For three days out of thirty, when the moon is full and her law is iron, the Great North Pack must be wild.
If she returns to her Pack, the stranger will die.
But if she stays…
Silver Nilsdottir is at the bottom of her Pack’s social order, with little chance for a decent mate and a better life. Until the day a stranger stumbles into their territory, wounded and beaten, and Silver decides to risk everything on Tiberius Leveraux. But Tiberius isn’t all he seems, and in the fragile balance of the Pack and wild, he may tip the destiny of all wolves…
Review: I love shifter books. I think it would be so cool to be able to shift into another form at will and then be able to take my human form again. I was really excited when I got that chance to read and review this book because it deals with shifters and being a part of a pack. All the things that are appealing to me about reading shifter books.
I found the book hard to follow at first. There were a few times I had to go back and re-read the paragraph because I couldn’t follow what was going on, but after a while, I got used to Ms Vale’s writing style and I was able to follow the book.
I liked Ti and Silver’s characters. They both appealed to me because they both were damaged internally as well as physically. They were deemed “weak” and pretty much undesirable because of things that were out of their control. I think that Silver could have been an alpha if she was in another pack just on her determination alone. She didn’t let anything stand in her way when she was fighting for something or someone that she believed in and to me that is makings of a great alpha.
I think Ti could be alpha material as well because of his size and when he gets mad, whoa other wolves had better watch out.
They are both aware of their disabilities but it doesn’t affect them in a negative way, in fact it forces them to pave new ground to try and be in higher standing within the pack and amongst their peers. I give them both a lot of credit for not letting anything stand in the way of what they want in life. The only way to get anything is to go out and get it. Things aren’t going to just come to you because that’s what you want.
I think that readers need to take a chance on this book. Take a look at it at least and see if it’s something that is in the readers’ interest. It was a good read, really.
The day of the first waxing crescent of fall is when all of the wolves who live on the Homelands traditionally run the perimeter and make sure that our land is properly marked before the ground freezes and damaged posts become hard to replace.
The entire Pack is wild. Barking and wagging tails, they lick each other and jump around each other, their ferocious jaws open and gentle. They chase mice through windrows, their hind legs scratching leaves into a brightly colored explosion high in the air, so that the pups can twist and turn and catch them in snapping teeth as they spiral down.
Not me. I have to pull on heavy muck boots over thick socks with jeans shoved inside. And I won’t mark our territory the way wolves are supposed to. I will mark it on an iPhone 6 Plus, crammed into the big pocket of a thick orange vest. All because Ti refuses to phase and John doesn’t like it.
“He tells himself he’s human,” John says. “But if he lies to himself, what makes you think he’s not going to lie to us?”
So because I am Ti’s schildere, I have to stay in skin too. Keep an eye on him.
“I mean, what were you thinking?” I ask as Ti fits the Outlast cap over his clipped skull. “When you came to a bunch of wolves asking for protection. That you’d just keep on being a human? Was that your grand plan?”
“I didn’t have a grand plan. What I had was a hole in my stomach, a vague set of directions to my mother’s pack, and a need to survive. I changed long enough to fight; I never thought you’d be asking me to give up my humanity.”
“No one’s asking you to give up your humanity, but if you refuse to admit what you are, it is going to rise up and bite you in the ass.”
“Well, how about you?”
“Me? I love changing. I—”
“I know you love changing. You do it all the time. The second Sten doesn’t need your thumbs, you evaporate, and there’s nothing left but clothes hanging from a branch. I may be a crappy wolf. But you… You’re a crappy human.”
I cringe, because he’s right. I’ve never been happy in skin, but then those stupid fire fairies burrowed into my body all those days ago, and that spark has caught fire and burns so fierce that now when I walk beside him and hear his quiet, low voice or look into those gold-flecked black eyes, my tendons strain and my muscles coil and my lungs open up and my blood beats hot and fast. The only way I know how to deal with need is to run hard and far until I collapse, unable to feel anything at all.
A brindle pup barks worriedly at my feet. All of the other wolves have disappeared, fading like a whisper in the woods.
“I know, Leelee. We’re coming.”
“She’s going with us?” Ti asks.
“We’re supposed to take her along. Help her learn the farther reaches of the Homelands.” Leelee scampers on ahead, leaping awkwardly over a huge downed log and sliding down the other side, her fur covered in the sooty brown decay.
Ti clears it in one stride and stands close, not helping me exactly, but I know if I falter, his big shoulder is there for me to grab on to. I make it by myself, but I appreciate his silent gesture.
Leelee watches, her head cocked to the side, as I take a running jump over one of the numerous small, mucky streams that crisscross our land. I slip down the other side, my foot sinking into a soft bruise in the moss. She yips and worries, waiting for me to pull my boot out with a dull sucking sound.
I lift her up and give her an open-jawed kiss on her ear, but she sees a squirrel and won’t stop squirming until I set her down.
“No farther than the Stones, Leelee.”
When we finally catch up, she’s clambering over the variously sized rocks that form rough circles around the ancient central stones. Over the years, the circle has encroached farther and farther into the forest, surrounding the trees.
Leelee marks one of the stones.
“What is this?” Ti asks.
“It’s, um…the Gemyndstow? The memory place? But we just call it the Stones.”
“Like a graveyard?”
“Graveyards are for bodies, aren’t they?”
“So, no. Coyotes eat our dead. That’s why we call them wulfbyrgenna. Wolf tombs. The stones are only for wolf names and the date of their last hunt so that we can remember.”
When Ti crouches down and looks at one near the front, Leelee runs up to him and looks too, trying to figure out why it is so interesting.
As soon as he stands, she marks that one too.
An ill-advised squirrel runs across the outer rim of the Stones, and Leelee turns quickly to run after it, the wind tickling her fur and the scent in her nose. I know that feeling of taking it all in—moldering pine needles, owl pellets, borer beetle, tree sap, two-year-old porcupine den, sassafras bush—until the scent of prey hits you right in the back of the throat and everything tenses and you chase, even if your tummy’s little and full and all you really want is for the thing, whatever it is, to escape so you don’t have to eat it, but still you can’t help but hunt.
She peels off after her squirrel, looking behind to make sure we’re watching.
The squirrel chitters at her from the safety of a maple. Ti stares, his hands fisted by his sides, as Leelee scampers and bounds and falls on her back and twists her little legs in the air, her belly dotted with leaf litter. A tiny furrow cuts through his usually impassive brow, and his mouth, while still tightly closed, turns down a little at the corners. His wild—that seductive scent of crushed bone and evergreen—radiates thicker now, and when I touch his arm, he jolts as if from a waking dream and blinks down at me, looking in this moment like a lost boy.
Maria Vale is a journalist who has worked for Publishers Weekly, Glamour magazine, Redbook, the Philadelphia Inquirer. She is a logophile and a bibliovore and a worrier about the world. Trained as a medievalist, she tries to shoehorn the language of Beowulf into things that don’t really need it. She currently lives in New York with her husband, two sons and a long line of dead plants. No one will let her have a pet. Visit her at https://www.mariavale.com/.