"A Spiritual werewolf romance, a tale of love and self acceptance"
For three long years Jason Donavan has been slave to the
call of the moon, ever since he and his brother Rick were
attacked by a she-wolf while hunting in the Canadian
wilderness. Each month when the moon became full he
experienced a painful transformation, and emerged at the
end of each cycle never knowing what he might have done.
Clinging to the belief that they can be cured, Jason has
searched the wilderness in hopes of finding the werewolf,
to destroy her and set them free.
Overcome with the loneliness of his quest, Jason finds
himself in town. Due to his unkempt appearance no one
questions him, until he reaches the seedy red light
district. In general Jason is not impressed with the flashy
merchandise, but then his heightened senses hone in on a
quiet beauty secluded in the shadows. The appeal is
instant, but before he can act upon his impulse, he is
propositioned by a more brazen lady of the evening. What an
understatement, more like creature of the night!
She persists even when Jason insists he has no money to
spend. Cornering him in an alley, she transforms into a
hideous wolf-beast and attacks. Horrified at the prospect
that he might be just like her, Jason is slow to defend
himself. Aid comes from an unlikely source, the young woman
who had attracted him on the street, with knives flashing.
The odds go against them when the prostitute's pimp joins
the fray, a werewolf as well. Knowing that the woman can
not defend against both creatures, Jason's anger rises and
he feels a familiar change come over him. The moon is not
full. Jason feels the despair of his humanity slipping
away, then the transformation is complete and he knows no
more until he awakens in the secluded world of his savior,
Tala Songbird holds Jason's fate in her hands. She alone
holds the answer to all of his questions. She belongs to a
select clan of native Americans who time had forgotten. Due
to the special nature of their heritage, they had
secluded themselves from the everyday world of modern men,
adhering to the ways of a simpler era, keeping their
bloodlines pure. Tala had been born with a special gift.
She was one of the rare "Chosen Ones" who could sense those
who had renounced their humanity, and given up their souls
to the beast within. It was her duty to go forth into the
world and destroy them. Her duty sat heavily upon her. To
maintain her powers she must be pure in body, soul, and
mind, but her heart wish had always been to be a normal
girl, to fall in love and have a family of her own.
She had broken an ancient rule and brought danger to her
people by sparing the life of Jason Donovan and bringing
the outsider here. Indeed she would have destroyed him
without remorse, had he not fought at her side against the
two evil ones. He had emerged in pure form, that of a black
wolf, and not in the hideous shape of the others. The beast
had not yet claimed him, and aware that she owed him
another debt as well, she plans to teach him to control the
animal within. Like Jason she loves her family. Success
with Jason would also allow her to aid her younger sister,
an outcast who had followed her yearning for the outside
world. First she must face her unyielding older brother,
Haidar, leader of her people, a man less likely to allow
sentiment to cloud his sense of duty.
Jason does not understand the world he finds himself in,
but labors under the hope that Tala's talent will help him
find the one who had bitten him and his brother. Though
both are aware of the strong attraction between them, they
must resist. She has her duty which may force her to kill
him at the next full moon, and he has an obligation to his
brother, and failing that he could never subject a woman to
the life he now lead.
Tala knows far more about the cause of the Donovan
brothers' curse than she is able to reveal. I recommend
reading "Midnight Serenade", Rick's story, in the AFTER
TWILIGHT anthology in advance, to learn her secret and gain
a better understanding of the relationship between the
beasts and the chosen.
What emerges here is a story about destiny and self
acceptance, as Jason struggles to accept his fate while
maintaining his humanity, Tala must allow herself to be the
woman she was meant to be, in spite of the social pressures
that would force her to do otherwise. In many ways this is
a lesson in life that many of us will have to face at some
time or another. For Jason and Tala, love provides the
strength to see their fates through to the end. Destiny
works in strange and wonderful ways, and often requires
change as Tala's people must learn. Ms. Thompson throws in
a final twist and leaves the reader with a chuckle. I think
I'd like to see more of Haidar's adjustment to world that
Jason opens to them. He would make a wonderful alpha hero.
In the meantime, I highly recommend reading this
fascinating shape shifter romance.
Copyright © 2002
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted December 6, 2002