Unconditional by Lauren Dane

LOVE
Unconditional by Lauren Dane
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (193 Pages)
Other: M/F
Reviewed by Tulip

Their second chance generates a dangerous kind of heat…

A Cascadia Wolves Story

As a cop, Michelle Slattery is familiar with the dark side of human behavior, but this case is way above her skill level. Mages have been scouring the country kidnapping witches, draining their energy, and leaving their broken bodies behind.

With Michelle’s best friend among the missing, she appeals to the Owen witches, who send her to the last place she’d thought she’d see a familiar face. The werewolves.

When a witch seeking help shows up at the Pacific Pack headquarters, Josh Neelan gets the shock of his life. She’s none other than his high school sweetheart, the one he left behind when he was bitten and turned. Their intense sexual chemistry still sizzles for a reason—she’s his mate.

As they begin to work through their issues, their rekindled romance quickly flames red hot. But the closer they get, the more dangerous the outside world becomes. And they realize magick-thieving mages are just the tip of the iceberg.

Unconditional is an exciting read from one of my absolute favorite authors. This is the newest book in the Cascadia Wolves series. The story bridges three stellar paranormal series in fact – the Cascadia Wolves, de La Vega Cats and Bound By Magick. Now, I might be a tiny bit biased, with the Cascadia Wolves and de La Vega Cats being two of my personal favorites, but I think it’s safe to say that Lauren Dane outdid herself on this one. The story was so exciting, with so many things going on at the same time, and with a suspense that was riveting, I was on edge the entire time. I definitely enjoyed reading this one.

I think it’s fair to say that this story doesn’t work well as a stand alone novel. While it begins a new ARC in the Cascadia Wolves series, it also bridges the other two as well, coinciding with Chaos Burning. A lot of cataclysmic events are happening at the same time here. There is an interwoven storyline and interacting characters from all three series. While this story is told from the shifters POV, with Dane doing a standout job at explaining the chaos caused by the evil Magister, an unfamiliar reader might get confused with all the recurring characters and events that are on page. As such, I would suggest reading ,at minimum, from the later Cascadia Wolves and de La Vega Cats series. Just so you don’t get lost.

As the story opens, we meet Michelle, who is a cop and a witch. When we meet Michelle, she is living in the human world, staying on the down low, cause the witches have yet to “come out” to the human world as the shifters have already done. She is kind of unaware that witches all over the country are going missing. It’s a rude awakening when her best friend is taken. In her investigation she discovers that this is a big problem in the magical world. Evil Mages are kidnapping witches, violently draining their magical essence to get their fix. Michelle senses that Otherworldly forces are at play, and that she may be in over her head on the case. She needs help to find her friend, so with time running out, she goes to the Pacific Pack to ask for help. There she runs into Josh, her old high school sweetheart who broke her heart. Josh is a turned werewolf and a Pacific Pack Enforcer.

Josh offers to help in the investigation and explains some things to Michelle. The chemistry is still there for them, and as they work together it soon becomes obvious that they are mates. Josh and Michelle were good together. I liked the romantic element that was at play, and with the sexy love scenes that were thrown in, this story had no problem keeping my attention. Though their relationship was tumultuous at times, lovers reunited will always be a winner with this reader.

The plot was super exciting with so many things happening that drove the plot relentlessly. Drama was thick and emotions were intense. Michelle and Josh had a past history that ended badly. This one had quite a bit of romantic conflict coming from that shared history. Like so many of Dane’s heroines, Michelle was a strong and assertive female, not about to be managed by any man. Josh was a dominant alpha wolf, who wanted to protect and possess his mate. The alpha wolf was so bossy, he wanted a control that he wasn’t about to get. At first Michelle wanted to keep control of her emotions, fearing that Josh would run out on her again. It took a tragic event to make her take that leap of faith, give up control and grab onto what she really wanted.

Another thing I liked was how honest and forthright the lovers were about their feelings. I liked how caring and understanding Josh was with his woman. Especially the consideration that was put into choosing an anchor for their Tri-Bond.

Speaking of that Tri-Bond …. that love scene was so sexy. I must say that I truly enjoyed the connection Josh and Michelle shared with their anchor.

Now, to the ending. It was climactic in one way …. rather abrupt in another. I enjoyed the action in that showdown. Loved the emotions as Josh feared that he might lose his mate. I really loved how it was resolved. Yet it all happened so fast, then it just left me hanging. Almost like the author was in a rush to end it and move on to something else. It still works for me though, I’m hoping to see a clearer resolution in the next book. Might I just say that I am eager for it already.

Another great read from Lauren Dane. I enjoyed every page, may even go back to read them again, before the next one comes out. I’m happy to recommend this one.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the review. I love Lauren’s books. She always writes great love scenes.

  2. Glad to see more Cascadia wolves. I have to say, though, that I always feel soooo sorry for the poor guy who ends up having to be the tri-bond. Sorta like being given chocolate and then told the next day that you can’t ever have any chocolate. Sucks.

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