waking-the-bearTitle:  Waking The Bear
Series:  Shifter Wars #1
Author:  Kerry Adrienne
Published:  August 1, 2016
My Rating:  4 stars
Source:  NetGalley
Cover Description:

Sexy shifter passion is awakened when two unlikely lovers are challenged by secrets, danger and an unstoppable need to claim one’s mate…

For human Amy Francis, the secluded cabin in Deep Creek is the haven she needs to map out a fresh new start. She never expected her heart to be reawakened by a distraction like Griff Martin, commanding yet gentle, too ferociously sensual to ignore. It’s clear that patrolling the forest is more than a job to Griff—it’s a means of survival. But what Amy doesn’t realize is she’s reawakened the beast within him.

Griff’s dormant hunger is stirred by this intoxicating woman…and threatened by the secret she must never learn. Duty-bound to defend his bear clan against an avenging pride of lion shifters, Griff’s entire world is upended when he meets Amy. His animal need to claim his mate has taken hold, but that very desire could seal her fate as an unwitting pawn in battle.

Now, as a shifter war looms, Griff must decide between letting Amy go or following his most carnal instincts. To have her would change his life…but risk everything he knows and was born to protect.

Sexy shifters and their feisty mates who aren’t shy about loving each other – so, this is an adult, 18+ reader tale.

Titles in this series include:  Waking The Bear –  Pursuing The Bear – Taming The Lion (Jan. 2017)

A shorter version of Waking The Bear appeared in the 2015 anthology, Spring Fever: Shifters In Love.  This version has been revised and lengthened by the author and is now the first in a (so far) three story series entitled Shifter Wars.  It’s possible you may have read the shorter version at some point.

Waking The Bear gives us a slightly different view of bear shifters, as these shifters follow their bear side’s more hibernating, not truly active during the winter months.  These bears are truly waking up after their rest, sleepy, tired and not fully functional in some ways.  Things have happened during their sleep that set up the continuing tensions between the bear clan and the mountain lion pack.  The lions have been encroaching on the bear’s territory during their rest.  Lion tracks are obvious, as one or more lions have visited the area in the time the bears were asleep.  While they do stir themselves to run short checks around there territory – and there are always guardians around the Cave of the Whisperer which is sacred to both the bears and lions and a bone of contention for possession of this magical spot and the burial grounds for both of their ancestors… they certainly are not at full capability during their natural hibernation time.

Griff is not only a bear shifter but a Forest Ranger as well.  It’s his job to not only keep the area safe as a Ranger, but to protect his clan’s territory from those who would gladly rage a war to take it from the bears.  That the lions have been scouting the area is obvious from the tracks and sighting over the winter months – but nothing blatant has happened… yet.

Amy has come to the Deep Creek forest area to rediscover herself after breaking up with a controlling, abusive boyfriend and being laid off (make that nicely fired because of him) from the job that she took to make money but never satisfied her artistic side.  The last thing she’s looking for is to be controlled again by a man.  She wants peace, quiet time alone to sketch, paint and explore the area.  She needs to find herself not fall into another disastrous relationship.

When Griff first meets the tenant who is renting his family cabin for two months the last person he ever expected to meet was his mate.  Not now.  He didn’t have time for a mate now – there was too much danger, too many possibilities if war between the bears and lions came, and it was sure to come soon.  And she was a human, so she would have no clue what was happening until he explained.  No.  This was not something he wanted yet she was everything he needed.  Now how to keep the girl but hold off on the mate part of it all.  Yeah, Right.

To make matters even more complicated, there is one mountain lion who has returned looking for revenge.  His only desire is to see Griff dead.

I enjoyed Waking The Bear very much.  If there were moments when I wanted to sit each of the main characters down and give them a stern lecture about just being honest and straightforward with each other.. well, that was on me.  Characters never, ever listen to me.  Amy’s fierce need for her independence makes her go into situations that will only lead to danger or trouble.  Griff’s determination to protect his mate without actually claiming her as his mate will add even more tensions to his already overloaded life.  They are both stubborn in their own ways, and that can lead to complications that might have been avoided.

I’ve read both versions of this story and I enjoyed how Waking The Bear has been fleshed out and taken a bit deeper.  There is room for more stories and thankfully we won’t have to wait terribly too long for the next story in the series.  There is a story line woven throughout that will most likely run through the entire series.  In some ways I’d call the ending a Happy For Now for Amy and Griff but we’ll see how things turn out in the next book.

If you are a Shifter lover then this is a story that you’ll want to discover (or re-discover) for yourself.  A good solid romance with definite tensions that will continue to be an issue until resolved.  It has the makings of a very good series that I’d recommend and am looking forward to myself.

This review first appeared on my Keeper Bookshelf blog.  I tend to want to have all of my Shifter Romance reviews and such in one spot, so it was added to Shifter Haven for that purpose.

Available for the Kindle