From the BLURB:
Abby Wade has a dangerous secret.
Two months ago, she disobeyed an order, but instead of kicking her out of the Pride, Jace offered her a job. Since then, she’s been battling a completely inappropriate crush on the young, hot Alpha. But when accepting his job offer seems like the only way to keep her skeletons safely in their closet, Abby doesn’t hesitate.
Jace Hammond has a big problem.
A rogue is slaughtering humans in his territory, and he must eliminate the threat before the entire shifter species is exposed. There could not be a worse time for Abby to accept a job he only offered as a boost to her confidence. Abby is smart, beautiful, and resilient—more than enough to distract any man from the mission. Unfortunately, she may just be the worst enforcer ever to hold the title.
As they hunt the killer, Abby’s secret becomes a threat to Jace’s authority and to her own life. But the real danger is the grip she has on his twice-shy heart.
‘Lion’s Share’ is the first book in a new paranormal romance series from author Rachel Vincent. It’s an independent spin-off of her ‘Shifters’ urban fantasy series (so she’s releasing it herself, not through and publisher), and Vincent explained the finer details in her January newsletter:
Note from Rachel Vincent (included in her January 2015 newsletter): While the Wildcats books are set in the original Shifters world and involve many characters you already know, this spinoff series will be romance, rather than urban fantasy. What's the same: The world and its rules. The action. The political landscape. My "voice" as a writer. What's different: Each book will follow a different couple, and each story will be told from both points of view. Up first? Jace and Abby.
Vincent’s new ‘Wildcats’ series actually kicked off with a short story called ‘Hunt’ which is all about Abby Wade getting caught up in a dangerous kidnapping gone awry – and it’s really important that you read ‘Hunt’ before ‘Lion’s Share’ because that story definitely forms the basis of the book’s storyline, and especially Jace and Abby’s first spark …
I will say that I didn’t think ‘Hunt’ was great, and I was dubious about going into ‘Lion’s Share’ after reading that short story. But I’m really glad I stuck with it, because I didn’t realise how much I’d missed this world until Rachel Vincent threw readers right back in it.
Last book ‘Alpha’ came out in 2010, and I remember at the time having serious reader-whiplash over the conclusion of Faythe’s story … particularly around her romantic decision between Jace and Marc. That aspect of the finale never sat well with me, partly because Vincent had done such a great job of keeping readers (and Faythe) guessing about which guy she’d pick – and in the end I just really wanted to know what became of the guy she didn’t choose … which is where ‘Lion’s Share’ picks up.
This story – the first in a series about the only stray-run territory of the Werecats (currently in the process of being officially recognised by the alpha Council as a legitimate territory and not just exiled land) – is all about Jace and Abby. Jace, of course being the man that Faythe didn’t end up with …
When we meet him again, Jace is Alpha to tabby Abby – the young girl (not so young anymore) who was locked in a cage and brutalised during the ‘Shifters’ series. Abby has gone to school to study politics, in anticipation of one day taking over her father’s territory and marrying young enforcer, Brian whom she’s been engaged to for your years. But Abby doesn’t actually love Brian, and memories of the past are always just beneath the surface threatening to rise up … when hunters who know about the existence of werecats and pose a threat to her pride’s secrecy start winding up murdered, Abby becomes an enforcer in order to help Jace track the murdering stray cats down.
Though Vincent stressed that this new series would be more paranormal romance than urban fantasy, there’s still a heady dose of mystery and whodunit at the heart of this book, but the main focus is certainly on Jace and Abby. Jace seems off-limits to the young tabby – both because he’s her alpha, she’s engaged to another man and because she knows the tricky history between Jace, Marc and Faythe (she’s also borne witness to Jace’s bedding a multitude of human women in the aftermath of his heartbreak over Faythe). But after the events of short story ‘Hunt’, Jace had started seeing Abby in a new, mature light and Abby no longer wants to sit on the sidelines of her own life.
“I’m six months younger than you were when you came to the Lazy S. If you were a virgin at seventeen and a half, I’ll bite off my own claws.”
How was it possible that seventeen looked so much younger on her than it had felt on me? I’d thought I was ready to conquer the world, one human girl’s bed at a time.
I really enjoyed Jace and Abby’s romance, even as I still would have liked more from Jace about the after-effects of his being rejected by Faythe, and maybe something of how Abby felt coming after the great and powerful Faythe in Jace’s heart. That being said, it was great to catch up with all the main players of the ‘Shifters’ series – to see where Marc and Faythe are at, and another young traumatised tabby called Kaci, the tabby stray Mercedes.
Abby is also a great leading lady. She’s not nearly as prickly as I often found Faythe, she’s very funny and rails against everybody’s perceived fragility of her as the victim of sexual abuse.
“How do you like your eggs?” she asked, as I began pulling travel mugs form an overhead cabinet. Which I could barely reach. Being short sucks.
“I take them as an unavoidable ingredient in cakes and brownies. Or fully grown in the form of nuggets or tenders,” I added with a glance into the backyard, where the rising sun was painting the east cabin with bright streaks of light.
Jace and Abby are hot. They’ve got a lot going against them – her engagement, his precarious alpha status not withstanding – and I loved how much friction this back-story gave them. Like I said, I wish there’d been more concentration on Jace’s head-space after Faythe didn’t choose him, and how Abby felt possibly being compared to Faythe but otherwise I thought their romance was a great balance of heat and heartache, and I definitely look forward to Vincent giving readers a sneak-peak at how Abby and Jace progress in future books …
I could definitely see who the next books will be focused on in this series, and I look forward to following those characters on their journeys too. All in all – I didn’t realise how much I’d missed Rachel Vincent’s series until she came out of the blue with this one, now I think I’m getting hooked.