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I Belong

Review: Natural Evil by Thea Harrison

Title: Natural Evil

Author: Thea Harrison

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Series: The Elder Races (Novella 4.5)

Publication Date: March 20, 2012

Format: eNovella, 85 Pages

ISBN-13: 978-1619211100 (Samhain)

Reviewed by: Sheila


Claudia Hunter is on a road trip through the Nevada desert when she sees the body of a dog on the side of the highway. Pulling over to investigate, she quickly determines that the enormous animal is clinging to life. While working to save him with the help of the local vet, Claudia realizes there’s something about the creature that seems more. Other. Wyr. Which makes this case of animal cruelty attempted murder.

Too injured to shape shift, Luis Alvaraz is reluctant to tell Claudia what he knows about his attack, afraid it will only make her a target. But the sheriff is corrupt, and his attackers know Luis is alive and vulnerable. To make matters worse, a sandstorm is sweeping into town, and if they’re going to survive the night, Luis will have to place all his trust in Claudia.

Warning: Take a gorgeous man temporarily stuck in the dog house, add a strong, take-no-prisoners woman, mix in encroaching enemies and a raging sandstorm and stir to combine. Enjoy with a freshly opened can of whoop-ass.

Quick & Dirty: A fun story about a Wyr officer and an ex-soldier finding love that’s set within the world of the Elder Races series.

Opening SentenceClaudia couldn’t tell that the sizable lump on the highway shoulder was a body.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

There was no doubt in my mind that I would read this novella for no other reason than it is set within the Elder Races world.  So you may ask yourself, what makes this novella so special that I will sacrifice my precious time to read it?  Natural Evil offers something that the other books in the series do not: The woman is the heroine and rescues the Wyr, not the other way around.  A Wyr’s instincts are very primitive when it comes to protecting the opposite sex.  So what happens when a big strong man gets so injured that he must rely on a female to guard him?  True love, of course!

Claudia Hunter has seen her fair share of evil during her service in the military.  She is strong, capable, and alone.  While traveling haphazardly on a quiet highway running through the desert she stumbles upon a grievously wounded dog by the side of the road.  Her decision to help the poor creature leads her down a path full of intrigue and conspiracy in the small town of Nirvana, Nevada.  She runs into a corrupted sheriff, a bunch of small town would-be rapists, and a powerful man that would stop at nothing to keep his secret quiet, including committing murder.

While the Wyr, Luis Alvaraz, is investigating the local silver mine in Nirvana, he is caught and beaten within an inch of his life.  He wakes up in his Wyr form to find himself being cared for by a woman that he has never met before.  He must put his trust in this stranger to protect him while he heals.  Little does he know how well she can do that job.  She readily puts herself in harm’s way to buy him time by taking out the men that beat him up.  Though Luis struggles with the idea of any female putting herself in such a dangerous situation, he also can’t help but think of how much that turns him on.  Claudia is more than capable of protecting them both.

The two of them work to infiltrate the silver mine to discover what so many of the prominent local figures are trying to keep under wraps.  What is so important that they think that they must silence anyone who finds out about their secret operation?  Can Claudia use her special skills to help Luis out in his investigation?  Can Luis allow himself help from someone he originally pegged as weaker than himself?  If they survive, is there a future with the two of them together?

I really liked how this story played out with a stronger female character than the male.  The only downside, as always, is the length.  I hope to see these two make an appearance in the books to come.  Overall, this novella is wonderful on its own merits and readers don’t need to know the series to enjoy it.  For those of us who are counting down the days until the next book release, this novella helps stave off the need for more Elder Races stories.

Notable Scene:

“Can he have more pain medication now?” Claudia asked.

“Jackson checked his wristwatch.  “If you can get him to take it.  Wrap it in some of the bread and dunk it in a little gravy.  If he won’t eat it, I can give him a shot.”

She stuffed a pill in a piece of bread and sopped it with rich, dark gravy.  Then she held it to the dog’s nose.  “Come on, Precious,” she murmured.  “Eat the nums-nums, or Himself has to have a nasty old shot.”

The dog’s bitter-chocolate eyes narrowed on her in such disgust she had to grin.

“That really how you talk to him?”  Jackson bit into a chicken leg and said around a full mouth.  “Can’t believe the dog hasn’t bitten you yet.”

“I know,” she said.  “Can’t believe it myself.  Isn’t he great?  Think I might have to get him a rhinestone collar.  He’d look good in pink.”  The Wyr snorted softly, but he made no move to take the morsel from her hand.

Why wouldn’t he take the medicine?  She tried to think of what she would do in his position.  She said to him telepathically, It’s okay to take the meds.  I’m Special Forces, retired, I’m armed and I’m not going to let anything happen to you.  You’re safe.  You don’t have to be in pain, and you don’t need to stay alert tonight.

Holding her gaze, he gently took the morsel from her fingers.  He had to struggle to swallow it past bruised throat muscles, but he got it down.

Inexplicably his act of trust hit her hard, and her eyes grew damp.  She rubbed the corner of his ear and said in a husky voice, “Thank you.”

When she slid into her seat, his head was near her feet.  With a near-silent grunt, he shifted so that he could rest his chin on the tow of her shoe.  When she felt that slight weight come down on her foot, she held herself so stiffly, her muscle started to ache in protest.

She hated it when her eyes leaked.  She would rather be shot than cry.  She had been shot before, so she knew what she was talking about.  And he had made her teary twice in one day.

Goddamn dog.

The Elder Races Series:

1. Dragon Bound

2. Storm’s Heart

3. Serpent’s Kiss

3.5 True Colors

4. Oracle’s Moon

4.5 Natural Evil

4.6 Devil’s Gate

5. Lord’s Fall

FTC Advisory: I graciously provided myself with a copy of Natural Evil.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  The only payment received came in the form of hugs and kisses from my little boys.

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