Reviewed by JenAs someone new to the Southern Arcana series, I went round and round debating with myself about whether I should jump in with this fifth installment. The short answer: I should have started at the beginning. This is clearly a series with a wide canvas that is very rich in characters. They're all interconnected and they have a mountain of backstory. Moira Rogers does an admirable job filling in the blanks and I felt like I caught up... eventually. But I have no doubt that I would have been able to enjoy the book much, much more had I not been struggling to figure out who everyone was and what the hell happened before the book ever started.
Now that I have that out of the way, let me give you the low-down on the story. Sera is a coyote shifter who is trying to start her life over after leaving an abusive marriage. But her ex doesn't want to let her go. Sexy alpha wolf shifter Julio gives her the perfect opportunity to get away from the threat when he takes her along on an impromptu vacation.
Julio could stand some time away from his pack. He still has not come to terms with being tortured last year and he has thrown himself into helping his people ever since it happened. He and Sera have harbored feelings for one another ever since the night he rescued her father from a burning building and he helped her through her recovery from her husband's fists. Though their friends see the trip as an excuse for an extended booty call, his intentions are actually more noble. He cares about Sera and he wants to protect her.
This brings me to the whole dominant/ submissive element of their relationship. It's usually a dynamic I avoid, but I can deal with it a bit better with shifters than in, say, contemporary romance. As I said earlier, Julio is very alpha... and all his instincts are possessive and protective towards Sera. She, on the other hand, isn't just submissive, she is uber-submissive and she has a lot of self-image problems wrapped up in that. I don't think I would have minded her tendencies so much if she didn't have such self-loathing attached to them. Beyond that, she is already considered kind-of redneck and lower-class, simply because she is a coyote and not a wolf.
Their plans for a vacation shift into something of an ambassador mission, where Julio reaches out to some of the nearby packs in his brother-in-law's territories. And along the way, he and Sera give in to their attraction. I can tell you unreservedly that this is where the book knocked my socks off. The sex is hot. Crazy hot. Hot. Hot. Hot. It's also plentiful... though it never overshadows the story. Even though d/s relationships generally are not my brand of kink, it's clear that these two complete each other. They need what the other has to give, both in the bedroom and out.
The story advances an overall series arc... and it makes me want to go read the backlist. I just wish I had done that in the first place!
*ARC provided by author for review
Click to purchase: Amazon
Impulseby Moira RogersRelease Date: September 4, 2012Publisher: Samhain