Heat Factor: He marks her. Yowza!
Character Chemistry: That log splitting scene tho.
Plot: Chellie has a public meltdown and goes and hangs out in the woods for a bit. Where she meets a very friendly bear and a very surly man. Who happen to be the same person.
Overall: I had so much fun reading this book!
Chellie had a brief cameo as the Evil Other Woman in Resolutions, where she was pretty terrible. So I was definitely interested to see what Eden did with her – and I think she absolutely knocked it out of the park. Reading Resolutions, I was like, of course Mike and Jane belong together, but just imagine being Chellie. You get unceremoniously dumped. A week later, you discover that your ex-boyfriend is dating someone new. And a week after that, surprise! They are engaged. I would have a public rage fit too. However, unlike Chellie, I am not a semi-famous influencer, so my public rage fit would (probably) not impact my livelihood.
Hence the woodland retreat. Chellie will go be wholesome and do a recovery tour with all her #sponsors and voila, revamped image!
Except Chellie is not great at doing things like setting up tents or wearing proper apparel for being outside in the winter. Oh dear.
Luckily, Tanner is there to help! Or at least, to yell at her for not eating enough / wearing enough / being careful while hiking. He’s so scowly and I love it. And so does Chellie. As she notes: “Yes, he was a rude, grumpy asshole, but he was a sexy rude, grumpy asshole, and for some reason, my logic wasn’t in control.” I feel you, girlfriend.
Here’s what I liked about this book. First, Chellie has a great growth arc. When we first meet her, she seems pretty self-centered (I’m an Old, so just the fact that she’s a professional Influencer has me rolling my eyes), but she is quickly established as a likable heroine (it helps that she’s funny) who just needed a change of scenery to figure her stuff out. And figure her stuff out she does – a path which includes managing her toxic mom.
I really liked how the whole shifter angle was handled. Everyone is so chill about it! More importantly, even though Chellie and Tanner are Fated Mates – because that’s how shifters work, obviously – they still have a choice about whether or not they want to be together. Being soul mates is not enough to build a happy life if your dreams and goals and lifestyles aren’t compatible.
And that brings me to the central conflict of the story: answering the question of how to make this relationship work, if Tanner needs to live in the woods and Chellie’s livelihood is based on her living in the city. No one abruptly develops a case of the stupids in order to create drama. The drama already exists due to their different lifestyles; they just have to figure it out by listening to their hearts.
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