Recommended Read - My review cross-posted from Joyfully Reviewed: http://www.joyfullyreviewed.com/recommended-reviews/march-2013-recommended-reads/wild-invitation-by-nalini-singh
“Beat of Temptation”
DarkRiver healer Tamsyn Mahaire may only be nineteen years old, but she’s known for years that fellow leopard changeling Nathan Ryder is her mate. But Nate is ten years older than her and having witnessed firsthand the disastrous result of his parents mating too young, he is determined to give Tammy her freedom until she is older…by blocking the mating bond. The pull Tammy feels toward Nate is only getting stronger and she knows their relationship — or lack thereof — is getting to its make or break point. Tammy knows what she wants, and she’ll put everything on the line to make Nate see she’s ready for their mating.
No matter how many times I read “Beat of Temptation,” I feel like the story is fresh and new with each and every read. I absolutely love Nate and Tammy’s story. Nalini Singh packs a wealth of emotion into their romance; there’s love, sensuality, friendship, discovery, heartbreak, and hope. What’s not to love?
Tammy is a heroine whose compassion and quiet strength simply radiate off the page. If I hadn’t already adored her, it would have taken less than a page for me to do so. As for her mate, Nate is a strong almost-sentinel whose protective instincts, when paired with the ghosts of his past, lead him to make mistakes that hurt Tammy. Because I understood Nate’s reasoning (even if I didn’t agree with it), I never grew frustrated with him. He and Tammy make such a wonderful couple that I was rooting for Tammy to get through to Nate. I knew that when she did, he would be the mate she so deserved.
“Beat of Temptation” takes place eighteen years before the first full-length Psy-Changeling book, Slave to Sensation. One of my favorite things about “Beat of Temptation” is seeing DarkRiver before it becomes the powerful pack we know it to be from the series. Even though I knew DarkRiver’s history, getting to see some of it in Nate and Tammy’s story adds a level of depth to Ms. Singh’s already phenomenal world-building. In addition, “Beat of Temptation” features some familiar faces — namely, Psy-Changeling heroes Lucas, Vaughn, and Dorian — as teenagers. That alone was a huge treat for a fan of the series like myself.
“Beat of Temptation” is a mesmerizing romance that is sure to leave you with a smile on your face.
“Stroke of Enticement”
After watching her mother’s heart being broken continuously by her emotionally distant father, Annie Kildaire has convinced herself that long-term romantic relationships are not for her. All that changes when Zach Quinn walks into her classroom and promptly turns her world upside down. The sexy leopard changeling seems determined to wreak havoc on her senses, and Annie isn’t so sure that’s a bad thing.
The minute he sees his nephew’s human teacher, Zach knows Annie is destined to be his mate. Both leopard and man are drawn to her beauty, strength, and intelligence. All he wants to do is claim Annie as his own. But Zach knows that to win over his cautious mate he’ll have to entice her to trust him, and he’ll use every sensual trick up his sleeve to do so.
Just when you think the Nalini Singh can’t get any better, she serves up another amazing tale. “Stroke of Enticement” is a captivating story that grabbed me from the very first page and didn’t let go.
Zach is the kind of hero I love to read and dream about – devastatingly handsome, charming, intelligent, protective, and slightly mischievous. He’s possessive of Annie, not in a controlling way, but in such a way that made me sigh and wonder where I could find a hero like him. As for Annie, I utterly adored her. A childhood accident has left her with a slight physical handicap, but she never lets it stop her. She’s strong in both body and mind. As I watched her fall in love with Zach, I found that she was strong of heart as well. Separately, they were endearing, but as a couple they wholly complimented one another. Their romance was the perfect combination of passion, tenderness, excitement, and fun.
“Stroke of Enticement” is part of Ms. Singh’s Psy-Changeling series, but can be read as a standalone. Fans of the series will delight in this sensational addition to an already incredible series, and newcomers to the Psy-Changeling world will surely be racing to the nearest bookstore to gather up the rest of the series.
“Declaration of Courtship”
SnowDancer lieutenant Cooper knows that Grace, the quiet wolf new to his den, is his mate. Grace tempts him as no one other than his mate ever could, but he forces himself to hold back from beginning the mating dance; for Grace is a submissive wolf and he a strong dominant. The disparity in their dominance levels could ruin their relationship before it has a chance to begin. What’s a big bad wolf changeling to do? Declare his courtship, of course, and seduce the woman who’s meant to be his.
“Declaration of Courtship” is utterly fascinating. Grace and Cooper are two wolf changelings with such a wide gulf between them in terms of dominance and submission levels that beginning a healthy relationship is a challenge for them both. The majority of Nalini Singh’s changeling heroines who have their own books are fairly dominant, so it was a nice change to have a non-dominant heroine like Grace. She’s incredibly strong and deeply caring in a way that’s unique to submissive changelings. She wants to be with Cooper, but her wolf has to grow to trust him enough to not be cowed by his wolf. It’s a delicate balance and watching Cooper and Grace navigate the obstacles their natures put in their path was incredibly interesting.
“Declaration of Courtship” takes readers outside the main SnowDancer den to a satellite den in the San Gabriel Mountains. I loved getting a look at how the SnowDancer pack works outside the main den. By turns sensual, sorrowful, humorous, and romantic, “Declaration of Courtship” is a wonderful addition to the Psy-Changeling series.
“Texture of Intimacy”
SnowDancer healer Lara knew exactly what she was taking on when she mated Walker Lauren. Being mated to the steady, quiet Psy brings more joy to Lara than she ever could have imagined. Yet new matings take work — even for couples as deeply in love as Lara and Walker are. Though Walker has been part of the SnowDancer pack for a few years, he’s still learning to cope with the memories of his past, of the destruction wrought by Silence and the danger that nearly destroyed (and in one case, did destroy) the people he loves the most. Together, Walker and Lara must forge a path to happiness for themselves and their growing family.
Nalini Singh shows readers just what goes on after “happily ever after” in “Texture of Intimacy.” Lara and Walker’s mating bond took hold in Kiss of Snow, but that doesn’t mean things are smooth sailing for them. Walker radiates quiet strength, but beneath the surface he carries scars from his life before he and his family escaped Silence and came to live with the SnowDancer wolves. It’s a good thing Walker’s mated to Lara, for she’s adept at healing more than just physical wounds. The two of them together are simply beautiful to read about and it was pure joy to see their positions as mates and as a family solidify in “Texture of Intimacy.”
Of all the stories in the Wild Invitation anthology, “Texture of Intimacy” is the one most deeply connected with the overarching storylines of the Psy-Changeling series. Given that (1) Walker and Lara appear in a number of the full-length books and (2) “Texture of Intimacy” takes place in the aftermath of Kiss of Snow, this is no surprise. Still, Ms. Singh provides enough information for “Texture of Intimacy” to be read as a standalone (provided you don’t mind reading major spoilers for Kiss of Snow). That being said, I guarantee that if you read “Texture of Intimacy” before Kiss of Snow, you’ll be in a rush to backtrack and read the book where Lara and Walker fell in love.
Whether you’re a fan of the Psy-Changeling series or are simply looking to read some extraordinary paranormal romances, you won’t want to miss Wild Invitation. Nalini Singh delivers four very different novellas that have three things in common: they’re amazing, unique, and wholly engaging. I love everything about Wild Invitation, which is why I am wholeheartedly Joyfully Recommending it!
Note: “Beat of Temptation” was first published in the anthology An Enchanted Season and “Stroke of Enticement” was first published in The Magical Christmas Cat anthology.