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REVIEW

"Well Done - Werewolf Sequel Turns Up The Heat!"

ONCE A WOLF is the second novel in Susan Krinard's historical werewolf (Forster) trilogy, which began with TOUCH OF THE WOLF.

The Forster siblings; Braden, and twins Rowena and Quentin were raised by a tyrannical grandfather who was a fanatic about maintaining racial purity of the loups garou. He'd made them all miserable beating at their self-esteem to mold them to his liking. Braden was driven to prove that he is not weak, in spite of his grandfather's repeated taunting. When the grandfather passed on he assumed leadership of the loup garou and espoused "the Cause" as well, arranging suitable marriages for his people. He had planned such a marriage for Rowena. She'd rebelled. Locked in her room she'd refused to eat, choosing to die rather than enter a loveless marriage.

Rowena despises the animal part of herself, wishing to be wholly human. She cannot bear to "Change" though she's has done so in desperate situations in the past. With Cassidy Holt's (Braden's future wife) blessing she does so once more and escapes, vowing this will be the last time. She flees to the one place she knows her brother will not think to look for her -- America, the home of her proposed spouse.

A marriage for love ,to Cassidy, has mellowed Braden. He still believes in his Cause but no longer forces others to comply with his wishes. Though Rowena knows she can now go home, she has made a niche for herself in New York society, and chooses to stay. She is the toast of the town and has everything she's ever wanted - to be respected, admired, human. Ironically she is also engaged to the man she has gone to so much trouble to avoid marrying.

Cole MacLean is a wealthy financier; he has a "way" of getting others to do his bidding. A loups garou as well he has eschewed his animal nature as uncivilized, and has assured Rowena that he is the best man to keep her secret. She will have nothing to hide from him and he will never reveal her nature. She'd given up on love long ago; she will settle for being safe. Though Cole is wealthy, he needs Rowena's status to really gain entr�e into high society. He has his own agenda and that includes an obedient wife. He has effectively crushed the fighting spirit with which Rowena so effectively defied her brother. Well almost.

While Cole is away a very credible English gentleman approaches Rowena seeking help for her brother, Quentin, who had also fled to America to deal with his own demons. He is in need of her help she's told, and even though it is sure to anger Cole, she decides to travel with this man to aid her twin.

What she doesn't know is that this man is a master of disguise (she's met him before) and that he is no gentleman. He's Tomas Alejandro Randall, a desperado also known as El Lobo. He is the Robin Hood of the west, stealing from the rich to help the poor and he has a score to settle with Cole. His plan is to take Cole's bride, seduce her and release her after letting her know just what kind of man she'd been engaged to. Tomas will avenge the death of his parents at the hands of the MacLeans.

Tomas brings Rowena's feisty side back, and the more she fights him the more he's attracted to her. He has a loyal following and she hears nothing good about her fianc� from them. Who to believe? Cole is totally at home with his heritage and wants her to be as well. He lives simply in this rugged environment, taking only what his people need to survive. Her loyalty should be to Cole but oh my, Tomas seems to be honorable, warm, kind, and very, very, sexy. Can she resist his allure? Can she turn him over to the man she's betrothed to, a man she doesn't love? Can she live this uncivilized life, accept what she is, and be a whole woman at last. Can she even be whole without Tomas? When it comes to the inevitable confrontation, will he let her go?

If you found the Forsters's a bit cool in the last story, never fear, Ms. Krinard has really turned up the heat with this novel. She's turned a deeply bitter and restrictive woman into a warm and loveable heroine. Tomas is tremendous as the noble hero. Cole is as despicable as villains come. Ms. Krinard also introduced some truly wonderful and tortured side characters, each with their own demons to conquer: Weylin MacLean, Cole's brother, the honorable lawman charged by his brother to bring El Lobo to justice for the killing of their father, who must ultimately make a terrible choice; Sim Cavenaugh, a hired gun who is loyal to El Lobo, and is unwavering though Tomas finds his methods questionable. He has his own score to settle with Cole MacLean.; The young girl the pair name Esperanza (hope), an empath whom they rescue from the wrath of the villagers who had proclaimed her a witch and who had harmed her. Her skills will be vital to the conclusion of this story. Each of these characters is deserving of a story of their own. I hope we will see that, as Ms. Krinard has proposed a loups garou genealogy connecting the historical families to their contemporary counterparts. However the next book will undoubtedly by Quentin Forster's. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, recommend also reading TOUCH OF THE WOLF to get a handle on Rowena's character. I will be looking for the third story with great anticipation.

Copyright 2003

Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted December 12, 2001

SUMMARY

His love was wild... his soul untamed... his touch forbidden....

From acclaimed author Susan Krinard comes the second novel in a magnificent trilogy of a powerful clan whose sensual legacy is cloaked in secrecy-and a beautiful woman kidnapped by an outlaw whose forbidden embrace could reveal her true identity.... Once a Wolf

In the unspoiled expanses of the American West, Toms Alejandro Randall was called El Lobo, the desperado and sworn enemy of powerful financier Cole MacLean. Few humans knew his true identity: heir to a wolf bloodline that made him as much an exotic beast as a devastatingly attractive man. It was Toms's plan to lure Cole MacLean's elegant fiance, Lady Rowena Forster, from her New York mansion to the wild frontier. There he planned to seduce the golden-haired beauty as revenge for the destruction of his family at MacLean's hands. But once she was in his possession, El Lobo found himself unable to resist the call of his own untamed passion-a passion that would claim the beauty for his own. As for Lady Rowena, she desperately hid her own wolf heritage behind an icy, controlled exterior. Yet the famous "Lady Ice" found her inhibitions melting and her true nature emerging in the presence of this handsome desperado. Both knew the danger of their pairing, but their wild hearts would risk everything-even death-for a chance at everlasting love.

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Once A Wolf
(Forster Wolves: Book 2)
by Susan Krinard

Bantam
July 1, 2000
Available: July 1, 2005
ISBN #0553580213
EAN #9780553580211
388 pages
Paperback
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Other Books by
Susan Krinard

Luck of the Wolf
Bespelling Jane Austen
Bride of the Wolf
Heart of Darkness
Lord of Sin
Lord Of Legends
Come the Night
Dark Of The Moon
Chasing Midnight
Hammer Of The Earth
To Tame a Wolf
Shield of the Sky
Kinsman's Oath
When Darkness Falls
To Catch A Wolf
The Forest Lord
Secret of the Wolf
Out Of This World
Touch Of The Wolf
Body and Soul
Prince of Dreams
Prince of Shadows
Prince of Wolves


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