reviewed by GJM for Rites of Romance Review (rorrreviews . wordpress . com)
Let me start by saying this book has a lot of stuff going on we have a serial killer on the loose who just happens to be Dastan’s arch enemy. Add a sheriff who doesn’t trust Dmitry and Dastan as he still hasn’t come to grips with his friends selling their ranch without telling him. Then as if that’s not enough we have Sarah who’s about to find out she’s a lot more than a witch. Ohh and did I forget to mention a Succubus makes an appearance too Ms Michaels does an awesome job of pulling it all together and gives us a great fast paced story with just enough twists to keep us engrossed.
This is not your usual Ménage book either there is NOT hot sex scenes on every page it’s a lot more complex and there is actually a great story line to focus on and I found that very refreshing. Don’t get me wrong there are some very hot scenes between Sarah and the guys but the story is the main focus. If you’re tired of the same old sex with very little plot and next to no substance grab a copy of Nature of the Beasts you will not be disappointed.
Sarah stood back and studied her second attempt at cooking a casserole from scratch—the human way, no magic. It didn’t look too bad. She inhaled and smiled. It smelled good. It felt good doing things without magic, like she’d really accomplished something.
As she moved it to the table, her mind drifted to the dead woman. Who was she? What was she doing on the trail so late at night?
The door opened, and she looked up just in time to see Dmitry walk in. He looked tired, and not for the first time, she felt a tug of sympathy for him that overrode her usual agitation. His eyes met hers, and she started in surprise at the worry darkening the blue-gray of his irises. Dmitry wasn’t a worrier. That was Dastan. So for Dmitry to be worried, something must be up. She wanted to ask him if he was okay, if something was bothering him, but instead, she kept the conversation about food.
“There’s dinner if you’re hungry,” she said.
Dmitry raised an eyebrow in surprise. “I’m sorry. Were you just being nice to me?”
Sarah rolled her eyes. Any sympathy she felt just went right out the window. “God forbid,” she snarled. “Eat or not. Doesn’t matter to me.”
She turned away and opened the refrigerator to grab the tea. Since living here in the mortal realm, she’d begun to do things the mortal way. She found she liked it. She enjoyed keeping herself busy and felt a great sense of pride at what she could accomplish, even when it was small.
Dmitry sighed as he pulled one of the stools away from the kitchen island. “Sarah…” he began, but whatever it was he meant to say was halted by Dastan’s entrance into the kitchen.
“What did you find out?” Sarah asked as she set the pitcher of tea on the island.
She wanted a quick change of subject. Her fingers always seemed to tremble whenever she was in the presence of both Dastan and Dmitry, so to hide it, she busied herself getting ice for the tea.
“Shifters,” Dastan replied tiredly.
Sarah dropped the ice in her hand onto the floor. “Excuse me? What the hell are more shifters doing here?” It was bad enough she had to deal with Dastan and Dmitry. Now there were more?
Dastan gave her a pointed look. “Probably for the same reason Dmitry and I are. Just living their lives outside the protected dimension. There are a lot more of us here than you might think.”
“That I know,” she snapped. “But why here? Why did he kill a girl here?”
Dastan sighed. “We don’t know.”
“For that matter, why was he killing a girl at all?” Dmitry asked. “Was this something random, or is there something else going on?”
“How do you know it was a male? Was the girl a shifter?” Sarah asked.
Dastan shook his head. “No, and we don’t know it was a male. We’re just assuming.”
“And you know what they say about assumptions,” Sarah said with more of a snarky tone than she’d meant to.
“I am not in the mood for that smart mouth of yours, Sarah,” Dastan replied.
Sarah immediately backed down. “I’m sorry,” she whispered, unsure why she’d even gotten so snappish. Well, that wasn’t entirely true. The fact that a shifter was so close, killing women, made her nervous, and when she was nervous, she was a smart-ass. “I didn’t…”
She left the kitchen and walked into the living room. She dropped onto the leather sofa and stared at the fireplace. She’d been here a month and had fallen in love with the ranch and the land. Dastan and Dmitry scared her. They were shifters, which she hated, but they were incredibly attractive and so sexy. Every time they entered a room, her heart would skip out of rhythm. How could she hate someone and at the same time want them so bad her whole body ached with it?
Dastan walked over, then sat down on the coffee table, facing her. She winced, waiting for the table to crack under his weight. It didn’t, and she breathed an inward sigh of relief.
“I didn’t mean to snap at you, Sarah. I’ve got a lot on my mind. Now with this…this just complicates things in a way I never wanted.”
“The sheriff is suspicious of you guys, isn’t he?”
Dastan nodded as he leaned forward and braced his elbows on his knees. He clasped his hands in front of him and sighed. “He didn’t come out and say it, but it wasn’t hard to read between the lines. Having you here doesn’t help matters any either.”
“I know what you mean. There’s a lot of unneeded tension in the house.” She frowned. “Dmitry hates me about as much as I hate him.”
Dastan snorted. “Dmitry does not hate you. He wants to fuck you so bad he can hardly contain himself, which is why he’s such an ass most of the time.”
Sarah’s stomach fluttered wildly at Dastan’s words. Her mouth opened to say something, but nothing would come out. Instead, she stared at Dastan in shock. Dmitry wanted her? If that was true, he hid it well. And why did the very idea make her heart race and her palms sweat?
Did Dastan feel the same? She looked into his eyes, trying to see what he might be thinking. Unfortunately, just like Dmitry, he hid his emotions well.
She swallowed. “And you?” she croaked. “Do I need to worry about your libido as well?”
Dastan lifted one corner of his mouth in amusement, and a spark of interest lit his eyes. “Yep.”
“Well…” she said before taking a deep breath to steady her suddenly tingling nerves. “Thanks for the warning.”
Dastan turned serious, which always put Sarah on edge. “The sexual tension doesn’t bother me. I’m worried about you being here alone during the day. That murder was too close for comfort, and it was a murder, plain and simple. Shifters don’t eat people. He mangled her body to make it appear as though it was animals. I just don’t understand what his reason was.”
“They’re not all docile, Dastan. My mother was attacked by shifters years ago. Before I was born. It was bad, from what I understand. There were three. Two watched and held her down while one beat and raped her. That’s why she hates them, and she instilled a lot of that hate into me. I have trouble trusting you, but I also know deep inside that you wouldn’t ever hurt me. Same with Dmitry. I’ve watched the two of you protect Keegan all my life.” She looked down at Dastan’s hands, which were still clasped between his knees. “I don’t want to leave. I like it here,” she whispered. “I feel…free here.” She looked up and met Dastan’s curious gaze. “My mother isn’t here to nag at me and constantly watch over my shoulder.”
Dastan grinned. “I understand what you mean about feeling free. Hiding who I am or what I am from the ranch hands can sometimes be difficult, but I can put up with that to finally be able to work with my hands again. Now I know why so many of us come here. It’s a chance to be somewhat normal.”
“Maybe that’s why this other shifter is here. Maybe he just wanted to be normal.”
Dastan tilted his head to the side, studying her. “Why did he kill the girl?”
“Maybe she saw him shift?”
Dastan shook his head. “I wouldn’t kill someone for that.”
“That’s you. That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t.”
Dastan rubbed the back of his neck and then dropped his hand back to his leg. “It’s possible, but it doesn’t feel right. If this were just a human man who was killing women, I wouldn’t be as concerned about you. But it’s not. It’s a shifter, and while I’m sure you can handle your own, a shifter can overpower a witch.”
“Not all of them. Shifters can only do magic if they’ve been trained to draw from the magic that makes them shift.”
“How do you know he hasn’t been trained?” Dastan asked.
She shook her head. “I’ve never heard of other shifters as powerful as you and Dmitry.”
“We’re an exception. We were council guardians, and therefore our training was more in depth, but I’ve learned over the centuries that the council isn’t the only group that has trained shifters.”
“That’s a pleasant thought. But I still don’t want to leave.”
Dastan pinned her in place with those beautiful gray eyes, and Sarah could feel her whole body heat. For a split second, she wondered what it would be like to be seduced by either of them. Incredible, she had no doubt.
“If you stay here, Sarah, I can’t promise that a seduction isn’t somewhere in your future.”
Had he read her mind? Had he seen her thoughts in her eyes? Was she that easy to read? The very idea made her incredibly uncomfortable but not uncomfortable enough to leave. Not yet, anyway. Shifters couldn’t read minds. She just had to get better at covering her desire. That was all.
She shrugged. “I have mace.”
Dastan laughed. “It’s cute that you think mace will work.”
Sarah started to say something but was cut off by Dmitry. “So are we good?” Dmitry asked from his spot behind the couch.
Sarah jumped in surprise and turned to glare at him. “I swear I’m going to put a cowbell around your neck if you don’t stop doing that!”
Dmitry snickered. “Well, sounds like everything is pretty much back to normal. Thanks, by the way, Dastan, for spilling the beans.”
Dastan’s lips lifted into a sideways grin. “Anytime.”
“Okay, so what are we doing about the shifter?” she asked, again trying to move the subject to safer ground.
“We are not doing anything,” Dastan replied. “Dmitry and I are going to keep our eyes open but assume he’s moved on.”
“And if he hasn’t?” she asked, a little nervous despite her outer show of bravado.
“Then we cross that bridge when we get to it,” Dmitry replied.
Sarah felt his presence as he leaned over and put his mouth just inches from her cheek. Blood rushed through her ears at the feel of him this close to her. She tried her best to hide the things he made her feel, but if the intent way Dastan watched her was any indication, she’d failed miserably.
“We won’t let anything happen to you,” Dmitry whispered seductively, and Sarah really had to struggle to keep up her appearance of indifference.
“Dmitry.” Her voice cracked, and she cleared her throat before continuing. “If you don’t back off, I’ll get that cattle branding rod in the barn, and when you’re sleeping later, brand you with it.”
Dastan tried his best to hide a smile, but Sarah caught a glimpse of it just before he lowered his head and stared at the floor.
Dmitry straightened but replied, “I’ll make sure and sleep in the nude. Give you a nice target to zone in on. I think a brand is well worth seeing you get all flustered. If you think you’re hiding your desire, Sarah, you’re mistaken,” he added as he walked back to the kitchen.
“Why?” Sarah demanded to Dastan. “Why are you friends with him?”
Dastan chuckled and spread his hands. “What can I say? He’s my entertainment.”
“He’s a pain in the ass,” Sarah growled.
Dastan continued to chuckle as he stood to leave. “You’ll get no argument from me on that one, princess.”
Princess surprised her as well as sent a little thrill through her midsection. It was the first time Dastan had used an endearment like that. Now that she knew Dastan wanted her, his teasing and proximity would make it even harder for her to remain aloof.
She brushed her hair away from her face. God, she was so screwed. She could admit to being incredibly attracted to them. Dastan and Dmitry both just admitted they wanted her. Could she really resist them if they turned up the seduction? And more importantly, did she really want to?
Yes, she told herself. Yes, she could resist. If she kept saying it, then maybe it would be true. She let out a puff of frustrated air. Yeah, right.
“Come on and eat. Dinner’s getting cold,” Dastan called.
Sarah reluctantly stood, although eating was the last thing on her mind.