Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Review: A Highland Wolf Christmas

A Highland Wolf Christmas (Heart of the Wolf #15)

by Terry Spear


It's going to take a lot of mistletoe...
Guthrie MacNeill, financial advisor for his clan and werewolf pack, is at his wit's end when the pack leader's mate hires a gorgeous party planner to bring holiday cheer to the castle. Guthrie's wildly attracted to Calla, except he can't reconcile the fact that his job is to save the clan's money, and hers seems to be to spend it.
To warm this Highlander's heart
Calla Stewart has never had a more difficult client. The laird and lady of the castle are delightful, but the handsome Highlander holding the purse strings is quite impossible. Since she specializes in holiday magic, Calla hopes she can make the scrooge-like wolf lighten up. Then Guthrie takes on the role of Highland warrior to protect her from an unexpected threat, and the holidays take a turn for the passionate.

Themes: highlanders, wolves, paranormal
Rating: 3.5 stars
Heat Rating: 
Honestly, is there anything better than a beautiful Highland Christmas combined with a sexy wolf?  Not in my opinion!  While I am always pulled in by anything written by Terry Spear, as evidenced by my bookshelves, I have been dying to read this particular story for a while now.  Guthrie always seemed a bit like a stick in the mud when we have read about him in the past, but now we get to see the softer, sweeter side of this Highland warrior.  Spear's rich and amazing settings always make you feel like you are right there with her in the Scottish Highlands, in a haunted keep, surrounded by sexy men in kilts wielding broadswords, which for many of us is just about the ultimate fantasy.  While the series has jumped around a lot from different places, different groups of wolves, and even different enemies, this story arc has been in motion a while and I was glad to see the MacNeill's finally find peace with their enemy clan.  If you haven't read the ENTIRE Heart of the Wolf Series, you won't be lost, but I recommend at least going back and reading the other books involved in this storyline (Heart of the Highland WolfHowl for a HighlanderHighland Werewolf Wedding).  For now, I can promise you will enjoy reading this sometimes light hearted, sometimes dramatic, and always sensual, foray into the lives of two wolves determined not to make another mistake in love. 
This story picks up almost the day after the last one ends, with Calla returning to her home to gather everything she needs for an extended stay at the MacNeill keep.  Her main purpose is to help the clan chief and his wife plan the biggest and best Christmas celebration they have ever had, but under that is her desire to remove herself from the sight of her ex-fiancée and to get to know the wolf who pulls her emotionally as well as physically, Guthrie MacNeill. Guthrie has had some bad luck with love in the past and is determined that he not repeat his mistakes and the only way for him to do that is to keep Calla at a distance while she has time to recover from her last failed relationship.  But when the danger around Calla begins to escalate, Guthrie finds his inner wolf needs to protect her more than he needs to protect his heart.  Thrown together again and again, by circumstances as well as by their friends and pack-mates, Calla and Guthrie find it increasingly difficult to resist the passion that stirs between them.  The question becomes, are they both ready for a serious relationship, or will they be making another mistake in love, this time one that might be irreversible?
 Calla Stewart is a she-wolf unlike any I have read about in recent years.  While she can certainly defend herself and her friends, she understands there are limitations to what she can handle and is more than willing to allow her new pack to protect her.  What she won’t deal with is the ridiculous posturing and Neanderthal attitude that some men seem unable to keep in check around each other.  I loved seeing her try to set the male wolves, Guthrie included, in their places and make them understand that defending her against actually enemies is one thing, trying to defend her honor against some imagined slight is quite another, especially when it interferes in her business.  Calla was a truly strong woman, one that was able to make the difficult decision to take back her heart from a man who didn’t really deserve it, and find a way to forge a new path.  Even when she is faced with the uncertainty of a future with a new pack, the drama caused by her parents' bad decisions, and the chance that she might be losing her heart to another undeserving man, she never loses her optimism and embraces the new changes in her life with exuberance and strength.  Witty, sometimes sarcastic, smart, ingenious, determined, sweet, and sensual there was really no way for Guthrie to resist her and she is a character that exemplifies the characteristics that women can relate to.
Guthrie is a man with simple needs, protecting his pack and family, ensuring the pack has enough money to make life enjoyable and secure, time to run in his fur, and a woman to call his own.  The last bit is what has been giving him the most trouble though,  with a couple of failed relationships and now an irresistible she-wolf underfoot, Guthrie finds himself a bit off-kilter and acting out of character.  When Calla is threatened by her ex and his pack, he refuses to let anything happen to her and sets himself in front of danger at every turn, even if Calla doesn’t want him to.  The alluring she-wolf also begins to remind him that keeping the pack solvent doesn’t mean that they have to isolate themselves and horde their money, sometimes you have to open yourself up and allow for change.   Seeing them working together to help the entire pack, whether it’s with the Scottish Faire,  the huge pack Christmas celebration, or just with the everyday math lessons for the youths, it becomes obvious that Guthrie has found his perfect match if he allows himself to let go of the past and embrace a chance for a future with her.  Sexy as all get out, Guthrie is one of the strongest, sweetest, and funniest wolves I’ve had the pleasure of reading about.  And did I mention that he's one of FOUR, seriously, sexy Scottish wolf QUADRUPLETS, what more could a woman want?
As the saying goes, you can never have too much of a good thing, and Spear proves that with her newest addition to the Heart of the Wolf series.  Guthrie and Calla's story made me cry, laugh, groan, and wish that it was just that little bit longer so that I could have enjoyed even more.  Calla was spirited, intelligent, and loving, while being fierce in her protection of others as well as being fiercely determined to find her perfect match and the perfect place for her to make her life.  Guthrie was obviously the perfect match for Calla;  he's just as smart, willing to do just about anything to protect his family and pack, and even more important he is understanding of the emotional trauma a failed relationship can cause and willing to give Calla the time she might needs to get over it before he pursues her.  Calla's stalker's motives, which come to light in the end, were surprisingly human, not something I expected from a wolf, and are truly the failing of all higher species--Greed.  I was thrilled to see the previous couples and many of the secondary characters that have supported this individual story arc.  I am especially looking forward to the day Logan is old enough to have his own mate and meets the woman that will lead him into the danger of the heart.  I can see myself as an old woman still lusting for this series, so hopefully there is no end in sight.  You continue to amaze me Terry; keep up the great writing and I promise to keep dragging even the most reluctant readers to your fan base! 
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

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