Sheriff’s Deputy Zak is one of the few black bear shifters in a colony of grizzlies. He’s used to taking guff from his comrades, but it’s all in good fun. He’s fought beside these guys for many years and it’s time they all stopped roaming and picked a place to settle. Grizzly Cove seemed as good a place as any when the idea was proposed, and Zak likes the slow-moving police work in the sleepy coastal town.
When his job takes him into closer proximity to the lovely Tina, though, he finds he can’t resist her. Could it be he’s finally found his mate? And when adversity strikes, will she turn to him, or run into the night? Zak will do all he can to make sure she chooses him.
Grizzly Cove is growing every day. Sheriff Brody and Tom Masdan, the town lawyer, both found mates in the human Baker sisters. After the threat to Ashley back is resolved, Tom and Brody want to make sure that the remaining sister is protected when she works the late shift. To keep Tina safe, Brody asks his deputy, Zak Flambeau, to watch over her. Zak finds this to be the easiest duty the sheriff has ever assigned, because even Zak’s bear is attracted to the youngest of the Baker sisters. For her part, Tina has the same attraction to Zak, and she secretly decides he is going to be her ‘forever bear’ if she has anything to say about it.
When a Master bloodletter shows up at the bakery on night, injured to the point of madness, Zak quickly steps up to protect Tina and call in the troops to handle the threat. It turns out, Master Hiram is not the threat here but the victim of an attack by a ‘sea monster’ and once his story is heard, the town leaders (the Alpha, sheriff and lawyer) offer to help. But when Zak and Tina go on a picnic, Tina is attacked by whatever is in the water, and Zak goes bear to save her. Will Tina and Zak be the next mated couple? What is the next step against the danger under the waves in the cove? Is this an isolated incident, or just a harbinger of worse to come?
Night Shift is the third of the Grizzly Cove series, and the first that begins to point toward a greater threat to the town, and to humanity as well as the shifters. I liked that, in this book, Ms D’Arc brings in some new characters not seen in the town before, like Master Hiram, the bloodletter. This world is expanding, and each character added comes with a rich and detailed history behind them. I like that Ms D’Arc chooses to not call her vampires by that slightly overused term, but indicates that ‘they prefer the term bloodletters’. This is the first real danger that has surfaced (almost literally) in Grizzly Cove, and I enjoyed watching how the bears handled it.
Zak Flambeau is the Grizzly Cove deputy, but unlike most of the residents, he is not a massive grizzly bear. Zak is a slightly smaller black bear; still strong and deadly, but faster and more cunning when in action. I like Zak for the confidence he has, both about who he is and what he can do. I like that he came from a rough beginning and built himself a better life in the military, turning his fellow bears/troops into the family that he never really had. Seeing Zak with Tina shows how honorable and caring he is. And it doesn’t hurt that he is hot and sexy, either; Zak is the whole package.
Tina is the youngest of the Baker sisters, and has been, by her own admission, a bit of a wild one. She wants what her sisters have found; someone to love her and be there for her. When Zak draws protection duty, she gets to know and admire him, and when he springs into action to keep Master Hiram from doing any harm, she realizes just how much she likes the deputy. Hiram may be more polished and urbane, but it is Zak’s slightly rough around the edges character that draws her to him. I like Tina’s determination to make Zak her ‘forever bear’ and I enjoyed watching as she took the initiative with him on their first date. I also like her courage, that she didn’t outright panic when the ‘sea monster’ tried to pull her into the cove.
This is the first hint of the danger that appears to inhabit Grizzly Cove, and the powers behind it. There are new characters introduced in Master Hiram and ties to the greater were community at large. There is also passion, humor and surprises in store, and there were times when I actually giggled at the silliness of the characters. But this one is definitely a bit darker, with the, as yet unnamed, ‘sea monster’ in the cove threatening those in the town. The scorching heat between Zak and Tina boils over in places, and the heat is unbelievable at times…how can two people be that hot together and not spontaneously combust? If you like your shifters big and sexy, and you’re ready for a happy ever after while still leaving a threat hanging over the town, then this is the story to read. But keep plenty of ice on hand, you will need it.