Natural Evil (Elder Races, #4.5)Natural Evil by Thea Harrison

My rating: 4 of 5 flames

This novella isn’t quite like Ms. Harrison’s other works. It’s a bit slower, a bit different, and has a bit less dialogue.

As a former major in the Special Forces, Claudia is prepared for anything. Today that means helping a near-dead dog in the middle of the road get into the back of her car in the middle of nowhere Nevada. Her competency and training help her keep her cool when she thinks this dog may be wyr, and when she realizes he wasn’t hit, rather he was dragged behind a car and tortured.

A local sheriff drives by and tickets her for speeding, but he’s not really there to ticket her. She knows there’s something wrong with the picture, so she bides her time and waits, rather than running her mouth. While at the same time she sticks to her guns and refuses to let the sheriff put the dog out of his misery. That’s one of the things I like about Claudia; she’s able to have a take-no-crap personality and at the same time be respectful.

I enjoyed Claudia’s calm and logical demeanor. She was one of few heroines I’ve read who is a very take-charge personality without being rude, bossy, or abrupt. She is also very deliberate. All of her decisions are well-thought out, and she never ventures into TSTL territory.

She has a feeling that the dog she has found is no normal mastiff, but a wyr. She’s right, but she can’t get him to talk to her…at least not until she decides to name him Precious and to buy him a pink rhinestone collar. Then we see his personality, and this is where the romance begins.

This is really where the book picks up. Luis heals enough to shift, so he and Claudia can finally get some page time. Claudia tries to figure out what’s going on with the sheriff and why this small mining town in the middle of Nevada would have anything to do with it. Meanwhile, they have this thread of passion and heat connecting them. One thing that Claudia didn’t want was a relationship with Luis, who is in his twenties. Claudia is about 40. That’s a big difference to her.

I think the way that she and Luis communicate is what helps make their romance so sweet and believable, because in this story, he stays in his Wyr form for about half the book. I think that’s a very hard romance to pull off, and Ms. Harrison did a fantastic job.

I won’t spoil any of the action, or what happens at the end, but I will say that the tarot deck from True Colors comes into play in this story, which I thought was a pretty cool touch. And the last scene of the book has the tarot deck moving on with a young medusa.

***thank you to the author for the ARC

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