Her Lone Wolf by Paige Tyler
It took everything she had for FBI Special Agent Danica Beckett to walk away from the man she loved. But if she wants to save his life, she has to keep her distance. Now, with a killer on the loose and the stakes higher than ever before, the Department of Covert Ops is forcing these former lovers into an uneasy alliance...whether they like it or not.
The last thing Clayne Buchanan wants is to be shackled to the woman who broke his heart. She gets under his skin in a way no one ever has and makes him want things he has no right to anymore. All he has to do is suffer through this case and he can be free of her for good. But when Clayne finds out why Danica left in the first place, everything he's tried to bury comes roaring back--and there's no way this wolf shifter is going to take no for an answer this time.
Hmmm. I almost didn't finish this book but stuck it out because Paige Tyler has never let me down before...and sure enough, the second half of the book was exactly what I have come to expect: sexy, smart, and action-packed. Unfortunately, the first half of the book failed to hook me as much but there were glimmers of possibility that kept me turning pages.
Danica is working a serial killer case when it becomes clear the killer is a shifter. Knowing that the FBI and regular cops working the case are woefully unprepared to handle a shifter's strength, she calls her old boss at the DCO to give him a heads up. He sends out Clayne, Danica's former lover who she still cares for deeply but who can never know why she left the DCO.
Clayne is ticked to see Danica to say the least but he handles himself professionally. No snide comments or underhanded behavior designed to take her down a peg or embarrass her in front of her colleagues. In fact, both Danica and Clayne handle themselves like adults and focus on the job at hand and do their best to deal with each other when they have to and avoid each other when they don't. This was probably the reason I kept reading...they were both people I liked and I wanted to see them come back together.
However, it takes a while for the case they are working to really go anywhere, there are flashback scenes that fill the reader in on Danica and Clayne's relationship pre-implosion, and there are chapters that are following Ivy and Landon as they continue to track down the doctors/scientists engineering the shifter hybrids. There were too many things going on and none of them really moved the story forward. At about the 50% mark, the focus narrowed on to Danica and Clayne's reconnecting and the case they are working on and the story took off. The increased pacing was very welcome as was watching these two characters use honesty, discussion and common sense to deal with an issue that so easily could have turned into unnecessary drama. But it didn't.
Clayne asked why Danica left. Danica realized that it wasn't fair to Clayne not to let him in on her decision as obviously he was hugely (and negatively) impacted by it. Clayne listened without judgment until Danica was finished and admitted that she didn't have other options. He realized that she really was trying to protect him and that her life had also been made more difficult because of her decision and he appreciated her protection even if he hated the way it came about. Then they moved on. He never brought her decision back up to throw in her face; Danica didn't dwell on it anymore. They both just decided they wanted to be together again and committed to making the decisions that would allow that to happen.
I also enjoyed reading about the serial killer and watching all the pieces come together at the end when they come close to taking him down. I did actually cotton on to what was happening before either Danica or Clayne which I don't always do, so I felt good about that. There were some secondary characters that I really enjoyed getting to know, but as they live in California I doubt they come into play again in the series, although if they do, I would be happy to spend more time with them. As for this series, it is proving to be as enjoyable as Tyler's SWAT series and I look forward to reading Her Secret Agent next.