**REVIEW** JAXSON (River Pack Wolves #1) by Alisa Woods

You may remember our reviews of Alisa Woods True Alpha and Dark Alpha short story series from earlier in the year. Now she has returned with a full length novel New Adult paranormal romance shifter series, River Wolves Pack, with the first being released this week, Jaxson.

Jaxson (River Pack Wolves 1) - New Adult Paranormal RomanceTitle: Jaxson (River Pack Wolves #1)

Author: Alisa Woods

Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance

Date released: September 5th, 2015

Published by: Sworn Secrets Publishing

Length: 167 pages

Blurb: Three brothers. Three Secrets. One hope to save the shifters of Seattle.
Former SEAL Jaxson River would give his life for his brothers and his pack, but if he doesn’t claim a mate soon, he’ll be forced to step down as their alpha. There’s only one problem: Jaxson’s dark secret would kill any mate he claimed. With someone kidnapping shifters off the street—and only Jaxson and his brothers, Jace and Jared, to stop them—now is not the time for his secret to come out.

Curvy Olivia Lilyfield is a half-witch orphan with a dark secret of her own. She wants to atone for it by doing good in the world, so when she finds a wolf being tortured in an alley, she doesn’t hesitate to help… even though wolves and witches mix like matches and TNT.

Olivia’s dangerous magic means she can’t let anyone get too close—but Jaxson can’t keep his hands off her, and his kisses are more than she can resist. As they race to save the disappearing shifters of Seattle, the true danger lies in loving each other. They’re playing with magical fire… and their secrets could end up destroying them both.

Jaxson is a complete novel with HEA, the first in the River Pack Wolves trilogy (Jace and Jared coming soon).

Contains scorching shifter sex, alpha military heroes, and sexy witches. Only readers over 18 should dive into the deliciously hot world of the River brothers.

REVIEW ***** (5* RATING)

I couldn’t wait to get my paws on Alisha Woods‘s latest NA paranormal romance release, Jaxson. After reading the authors other works in this genre, True Alpha and Dark Alpha short story series, and loving every minute of them, I knew I would jump straight into the River Pack Wolves with excitement.

Jaxson is a full length novel told from both Jaxson and Olivia’s point of view. I probably love novels written in this manner best of all as this allows the reader to empathise with more than one character, which can explain their behaviour and actions. The story really flows at a good pace and has a great mix of romance, magic and action.

Jaxson is leading the River pack, trying to find out just who is kidnapping shifters off the street. Many shifters do not return, while some others have come back, but they are not the same as they were when they went in. It’s as if some of their inner magic has been taken. It is up to Jaxson and his brothers, Jared and Jace to ensure the safety of shifters before there aren’t many left to take. For this, the River pack need a good, strong leader. To become stronger still, it would be advantageous for Jaxson to be mated. The magic bond that is created between a shifter and his female mate is like no other. And, it would fare well if they had little ones as they too would be strong and healthy, being born into mated, bonded parents.

However, Jaxson has a secret, but now is not the time to tell his pack. They need him. At least to see out the attack on shifters. But, the truth is that he can’t mate. He was cursed by a witch, meaning anytime he went to take a mate, one bite would kill them!

Olivia Lilyfield is not having a great time. After walking out of her job, not wanting to adhere to her boss, and wanting to get into the thick of things with her reporting, she is left jobless and in debt. After meeting Jaxson in a sticky situation, she finds herself drawn to him. It isn’t too long before he realises her situation, and, being equally attracted to her in both his human side and inner wolf, he reaches out and offers her a steady job with good pay. How could she say no? Here is this HOT shifter offering her what she needs.

It is quite clear to the reader just how intensely attracted they are to each other. And the physical closeness that Jaxson has to Olivia at times really do turn the heat up. The passion is practically burning, it is so hot. However, after becoming so close to Jaxson, and unaware of his secret curse, Olivia realises that she couldn’t possibly be his mate – he needs to mate with a female shifter, to be an even stronger alpha and lead his pack.

They become so close that Jaxson confides in her. He also airs his concern of the missing shifters and that he needs to remain alpha at least while they deal with this problem. Working together, Olivia has a plan which will help Jaxson keep his secret a little longer, keeping his family from pressurising him, help build stronger allies with other local shifter packs and allow him the time to deal with the current disturbances, which Jaxson strongly feels are set up by the government and allowing the experimenting on the shifters.

These characters are certainly in love, and very passionate. But, to Olivia, it still couldn’t work out between them, especially now. For she also has something that she hasn’t told him; she is half-witch. On finding this out, surely he would go crazy, for it was a witch who had cursed him. Even if her were to listen, wolves and witches do not mix well together. She doesn’t practice magic, but would he believe her? And, after having an ‘accident’ with her magic years ago, could she even trust herself to be with him? Surely she was dangerous?

Readers will be treated to a story where love, romance, heat, action and magic all come together in Jaxson. You’ll be gripped from the beginning, rooting for a HEA, and constantly questioning how each of them are going to overcome their problems, their fears, and their love.

A copy of Jaxson was provided by the author in return for a fair and honest review.

Jaxson (River Pack Wolves #1) by Alisa Woods is now available at Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

You can also check out our reviews of Alisa Woods’s True Alpha and Dark Alpha series:-

Desired (True Alpha #1) – short story

Guarded (True Alpha #2) – short story

Hunted (True Alpha #3) – short story

Captured (True Alpha #4) – short story

Sacrificed (True Alpha #5) – short story

Claimed (True Alpha #6) – short story

A True Alpha Christmas – novella – stand alone short story

Torment (Dark Alpha #1) – short story

Pleasure (Dark Alpha #2) – short story

Deception (Dark Alpha #3) – short story

Escape (Dark Alpha #4) – short story

Penance (Dark Alpha #5) – short story

Loved (Dark Alpha #6) – short story

The Heat (Book 1 of the Big Bad Wolf series) by Heather Killough-Walden

The Heat (The Big Bad Wolf, #1)

 A Smoking Hot Werewolf Romance

Heather Killough-Walden’s Big Bad Wolf series has been near the top of my to read pile for some time and after finishing ‘The Heat’ I am asking myself why I left it so long! This book has made me seriously reassess my usual preference for vampires as this author’s werewolves are not only smart and uber dominant, but have an earthy get down and dirty sex appeal.

In ‘The Heat’, 28 year old Lily St Claire returns to her childhood town of Baton Rouge, which she left after high school, to take up a post of Social Worker at a local hospital. The plot opens with her having a girly night in with her lifelong friend Tabitha, with whom she has kept in touch with. Daniel, Tabitha’s big brother (an alpha werewolf) has just been promoted to Police Chief, soon arrives at the scene. Daniel was attracted to Lily at school, but was warned off her by Tabitha. Daniel contented himself with meaningless short term flings, many of which were with Lily’s friends, to compensate. Lily for her part has always been attracted to Daniel, but believed that she was not his type as he always kept a distance. She has been having vivid dreams about Daniel changing into wolf since her teenage years. Now Daniel is older he immediately catches Lily’s scent and recognises that she is a true dormant and therefore a potential mate. Dormants are in decline and highly valued as werewolves can only get their chosen mate pregnant and thus ensure the future of their race. He vows to succumb to his attraction this time and Lily, although knowing nothing of the werewolf world, is equally attracted.

Lily mentions to Tabitha that her favourite mystery author, Malcolm Cole (of whom she has also had vivid dreams), is in town and that she plans to attend his book signing. Malcolm is a very powerful alpha werewolf who is also a violent killer who has avoided prosecution by both werewolf and human law. Tabitha warns Daniel who fears that Malcom recognises that Lily is a dormant and plans to make her his mate, a situation he cannot tolerate.

To protect Lily Daniel virtually kidnaps her and takes her back to his home intent on explaining the situation to her to protect her from harm. He manages to explain that Malclolm is a killer but then he is called away to a violent scene of carnage and murder at the Mayor’s home and only has time to mark her as his mate, without explaining his true nature or what he is doing. This scene is sexually charged and highly erotic. Lily is very angry and confused when she wakes up. Fortunately Tabitha, sent by Daniel to watch over her, is able to reveal the existence of werewolves and to apologise on Daniel’s behalf, explaining that his actions, although appearing callous were carried out to protect her from other alphas, principally Malcolm Cole. She explains that only dormants dream of werewolves in their true form and that Lily is likely to be Daniel’s intended mate.

I will not divulge any more of the plot, but suffice to say that it involves a Malcolm Cole determined to have Lily as his mate at any cost, numerous fight scenes and black magic, lots of sexual tension and a number of erotic sex scenes. We are also introduced to the respective members of Daniel’s and Malcolm’s packs and hunters determined to eradicate werewolves as they view them as evil. We have to wait until the book’s exciting conclusion before we find out if Lily and Daniel complete their mating bond and find their HEA.

The author’s character descriptions and development are strong. I found Daniel to be a sexy, dominant werewolf, full of Southern charm and very protective of those close to him. However, as a relatively young alpha, he can act a little impulsively and will have to learn to curb this trait as he becomes more powerful. I found this slight flaw to be endearing and I am sure that Lily will be more than a match for him to keep him in check. Lily is a strong woman, showing strong empathy. She is brave and does not hesitate to sacrifice herself to help others. Whilst attracted to Daniel, she is understandably resentful that he marked her without her consent. There is also strong chemistry between her and Malcolm, although she does her best to resist it as she is repelled by his murderous past.

I adored the character of Malcolm Cole. At 94 years old he is a very powerful werewolf with a dark history. He is a tortured character and desperate to find his true mate and does not care how ruthless he needs to be to ensure that Lily is his. Lily’s dreams help explain his actions but Malcolm is not keen to discuss his past. The scenes between him and Lily are also very erotic as they engage in a battle of wills and sparkling repartee.

Secondary characters include Tabitha, Daniel’s sister and Lily’s friend, who is very defensive of Lily and furious with how Daniel forces his mark on her, Jennings, a human, who is one of Daniel’s trusted team members on the force and James, also an alpha, who is allied with Malcolm, but is very protective of Lily and thinks that Daniel is not good enough for her.

The novel is both sexy and fun. It has its dark moments and does contain some violence, but it also has a humorous side. The author’s descriptions of the nature of werewolves and aspects of their culture were also well done. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy paranormal romance or urban fantasy. I will certainly not be leaving it too long before I read the next book in the series.

Reviewed by Tina Williams