Friday, October 30, 2015

Release Day Review: Behind the Eight Ball (Fur, Fangs, and Felines #2) by M.A. Church

behindthe8ballTitle ~ Behind the Eight Ball (Fur, Fangs, and Felines #2)

Author ~ M.A. Church

Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press

Published ~ 30 October 2015

Genre ~ Paranormal M/M Romance





Fur, Fangs, and Felines: Book Two
A cool morning, a yard full of birds, and a kitty on a mission. What more could a werecat want? Beta Heller Wirth has it all, except a mate—a shifter mate, that is. The last thing he wants is one of those dangerous humans who kill without remorse. Heller knows about that firsthand. So what does the goddess Bast do? She gives Heller exactly what he does not want—a human: business owner Lawson Dupre.
Lawson hasn’t a clue what just happened in his car detail shop. One minute a cute client is about to pass out, and then he perks up and starts flirting. Next thing, he runs out the door like the hounds of hell are after him. Learning that Heller is a werecat doesn’t freak out Lawson. He happens to be one of those rare humans who knows paranormals exists. He even lives with one. Watch the fur fly as Heller and Lawson battle hurt feelings, misguided beliefs, and a power shift in Heller’s clowder.


Debra’s Review

I’m really enjoying this shifter series and this story broadens its paranormal universe a bit more outside of the cat shifters by adding wolves and the snake-like Vetalas. You can absolutely read this story as a standalone although Heller and many of the secondary characters were introduced in the first story.

Heller is a beta in his clowder and has a long history of disliking humans. This was painfully obvious if you read the first book where he was one of the strongest objectors to his alpha taking on a human mate. Nobody but Heller knows the reasons for his dislike and mistrust. When he comes upon his fated mate, the one thing he has always longed for, he can only believe his goddess is punishing him as the mating scent is coming from a human. Heller is torn but eventually runs off.

Lawson may be human, but he is no stranger to the world of paranormals as the two people he calls family are Vetalas. When he realizes that Heller is his mate he is devastated by the immediate rejection and Heller’s behavior is going to get worse before it gets better. The pull on Heller by his mate is strong and when he believes Lawson is in danger his protective instinct overrides his prejudices and Heller soon is intent on claiming his mate and protecting him at all costs. The relationship has a number of obstacles to overcome and although Lawson is pretty understanding of the need to mate, he isn’t going to just fully hand himself over to Heller.

There is just something about these big alpha males shifting into a large housecat that draws me in, especially in Heller’s case where he initially comes off as pretty self-involved and unlikable in his human form (the look on the face of the cat on the cover gives you a good idea of what you are in for with Heller). In fact, some of my favorite scenes in both books are when the men are in their shifted form and are playing with their humans or the other cats. It’s the opposite of most of the shifter books I’ve read since they are probably more dangerous as humans then as cats. M.A. Church does a wonderful job with the descriptions of the men in their cat form and those passages really jump off the page.

The relationship drama is really internal to Heller who needs to fight his own battle between his hatred of humans and his desire to claim his mate. Lawson may be hurt by Heller’s denial of him, but Heller can turn on the charm when he wants to and Lawson isn’t afraid to push for what he wants. Even though once Heller comes to terms with Lawson’s humanity things move quickly, as they tend to do with bonded mate shifter stories, there were still some parts that Lawson insisted on taking slowly. While the relationship is happy at the end, there are still things that Lawson has held back on, which I expect will be continued in the next book. I liked the way that played out and it balanced out Lawson’s otherwise easy acceptance of everything.

The book doesn’t just focus on the relationship. There is a threat that is making itself known and Lawson appears to be its target. As the men in the clowder try to figure out what it is and how to stop it, they must also deal with Lawson’s connection to the Vetalas and their connection to the clowder.

Heller is not the only one to find his mate and part of the storyline remains unfinished at the end of this book as the next installment is set up. I don’t want to give anything away, but there is going to be an interesting challenge that could affect the entire clowder in order for the next mating to occur and I’m really looking forward to it.


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