Lauren Dane is a master of female friendships and nuanced small-town romances. When she merges the rural, Southern charm of a small-town with fiery witches and the werewolves who love them in Protected she hits all the right notes to captivate both paranormal and small-town romance fans.
Also, it’s hot.
Protected is the second Diablo Lake novel, which is home to all types of supernatural creatures. The primary forces in the series are rival werewolf packs (Dooley and Pembry) and the witches who try to keep the peace. While the first novel Moonstruck, the plot centered around Katie Faith, who had been engaged to a Pembry wolf long ago (bad memories, y’all) and ended up falling for, and marrying, a Dooley wolf. While Katie Faith was in the middle of the wolves wanting to claim the one they saw as theirs, in Protected Aimee is more focused on keeping the peace in the community and stopping the in-fighting than having rival wolves trying to throw down over which side she picks.
This is, perhaps, what makes Protected such a delightful read right now. Yes, the wolf packs are warring. Yes, the Pembry family needs to get their house in order. Aimee is Katie Faith’s best friend and hangs out with Dooley wolves until she sees Mac Pembry back in town. He’s trying to do the right thing for his family, his pack, and Aimee. That means he’s putting her before anything else, which as a romance reader I love. What’s even better, though, is Aimee’s top priority is getting Diablo Lake in order. She has the power to change things, to lead, and her love life isn’t about to stop her.
Luckily she has a good wolf ready to help her do so. Mac is a strong man with strong ethics, which makes him an ideal match for Aimee. Plus, he (like myself) finds Aimee’s no-filter rambling charming, which makes their bedroom banter some of the most laugh-out-loud reading I’ve encountered in quite some time.
She pinched him and then made an annoyed sound. “You have no body fat. I find this suspicious. Did you truck with dark arts to get that belly? Remember I asked you earlier and you didn’t answer. Probably dark arts.” She shook her head with a sigh.
If you like your werewolves to be responsible alphas—bossy when appropriate, but smart enough to know when to back off—and fun, realistic friendships, you will absolutely adore Lauren Dane’s Protected.
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Chelsea Mueller runs Vampire Book Club and writes SF/F novels (BORROWED SOULS coming May 2017). Her appreciation of Alexander Skarsgard is well documented. Bother her on Twitter — @ChelseaVBC — she likes it.