The second book in the Southern Arcana series, published February 2010.
Derek Gabriel was born human in family of psychics, aware of the supernatural world but never a part of it...until a rogue shapeshifter took humanity from him in a vicious attack. He's spent two years struggling to adjust, not just to a change that's driven many insane, but also to the prejudices of a culture where transformed wolves are considered inferior. A serious struggle, indeed, when the woman who attracts the man and the wolf inside him is the daughter of the most powerful wolf in the country.
For Nicole Peyton, nothing is more important than escaping the stifling confines of elite shapeshifter society, an old-fashioned world where women are valued only for their bloodlines and bank accounts. In New Orleans, she has a bar she loves, friends she cares for, and a smoldering, unspoken tension with an unsuitable but incredibly attractive man.
Neither could predict how quickly forbidden longing would erupt into burning need, but Nick and Derek have more than themselves to think about when Nick's sister arrives in the city with a shapeshifter strike team hard on her heels. The only way Nick can save her sister may be to play by the Conclave's rules--but it will mean giving up the man she's falling in love with, unless he's willing to risk everything in a challenge that will shake the foundations of their world.
Derek has had feelings for Nick, the sexy bar-owner, for a long time now, but getting attacked by a werewolf really spoiled his plans. He has been busy getting control over his wolf, adapting to his new life. How can he risk her safety if he doesn’t have control? He is still struggling with the loss of his humanity.
Nicole Payton is the daughter of the Alpha of the United States, the most powerful werewolf in the country, and one of the richest. Her father has been grooming her to take over his place as the alpha, but she really doesn’t want the position. The Conclave, some kind of government I guess you can call it, also doesn’t want her as the new alpha. They have an extremely old-fashioned view of women, they are only good to breed.
But now, after celebrating Kat’s birthday, both Derek and Nicole are ready to move on this attraction thing between them, never expecting it to be so explosive, so mindblowing.
It is expected of Nicole to marry on of their sons, especially since her twin sister is a Seer, extremely powerful in Magic, and to be feared and kept locked up. Her husband will get control over everything. Nick is so not interested in one of those sons, the only palatable one is Luciano Maglieri, who is the son of the only female Conclave Member. But Luke/Luciano has feelings for her sister, Michelle, and he knows she will never love him back. Michelle is in love with her bodyguard, Aaron, which is forbidden. If a Seer has sex, she will lose her powers. But of course, that is only an old wives tail. It gets worse. Michelle gets pregnant, and her powers are on the fritz. Everything happens to protect her, and her unborn baby. But the fact that she is pregnant, is a death verdict for Aaron, and for her baby. So with a little help, they flee to New Orleans, to Nick, for help and a safe place to stay.
Of course Nick helps them, as do her friends. But things are getting dangerous, and her friends will pay the price. Derek’s beloved cousin Kat, who is an empath, has to defend the man she loves, Andrew, and kills some of the assassins on their trail. She is devastated that she used her powers that way, didn’t even know she could do that. So now they not only have to keep Michelle and Aaron safe, also Kat and Andrew, and they have to deal with everything. Luckily, MacKenzie and Jackson and Alex are a big help, but in the end, Nick will have to go home to New York, and settle this mess. And there is only one possible solution that will keep everyone alive …
Can she do that? And will Derek let her do it?
I really liked this book. I still knew everyone from the previous book, Crux, so I was not confused and familiar with the world. Crossroads is very fast paced, a lot happens, which requires an awful lot of travelling, driving somewhere and back in a hurry, plotting and planning, and watching everything fall apart.
I really felt for Aaron and Michelle, and the trouble they are in. And o, Moira Rogers really made me cry for them. I wonder how important this part is for the ongoing plot line. Was it really inevitable?
And then Nicole and Derek. Both very loving and caring people. Derek has taken care of his niece Cat since all four their parents died in a car crash, that might not have been an accident. Yes, he is extremely protective of her, and being a werewolf only made that worse. And then there is his love for Nicole. He doesn’t really understand her/their world yet, but he will do what ever is necessary, and stand by her side as much as he can, or is allowed. They both do grow in this story.
Nicole loves her sister dearly, but she doesn’t want the position her father wants her to fill. She hates the politics, and all the plotting and backstabbing. She has build herself a life in New Orleans, and real friends. So now, having to go through all this b.s. again, not knowing what will happen with her sister and Aaron and their baby’s life on the line, is horror. But her father does seem more likeable, he seems to understand both his daughters a bit better, and does his best to help them, even if he is forbidden to interfere as the Alpha. (So, what good is being Alpha if you can’t lay down the law?) Nick will do everything to save Michelle and Aaron, even sacrifice her self in a marriage she doesn’t want, giving up Derek, her mate.
There is humor in this book, which is something very important to my reading pleasure. I for instance love the part, where all the woman are romance readers, and smutty ones at that! Of course there are love scenes in this book, but not too detailed, which I find to my liking. The book had me laughing and crying, and when a book does that to me, it is a good one.
So, a good book, and I will certainly read the rest of the books in this series. I hope Kat and Andrew will be the next couple, as I want to find out more about Andrew. This is certainly an interesting plot line.
I’ve won this book in a contest over at Smexy Books, thank you again ladies!