Title: Dark Wolf Rising
Series: Bloodrunners, Book 4
Author: Rhyannon Byrd
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Sensuality Rating: Steamy
Source: review copy from publisher via NetGalley
Published: December 18, 2012 by Harlequin
Eric Drake, a powerful Dark Wolf, has never trusted himself around human females-preferring to mate only within his pack. That is, until he encounters Chelsea Smart snooping around Silvercrest pack land in search of her missing sister. Secretly, Chelsea thinks Eric is the sexiest man she's ever seen, though she is wary of his potent Alpha energy. Then it's discovered that Chelsea's sister is being held by a pack of vicious Lycans, and Eric heroically leaps into action. Now, Chelsea will risk everything-her body and soul-to surrender to the passion that will mark her as Eric's woman for all eternity...if they survive.
Reviewed By: J9
In a Nutshell: Surprisingly great romance and strong world-building with good action plot. Can’t believe this is from a Harlequin serial line!
The Set Up: Chelsea is searching for her missing sister but unwittingly wanders on Lycan property. Eric is a powerful Dark Wolf sent to warn her away but the two can’t resist each other, no matter how much they think they should.
Why I Read this Book: I am a big fan of this author’s Primal Instinct series and had to see if her storytelling skills came through in a Harlequin Nocturne book. I didn’t realize at the time that this is book four in her Bloodrunners series but it only made me want to go back and read the previous books.
What I Liked: I was shocked at the great world building in this book. I admit to a prejudice in writing quality in Harlequin lines but I’m a large enough girl to admit when I’m wrong—and I was totally wrong here! The lycan lore is just different enough to be interesting. For instance, bloodrunners are half-breed wolf/human and they are outcast police for rogue werewolves but the packs they protect revile them. Eric is a Dark Wolf, which is a pure-breed werewolf but the pack hates him too and he’s in self-exile with the bloodrunners. I’m a total sucker for a group of outcasts forming their own community and that is the premise of this story and series. The bloodrunners and Eric live in The Alley, away from their lycan pack but are still charged with protecting them and humans from rogue werewolves. This makes for a compelling cast of characters and I can’t wait to go back and read the previous books to see how these great couples got together. The other big benefit is there are plenty of hot bloodrunners to continue the series!
What I Also Liked: The romance between Eric and Chelsea is a great blend of emotional and sexual intimacy. They initially aren’t friendly as Eric tries to force Chelsea to leave so they butt heads often. But when they slowly open themselves to each other the emotional and sexual intensity is stellar. It’s unusual in romance novels to have the heroine’s past be what keeps the couple apart but it’s well done here. Plus, Chelsea does some great groveling that is typically reserved for thickheaded romance heroes so I liked this paradigm shift.
What I Didn’t Like: There is no polite way to say this so I’ll just say it: the author is a cock-tease. I felt bad for poor Eric as he serviced Chelsea repeatedly but then something would happen and Eric wouldn’t get off: baddies converging, emergency phone calls, family and friends interrupting. Poor Eric spent most of this novel in sexual frustration. I was willing to overlook a few but after half the book, I was rolling my eyes because I just *knew* Eric wouldn’t get his jollies at this sex scene either. It became a game to me as I tried to guess how long it would be before Eric got to the finish line. Let me just say, it was much further than even I guessed!
IMO: This was such a good paranormal romance that I’m going to do something I never thought I would: buy the three previous books in a Harlequin Nocturne series!