Neil Duran is the Level One Alpha Enforcer of his werewolf pack. In that capacity, he's been investigating a series of kidnappings, tortures, and murders of some of the most gifted members of their pack. Just as he's getting close to finding the killer, the High Alpha pulls him from the case and instead, orders him to find and return the daughter of their most valued gifted pack member. She cannot be allowed to fall into their enemy's hands or it could lead to a civil war amongst the wolf packs. Neil isn't too happy about his new assignment, especially when he finds out the woman is feisty and argumentative. But the more time they spend in each other's company, the more attracted to her he becomes until he realizes that his wolf is telling him that she's his true mate.
In spite of some strange things happening around her, Alexia Raine has no knowledge of her werewolf heritage and has been trying to live a quiet human life. That all changes one night when she's stalked by dangerous men who turn into frightening beasts right before her eyes. A stranger with seemingly superhuman strength comes to her rescue, fighting them off and whisking her away to a remote compound. That's when she discovers that she's really the daughter of a gifted werewolf, and that she, herself, may possess special abilities as well. As she tries to take it all in, Neil, her gallant protector, is there to help her, and she begins to fall for him. But when Alexia finds out that he's being aggressively pursued by an old flame, drama ensues. However, that's nothing compared the danger she finds herself in when the serial killer sets his sights on her.
Knight is the first full-length novel in Addison Carmichael's new series Sons of the Alpha, which tells the love stories of the four sons of the high-alpha of the Bryant pack of wolf shifters. The author has created an intriguing world for her wolves. They live in a large compound that's more like a small city in rural Washington state, where they mostly stay out of sight of humans. They also have a complex socio-political and economic structure that's not unlike human ones. In fact, some of their beliefs, such as who is worthy of inclusion in the pack and who can marry whom, are pretty archaic, so I was glad to see the heroine trying to stir things up a bit. I hope to see some of these structures dismantled in future books of the series. Up to this point, the characters in most other were and shape-shifter books I've read are on the wild and earthy side, while most of the main characters in this story are pretty refined in their human forms, even though they can still be deadly in their wolf forms. This made for some interesting new mythology. There's also a strong romantic suspense element with members of a rival pack trying to abduct our intrepid heroine, while our hero is investigating a string of serial killings involving shifters with special abilities. This part of the story has some unexpected twists and turns along the way, which kept me on my toes. I have to admit that I didn't suspect the real bad guy, so this part was quite well-done. It all made for a fun, enjoyable, and slightly different kind of werewolf story.
Even though her life was disrupted by the mysterious, violent death of her ex-boyfriend, which ended with her being arrested, Alexia has been trying to live a quiet, normal life in San Diego. However, it hasn't been easy. Her brush with the law caused her to lose her placement in medical school, so she's been working for her uncle as a medical assistant. Ever since then, odd things have been happening around her, but so far she's chalked them up to mere coincidence, while being completely unaware of her true heritage. That all changes one night when she's stalked and nearly kidnapped by some rough-looking characters, two of whom turn into viciously lethal wolf-like beings. She's rescued by a handsome stranger, who says he's been sent to protect her and whisks her away to another state. Once at the were's compound, Alexia's world turns on its ear as she comes to realize that nearly everything about her life isn't true. She's actually descended from were-beings and her biological father is one of the most powerful wolves in the pack, possessing some extraordinary talents, but his former pack, the Talanovs, want her for themselves. Alexia thought she was an ordinary human girl, so it's hard to wrap her head around it all at first, but I have to give her credit for generally taking things in stride. She's a strong, feisty woman, who isn't afraid to stand up for herself and those she cares about and discovers some surprising new talents to assist her. She also has her handsome protector to help her learn the ropes of being a wolf.
Neil is the Level One Alpha Enforcer of the pack, which basically makes him the leader of law enforcement in their hierarchy. As such, he's in charge of the investigation into who is killing special were-beings and why, but he's abruptly pulled off his inquiry to go rescue a human young woman who is the biological daughter of one those very special and powerful wolves. Neil isn't too happy about his new assignment at first, so he and Alexia tend to butt heads for a while. But once he gets her safely back to the compound, they gradually begin to get to know each other and develop a mutual attraction. However, he's being aggressively pursued by an old flame with whom he's tried to break things off and who is also engaged to the High Alpha's son. This creates some drama and friction, but Neil comes to realize that Alexia is his true wolf-mate. Convincing her of that may be difficult, though. Neil is kind of the typical alpha werewolf. He's a bit gruff at times, but he didn't push my buttons like many alpha heroes do. I admired him for being a strong protector to his pack and to Alexia, and I enjoyed his softer moments, where he's showing her care and kindness.
Overall, Knight was an enjoyable story. The world-building and suspense elements were top-notch. However, I thought the characterizations could have been a little stronger. There's lots of fodder in both Neil's and Alexia's backstories to do a deep-dive on both of them, but most of the time, I felt like things stayed near the surface. I liked and admired both characters, but I didn't get a strong sense of what made either of them tick, mainly because there isn't a great deal of introspection to give me those types of insights. Perhaps because of this, I also didn't feel like the romance was as palpable as I wanted it to be either. It's there and it's sweet, but there isn't a lot of thought that goes into it. Usually in paranormal creatures like this their mate-bond makes it impossible for the two to be without one another and makes their connection pretty intense. There is the concept of a mate-bond in this story, in which both Neil's and Alexia's wolves recognize the other as their true mate, but it seems to have little effect on their romantic trajectory. This was just a tad disappointing, especially when Alexia was still having a few doubts about Neil's feelings for her in the final pages. Otherwise, I liked the story. It just happens to be a more plot-driven one than a character-driven one, which is usually my preference. However, I enjoyed it enough to be interested in reading the prequel, Beauty and Her Beast, which tells the story of Alexia's parents, Erik and Rebecca, even though I know theirs doesn't have an HEA ending, and also to continue the series. Jake, the oldest son of the High Alpha was an intriguing and rather charming character most of the time, so I think his book, Heir, which is the next in the series and due for release next month (May 2019), has potential.
Note: I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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