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A Wolf Apart

A Wolf Apart, August 2018
The Legend of All Wolves #2
by Maria Vale

Sourcebooks
352 pages
ISBN: 1492661902
EAN: 9781492661900
Kindle: B079JXZ2DW
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
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"Stark and feral romance with a mesmerizing wolf shifter series..."

Fresh Fiction Review

A Wolf Apart
Maria Vale

Reviewed by Make Kay
Posted August 2, 2018

Romance Paranormal | Fantasy Urban

Packing the same visceral punch as book one, A WOLF APART is Maria Vale's second book in the Legend of All Wolves series. This is a gritty book that does not hide from the realities of life as a wolf shifter, such as bloody gore all over one's muzzle from prey or the high likelihood of being shot by a hunter to end one's life prematurely. Fans of Anne Bishop's The Others series will revel in the profound sense of other-ness that Vale creates in her wolf shifters.

Elijah Sorensson is the Alpha wolf of the 9th Echelon. He's been living away from his Pack for 30 years, operating at a New York City law firm in order to shepherd the interests of his Pack through human affairs. The prolonged separation from his Pack, broken only once a month for the mandatory moon-called change that every wolf undergoes, has been wearing on his sanity. I love how deftly Vale draws the strokes to show Elijah holding on to his mental state by the tips of his fingers. Er, I mean claws.

Elijah then meets a human that he falls in love with. Thea Villalobos seems almost other-worldly herself and is an intriguing character in her own right. Elijah and Thea's romance causes all kinds of political issues, as wolves are forbidden to consort with humans. The political machinations between Pack members as well as between the Pack and their enemies are constantly roiling, providing a great deal of suspense and action.

A WOLF APART continues to flesh out the surprising world of shifter culture, with the concepts adding a great jolt of new blood to the old and sometimes stale ideas in the genre. A WOLF APART can stand on its own, although the richness of the wolf world is more fully appreciated when the books are read in order. A stark and feral read, Vale's A WOLF APART continues to bring a bloody yet appealing realism to the shifter genre.

Learn more about A Wolf Apart

SUMMARY

Can a human truly make room in her heart for the Wild?
Thea Villalobos has long since given up trying to be what others expect of her. So in Elijah Sorensson she can see through the man of the world to a man who is passionate to the point of heartbreak. But something inside him is dying...

Elijah Sorensson has all kinds of outward success: bespoke suits, designer New York City apartment, women clamoring for his attention. Except Elijah despises the human life he's forced to endure. He's Alpha of his generation of the Great North Pack, and the wolf inside him will no longer be restrained...

She sizes me up quickly with eyes the color of ironwood and just as unyielding.
"Thea Villalobos," she says, and it takes me a moment to get my breath back.
Thea Villalobos. Goddess of the City of Wolves.

Excerpt

Setting the Scene: Later in the book, Silver must face her lying-in, the last weeks of her pregnancy. It is a deeply stressful and arduous time and Elijah and the Pack do everything they can to care for her.

And when it’s all clean and stocked, the Alphas head out to the Meeting House to retrieve Silver herself. I link elbows with Eudemos to my left. Across from me, Tristan takes my hands. Altogether twelve of us, with Evie at the head, join hands and arms, linked together in this unbreakable chain of responsibility. Silver’s slight body will be laid across our arms, and we will carry her to the Boathouse.

Silver may be the weakest member of the Pack, but she is about to fight the hardest battle a wolf can face. Up until now, the little beings inside her have changed in response to their mother’s hormones. Soon, they will start responding to each other, and for the next month, Silver will be forced to follow the whims of the four tiny tyrants as they change from skin to wild and back again. If she doesn’t change when they do, if she gives up, her body will see them as aliens and destroy them. The pups will die, but so will Silver.

Every Alpha, the whole Pack, owes her its support, but Victor and a small group of sullen Alphas stand back, gathering around the edges.

Tiberius is already in the large chair, waiting anxiously when we carry Silver in and lay her down. Pillows are fluffed. Blankets are tucked. Then one by one, the Alphas bend over her. Most mark her, though some do not touch her skin. Evie does it last, of course. She squeezes Silver’s hand tightly and whispers something to her. Silver nods.

She seems so small in the middle of the huge mattress built to handle a more viable female.

Everyone looks expectantly at Victor standing at the foot of Silver’s bed, waiting for our Deemer to give the traditional blessing that marks the end of the ceremony and the official beginning of Silver’s lying-in. But Victor says nothing. Because he is standing in front of me, I can’t see his face, but I see the slight movement of his head as he scans the gathered Alphas. Lorcan nods slightly. So do two other younger Alphas. Not Eudemos though. The burly Alpha of the 14th steps forward, positioning himself behind Silver and Tiberius. …

The thing I thought I saw when I fought Tiberius is real. Victor doesn’t like change, doesn’t like what’s happening to the Great North. He wants it to go back to the way it was, when we were all, at the very least, wolves.

Because I am descended from the wolves of Mercia, he thinks I am an ally. I know how to speak our tongue. I know our laws. I studied them for years at the feet of the ancient Sigeburg, our previous Deemer. What he doesn’t know is that I am an abomination much more terrible than a half Shifter. I am a monster beyond his worst imaginings.

I am a wolf who loves a human.

“Say it, Deemer.” I bow my head and whisper softly in his ear. He suddenly lurches to his toes. I squeeze tighter on the vulnerable sac in my left hand. “Say it.”

“Wes þu gebledsod,” he starts with a squeak.

Be thou blessed. Be thy body as strong as the tree. Be thy will as hard as the mountain. Be thy young as wild as the storm. Be thy land as plentiful and untouched as the stars. Be the lead of men as soft as snow upon thy fur. Be thou blessed.

I let go, my left hand covering my right, my head still lowered. Wes þu gebledsod, I murmur with the rest.

Victor whips around to face me. “You,” he whispers, shaking the crimp out of his clenched scrotum, “have made a fatal mistake.”

“Fatal? Is that what you really mean? Are you challenging me, Deemer? Please, I will not lose.”

“You lost once,” he spits out. “When you needed to win.”

“I have never lost when I needed to win.”

He stomps away, followed by Lorcan and those two other young Alphas.

Had he been any other Pack, I would have challenged him in the paddock, but I can’t. I am a lawyer. I understand the need to protect judges from intimidation and influence, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t dearly love to tear his miserable hide to shreds.

The room has cleared, leaving only Gabi, the ob-gyn, who has once again taken time off from her Offland practice, and Alex, the radiologist who is fitting Silver with an ultrasound holster so that he can give her as much warning as possible that her progeny are switching species.

At the door, I watch Tiberius hold her hand. He looks momentarily at the four little bodies in her body, but then his eyes go careening around the Boathouse, searching for something solid and real and comforting that isn’t the woman who is both the source of his strength and his ultimate weakness.

Then I lope back. Leaning down, I mark Tiberius, first along one cheek, then along the other.

As I leave, Silver gives me a sad, hopeful smile full of sharp teeth.


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