Tangle of Need
Berkley / May 29, 2012 / $16.24 print, $12.99 digital
Adria, wolf changeling and resilient soldier, has made a break with the past—one as unpredictable in love as it was in war. Now comes a new territory, and a devastating new complication: Riaz, a SnowDancer lieutenant already sworn to a desperate woman who belongs to another.
For Riaz, the primal attraction he feels for Adria is a staggering betrayal. For Adria, his dangerous lone-wolf appeal is beyond sexual. It consumes her. It terrifies her. It threatens to undermine everything she has built of her new life. But fighting their wild compulsion toward one another proves a losing battle.
Their coming together is an inferno...and a melding of two wounded souls who promise each other no commitment, no ties, no bonds. Only pleasure. Too late, they realize that they have more to lose than they ever imagined. Drawn into a cataclysmic Psy war that may alter the fate of the world itself, they must make a decision that might just break them both.
The air crackles with tension in the eleventh installment of Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changling series because the PsyNet is the verge of civil war. Councilor Harry Scott has been missing in action since Sienna Laurens, an X-Psy, brought forth a raging fire and destroyed most of the Psy army to protect the changelings. While the Psy try to recover and determine whether or not Harry was killed in the fire, other leaders of the Psy are making power plays for supremacy and they don’t care how much of the NetMind and it inhabitants must be sacrificed to emerge as the victor. When a plan comes to light that might claim tens of thousands, the Psy turn to their enemy, the changelings, to help keep their world from collapsing.
While most Were and Shifter stories involve the use of a “mating bond,” Tangle of Need focuses on second chances outside of the mating bond and gives us a taste of the decisions and fears suffered when circumstances force changelings to live without that bond and whether love can be achieved naturally between two primal, dominant wolves without the magic of that sacred bond.
In the background of this story, the SnowDancers are celebrating the recent changes in their pack, including a new life created by a mated pair, and the mating ceremony of their Alpha, Hawke, with Sienna Laurens. The joy felt by the pack on this momentous occasion is tempered by a little envy: Lone Wolf and pack Lieutenant Riaz Delgado found his mate a year ago. He felt the wondrous pull of the mating bond. But Riaz meets a harsh reality when he finds out that the woman is already happily married, and bond or no bond, he would not bring himself to claim a mate who was already in love with another.
He has returned to the SnowDancer territory to lick his wounds surrounded by his pack family, and to get on with a future that will not include a life mate. His attraction to Adria Morgan feels like a betrayal to a woman whom he can never have and it is both tormenting and frustrating to his inner wolf.
He’d always known he would one day take a lover. Lisette—a near-blinding stab of pain—was happily married, would never belong to him. It was a truth nothing could change, and he’d understood he’d have to accept that before it destroyed him.
It has been awhile since Adria walked away from a long-term relationship which never included that precious mating bond. When Adria and Riaz decide to give into their mutual attraction to simply fill the loneliness that they both suffering, their attraction builds into more, a mutual respect and desire to spend time with each other.
Although most romances featuring plain-old humans involve taking that uncertain chance at love with another person, it is a very hard decision in the world of shifters to risk giving your heart to someone to whom you can only be second choice to their one true mate.
Adria made him happy. He’d worried his wolf would fight him, fight how hard he’d fallen for her, but the predator in him was delighted with the lover who had become a friend…and who now owned a great big chunk of his heart.
It was a punch to the throat, the discovery that he was still capable of such a visceral depth of emotion. Finding, then losing Lisette hadn’t withered away the part of him that felt a wild possessive tenderness toward the long-limbed goddess in his arms, and where once he would’ve seen his feelings for Adria as a betrayal, he now saw them as a gift. He’d been given a second chance.
While sneaking peaks into the mating bond shared by Hawke and Sienna as they prepare for their bonding ceremony, we are given the contrast of an unprecedented pairing of two changelings who are trying to create a life outside of a mating bond and the uncertainty of whether the bond they create will be as strong as natural instincts, and the risks involved to heart and soul.
Lucy Dosch writes book reviews for her blog http://ebookobsessed.com. Her e-reader has turned her love of reading into an obsession. When she is not reading, she likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters.