This is the second book of the Midnight Liaisons series (which began with Beauty Dates the Beast) but I don’t think you need to have read or listened to the first one to enjoy Desperately Seeking Shapeshifter. It stands alone quite well.
Sarah Ward, younger sister of Bathsheba and co-owner of the Midnight Liaisons dating agency for supernatural beings, has recently been outed as a werewolf. She was involved in an abusive relationship with Roy for something like six months and in the process of abusing her, he bit and turned her into a werewolf. She is now skittish and afraid around men and jumpy if a stranger touches her. The smell of wolf terrifies her and makes her ill. The local werewolf pack – who come across as (mostly) awful rednecks (think Deliverance) – wants to claim her as “their” mate (yep, that’s right, they like to share) and she doesn’t want to go. To save her from this fate, Sarah concocts a plan to pretend to be mated elsewhere which places her off limits to the pack. Ramsey, the Alliance (a group of various kinds of supernatural beings) enforcer, volunteers to be her fake-mate. The rest of the story is how Sarah and Ramsey navigate their relationship, how their fake relationship turns real, how Sarah finds her core of steel, and how they foil the wolf pack’s plans for her for good.
Ramsey is big and strong and silent and… wait for it… a VIRGIN. Yes, that’s right. A virgin were-bear. Right there, you have a reason to listen to this book! J
In terms of the story, perhaps more could have been made of Ramsey’s virginity – he had natural talent and enormous… stamina. But, as a device to help Sarah feel more comfortable with physical intimacy again, it worked well, as it effectively put her in the driver’s seat.
While Leah Mallach’s voice sounded maddeningly familiar to me, I haven’t heard her narrate before. She was very entertaining and what I appreciated most was her character voice for Sarah – that is to say, she didn’t use her usual “narrator” voice. Sarah’s voice was as distinct as other voices, both male and female. Although, some of the pack voices blended together, there was no trouble distinguishing between the main characters. Perhaps the description of Ramsey’s voice was deeper than the actuality – but really, it would probably have to be someone like Phil Gigante to get that low or maybe Xe Sands (but how she does that without hurting herself is beyond me).
While I didn’t have to read the first book to understand it, listening to Desperately Seeking Shapeshifter made me want to go read/listen to the others (there’s a novella also). It was a bit heavier than I was expecting – I had light and fluffy in my mind, but the wolf pack is pretty vicious for the most part. It might be best for those with domestic violence or violence toward women triggers to avoid this one. I enjoyed it and will be interested to see where the series goes.
Book Content: B
Steam Factor: I’m glad I had my ear buds in
Violence: Domestic violence/Fighting
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Desperately Seeking Shapeshifter was provided to AudioGals for review by Tantor Audio.