Let’s be honest. If you know me at all via the blog or social media, you probably already know how this review is going to go (because you probably already know that I’m a big fan of Elizabeth Hunter’s work.)
So let’s get that part out of the way now:
I love this book.
I love Alex and Ted.
I love the setting and the romance and the mystery and Elizabeth Hunter is disgustingly talented.
You should buy this book as soon as you possibly can.
All right. Now that that’s out of the way, here are some thoughts about WHY you should read Desert Bound (and the first book in the Cambio Springs series, Shifting Dreams).
I should probably start by saying that when Elizabeth asked if I wanted to beta read Desert Bound (yes, I am a lucky, lucky girl and I may have jumped up and down with joy when she asked…) I was a little burnt out on shifter romances. I had read several of them earlier this year and through the summer and I just wasn’t feeling the whole shifter thing (um, other than MY shifter, of course). But I knew that Elizabeth knows how to tell a damn good story, and I was excited to see what would happen with Ted and Alex.
Needless to say, this book made me appreciate shifters again.
Ted is exactly what you expect an alpha female to be: strong-willed, independent, straightforward, and honest. And Alex is the best kind of shifter male: alpha in a true alpha way, meaning he can do the tough and gruff thing very, very well but rarely needs to because posturing is stupid when everyone knows he’s the big dog (er, wolf. You know what I mean.) I loved that not only was he NOT an asshole alpha, but he took his role in his pack and community very seriously. And that care and strength extended to his relationship with Ted.
The relationship was, of course, the core of the book, and it was very well done. Their relationship had an almost melancholy feel to it. These are two people who loved each other dearly, who had a whole lot of history between them, and it had all fallen apart somewhere along the way. Reading the way they worked through their past issues, and the way they both gave a little to make it work (and make it last!) was wonderful. The love scenes were very well written: steamy and sensual and Hunter does a fantastic job of making sex not just a plot point, but very much integral to the way their relationship evolved. Beautifully done.
I also enjoyed the way she handled the extensive cast of characters in Cambio Springs. Each one felt real, as if this was someone who could easily live next door to you. I wanted to know more about each and every one of them (particularly a somewhat surly bartender.)
And, since this is a mystery, I should also note that the mystery element was very well done. I was worried at a point in the story, wondering how in the world Hunter was going to make it all work, and damn if she didn’t pull it off in a surprising, yet perfect way.
This book is just another example of Hunter’s ability to provide a story with amazing depth and living characters. I cannot wait to read more about the inhabitants of Cambio Springs.