Saturday, February 7, 2015

Review: Hungry Like the Wolf

Hungry Like the Wolf (SWAT #1)

by Paige Tyler


They're tight
They're on target
They're as alpha as men can get.

The Dallas SWAT team is hiding one helluva secret . . . they're a pack of wolf shifters.
The team of elite sharpshooters is ultra-secretive—and also the darlings of Dallas. This doesn't sit well with investigative journalist Mackenzie Stone. They must be hiding something . . . and she's determined to find out what.
Keeping Mac at a distance proves impossible for SWAT team commander Gage Dixon. She's smart, sexy, and makes him feel alive for the first time in years. But she's getting dangerously close to the truth—and perilously close to his heart...
Themes: werewolves
Rating: 3.25 stars
Heat Rating: 
An interesting premise with a great romance, but the paranormal aspect of the story was a bit shallow for me.  Being an avid reader of paranormal romance, as well as a student of mythology in general, I have always found that the best paranormal fiction includes some in-depth explanations of how, why, and what, when it comes to the “monsters”.  While I enjoyed this story very much that was a big letdown for me, mostly because we never really learned how the men became werewolves, how the trait is passed on, or even what exactly it makes them.  Most of the details were heavily glossed over, with only some general mentions of their fangs, claws, and fur.  The only good thing is that I rather expected this as I am now familiar with Ms. Tyler’s writing style and this is a common issue I have had with many of her novels. That being said… an entire SWAT team of alpha wolves, living and working together… who could have ever thought of that?  I found that portion of the story and all the action inherent to a badass SWAT team to be the most important part of the story, the action driving the rest of the story and setting up a chance for the H/h to meet and come together and fall in love.  The characters were well written, the plot good, if a little predictable, and the HEA pulled out in the end, so I am looking forward to any future stories and seeing where the series goes.
Gage and Mac’s story kicks off with secrets and the smell of a juicy story, leading mac to investigate rumors about the infamously perfect Dallas SWAT team.  While she is unsure exactly what she will find when she begins investigating, she is determined to uncover the story that she can feel pulling her like a magnet.  When Gage offers her a full look into the elusive crew and their heavily guarded compound, there was no way she could have ever anticipated just how much her life would change.  Not only is Gage the sexiest guy she has ever met, but his strength, courage, and honesty makes her doubt her instincts.  Gage is falling hard for Mac, which he definitely didn’t plan when he started his scheme to keep her from uncovering the truth of the pack, but the best-laid plans are often the most disastrous. As he spends more time in her presence he becomes more attracted and comes to trust her more, but he still isn’t positive he could ever share the pack’s secret with her—until her life is in danger and the only way to save her is to unleash his inner beast.  But can Mac, the intrepid reporter, who has always believed that full disclosure is the only way to live life, keep the greatest secret of her life to herself if it means keeping these amazing men safe and Gage in her life and heart forever?
Gage is a true alpha leader, led by instinct but smart enough to know when you need to think with your human brain as well.  He has gathered the best men…err wolves… together to form an elite SWAT team to counter the dangers of the crazy city of Dallas, determined to keep people safe and make sure that his team is the best in the world.  But that greatness has capture the attention of the media and when Mac shows how determined she is to get her story, he knows the only way to get her to give up is show her just how boring the guys really are.  And his plan is a good one, until he actually comes face to face with her the first time.  Now reeling from the desire she inspires in him and the deep connection that is blossoming as they spend time together, Gage is unsure if he can walk away from Mac and he knows that the only way to keep her will be to tell her the full truth.  I found myself liking Gage pretty much the entire time I was reading about him.  His obvious strength—physically, emotionally, and mentally—and his willingness to do just about anything to keep those he loves safe make him the perfect guy in my eyes,  and let’s not forget the guy can bench press a small car.  The best parts of the story in my opinion is when Gage is sharing his passions with Mac and showing her the man under all the gruffness needed to keep his men in  line and get the job done. 
Mac on the other hand struck me as the kind of heroine that is too inexperienced, slightly naïve, and stubborn in her beliefs to be a truly great character, until she finally gets a clue about two chapters before the ending.  While I can easily applaud a tenacious woman, her belief that the truth should always be pulled out into the open, no matter that it might destroy the reputations and lives of good people, is really angering to me.  I never could imagine writing an expose that destroys good people just because “the public has a right to know”… which yeah I totally don’t agree with.  But once she pulled her head out of her butt and realized that sometimes the public needs to have their illusions, I was able to like her a bit more.  Her emotional distance to Gage was disappointing at first as well, because what woman in her right mind would push him away, especially for a story, but I did appreciate her ability to embrace the passion that flares between them and find a way to overlook her story in the end to keep her new family safe. 
While I have my peeves with this author and her writing style, I definitely look forward to the rest of this series and am anxious to see how the rest of the SWAT team handles meeting their mates.  Gage is an awesome character with all the strengths and weaknesses that make a truly great alpha leader, while still maintaining his intelligence, wit and sarcasm.  He really is the whole package and I wish I had a man just like him for myself.  While Mac hit me wrong a few times throughout the story, in the end I could see that her love for Gage was genuine and she would make a good mate for him.  There was plenty of action, drama, and passion to keep the story moving as well as some laughs, sarcasm, and wit to keep me feeling like I was right there with the characters most of the time.  I certainly wish Mac had wizened up earlier, or at least not lapsed into her former journalistic persona, but in the end love wins out and that is what makes for a truly great story for me.  I enjoy Paige’s plots, dialogue, and characters for the most part, but I’m really going to need her to start giving some more detail to the overall myths she is hitting on.  How did he become a werewolf? What special extras come with the change?  What makes her twist on the paranormal unique?  Just little things like that being fleshed out and the story might have been a 5 for me.  Looking forward to the rest of the crew getting a story, but in the meantime I will just keep an eye out for her other series as well. 

*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

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