me and make me yours.”
As an unmated alpha, Cade was beginning to believe his entire life would be dedicated to the pack. He’d do anything for his pack family, but his life isn’t complete without someone to share it with. He didn’t expect to finally find his reason for being in the heart and soul of his greatest enemy’s sister.
Dr. Grace Pellini has never felt so isolated and afraid. Ever since her rogue brother threatened the existence of wolf and human alike with a viral weapon, she had no choice but to cut all ties with her pack. But now Grace has something new: Cade Warden, whose body and exhilarating scent make her come undone. In him, she’s not only found her destined mate, she’s also rediscovered herself, and her place in a world at war.
But the Cascadia wolves are not so unquestioning as Cade is of Grace’s loyalty, and their suspicions are posing a dangerous threat. Now, to defeat a madman and end the war, Cade and Grace have only each other to trust—by finding their ultimate strength in the power of desire…
Lauren Dane is not a new author to me but I’ve only recently started reading her paranormal romances. I believe her Cascadia Wolves series is being re-released by Carina Press and when each book comes out, I snatch it up. Like other paranormal series, Dane’s wolves mate for life and seem to find their mates at first scent. What’s different is that the female of the pair needs to mate with another male wolf after the Mate Bond is in place. The Tri-Bond, as it’s called, helps calm the female’s hormones and allows the female to survive if her mate dies. Honestly, I have a bit of a problem with the reasoning behind the Tri-Bond but by the fifth book in the series, I was okay with it. And it adds an erotic edge to the story.
Needless to say, I’ve been waiting for Cade’s book for a while. He was first introduced as the stern and protective alpha. In his brother Lex’s book, he performed the Tri-Bond with Lex’s mate, Nina, and with the three of them living together, he has a tight relationship with Nina. That proved an issue when Cade meets his mate, Grace. Since Grace and Cade were both wolves and immediately accepted that they were mates and loved each other, there needed to outside forces affecting their relationship or this would have been a short and boring book. Luckily, Grace is the sister of Warren Pellini, the main villain in this series. This, on top of Cade’s relationship with Nina, provided some of the conflict in the book.
Grace and Cade were introduced when she offered information about her brother’s research with the werewolf virus to Cade and his allied packs. They had the instant love at first scent of a Mate-Bond. What I really liked about the book was watching Cade and Grace learn to live with each other. The bond means they are in love but that doesn’t mean their relationship is smooth sailing. Grace had to cope with Cade’s Alpha nature and over-protectiveness. Cade had to learn to discuss things with his new mate and to make time for each other outside of the pack.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It flowed well with the previous books in the series in terms of the war with Warren Pellini. Cade and Grace were both interesting and complex characters. While there was the instant love plot, there is also plenty of internal and external pressures on their relationship which made the book compelling. Both the Tri-Bond scene and the passion between Cade and Grace provides the book with a steaminess. This was a satisfying paranormal romance with an edge of eroticism.