Villain Cal Malone manipulates the Council and comes out on top – check
A bunch of fights lead to dead cats – check
Faythe gets beaten up by some toms – check
Faythe is taunted and threatened with rape before being beaten up – check
Marc and Faythe fight about their relationship – check
This book opens a week after the events in Shift, and Faythe, Jace, and Marc have a run-in with Faythe’s brother Ryan in the woods surrounding the ranch. Ryan is guilty of some crimes against cats and was a party to the death of a young tabby. His mother freed him and he’s been on the run ever since, but he still comes around trying to see his mother.
The Pride is also preparing to meet with Ethan’s girlfriend who is pregnant. The visit is precluded by some talk about being nervous; genetics; whether the baby will be human; intermarriage betweens cats and humans; and the lack of marriage opportunities for toms. All of this has come up before, so I don’t know what purpose it serves. Faythe is shocked to find that Jace actually dates women, who aren’t her and in fact dated Ethan’s girlfriend’s twin (I forgot her name and don’t have the book anymore, sorry). The meeting goes well, and everyone is committed to doing what’s best for Ethan’s baby.
Faythe’s brother Michael is also at the ranch with his wife Holly, who has no idea that she is married to a shifter. We later learn that the penalty for telling the outside world about shifters is death. Holly has been keeping Kaci company while the adults are meeting, and Kaci is finding it difficult to evade Holly’s questions. Faythe eventually rescues Kaci and Holly remains in the dark.
Soon the Pride is going back to the wilds of Montana for another Council meeting, and after some shady doings, Malone has managed to set up a Council-sanctioned group of enforcers. They are all loyal to Malone, and in a deviation from Pride tradition, they carry guns. Faythe, Jace and Marc are detained and held in one of the cabins pending their punishment for not dying at the hands of Malone’s thugs. By now everyone is aware that Faythe thought Marc was dead and slept with Jace, and Malone’s faction feels comfortable throwing this into Faythe’s face constantly, calling her a slut and threatening to ‘tame’ her, but we all know what they really mean. Like I said before, we’ve been here already.
Faythe breaks herself, Jace, and Marc out, and they meet up with the rest of their Pride and hope to find the stockpile of guns that Malone brought. A fight ensues, the Sanders get help from an ally, and a death occurs. It’s pretty obvious who dies here. Hint: the book’s title.
Malone gives the Sanders Pride a reprieve to bury their dead, and the Pride goes home to grieve. Holly sees the carnage and begins to believe that the Sanders are in the Mob, and they’re forced to tell her the truth. She accepts it with visual proof and and asks a lot of questions. The Pride plans to oust Malone once and for all when he arrives for the funeral, but this plan is also thwarted.
Come on, toms, you can’t go around telling people your plans, especially if they are LOYAL TO MALONE! Malone arrives two days early and in anticipation of the fight to come, the womenfolk are sent somewhere else. Fight number two leaves the South Central Pride defeated and banished to Stray territory, specifically Marc’s house. Faythe decides on a plan of action, and she, Jace, and Marc put it into action, which leads up to the final battle.
Between the fights and beatings, Faythe spends time thinking about the triangle that she finds herself in. Jace or Marc? Marc or Jace? She kisses one, leaving herself covered in his scent, angering the other. She has sex with the other, leaving herself covered in his scent, angering the other. How will she decide? She loves them both! She’s sorry but she can’t choose! Everyone offers advice, but she can’t come up with a way to decide. I waited on someone to die so she didn’t have to choose.
If you’ve been reading my reviews of this series, you know it’s been hit or miss for me, but I was interested enough in the potential resolutions to keep reading. When I finished, I just felt sort of meh about everything that happened. It got to the point where the plot never really advanced beyond Calvin Malone is evil and Faythe doesn’t want to commit. I felt like I was reading the same book with different endings. Maybe this author isn’t for me.