Tug Brimstone was an alpha wolf by nature, but even he wasn’t as powerful as his Remi LeBlathe, their true alpha. Happy to be the new head master in their jointly owned BDSM nightclub, Tug wasn’t looking for anyone, but fate had another plan for him. In less than two days, he finds he has three mates, two who are part snake and wolf, and now he’s tempting fate by injecting snake DNA into his own body so he can mate with them.
Rory Sherwood is mate to Tug Brimstone, Clayton Glands, and Cecil Windstream. How can one tiny female who has been beaten, experimented on, and is a virgin overwhelm him to the point where he forgets his own name, let alone seriously changing his DNA, just so he can mate with her?
Clayton Glands, the muscle behind the National Council of Wolf shifters, has hidden a family secret all his life, but in less than twenty-four hours he has found his mates, exposed his secret, and gained a son.
In a one-week time span, three alpha males Tug, Rory, and Clayton must protect their female from the scientists Cecil had escaped. Not only is her life in danger, but also her son’s, and the future of every shifter around. The war against good and evil is coming to a head and their journey is just part of the story to come.
Those of us who read a wide assortment of romance fiction know about and read novels that feature vampires and all sorts of paranormals--the fae, shifters of all sorts, and so on. This series has been around now for several years and this is the fourth story in the Running in Fear series. In the third book, shifters of a different sort were introduced--snake shifters. I have to admit that this was waaaaaay far out for me and one that was difficult for me to even envision. Now the heroine of this novel has finally escaped one of the labs that the Shifter Council has secretly been sponsoring--started in order to produce a stronger, invincible shifter being. Monthly, Cecil's body was injected with snake DNA in order to combine her wolf with snake qualities.
I felt that this story was quite a bit less tense than the three initial stories in this series. While the problems and crises were as weird and certainly produced their own set of problems for Cecil and her mates, the greatest of these were the fact that any kind of excitement caused Cecil's poisonous venom to be a danger to anyone who was causing that excitement, including her mates and including any sort of sexual arousal. Mating with her significant others then became a substantive problem for their collective future. There were several issues involved and two of Cecil's mates, Rory and Tug, both took action to neutralize the danger. Clayton's "secret" turned out to smooth out the problem with Cecil and allow them to mate. Clayton never really foresaw that his "secret" would turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
This was a fun read in lots of ways. Jaycee, heroine of the first three books, continues to be a voice in this novel along with her three men. Her friends Pam and Sheila along with her adopted mother Marsha, are also background characters here as well. The repartee among all the friends gets funny at times and is really enjoyable as evidence of their deep connection and friendship as a pack. There is certainly continued danger from those in the National Council who want to "take over" and take away the democratic governing among all the packs. There is danger to Cecil from those who want to capture her once again, and there is danger from the father of her baby--a powerful snake shifter who has threatened her safety many times. There is indeed a sense of "running in fear" in this story, but it is really more of a love story than one of threat. Even though Tug is the "headmaster" of the BDSM club of which he is co-owner, there is almost no BDSM in this story. It is inferred and there are references to him as a master, but that is about it.
All the books in this series are "far out" as are any good paranormal stories. The snake thing was still difficult for me as I absolutely abhor snakes. But as I got into the story it became less of an issue and the solutions to the crises it posed helped to make it less of a problem. I think anyone who reads paranormals is willing to put up with quite a bit of weirdness. But this is really a shorter novel than the previous books and yet it reads well and there is a lot of fun and loving here. There is also a sense that it is because of Tug, Rory and Clayton that Cecil begins the long process of restoration after her six years of torture and terror. I give it a rating of 3.75 out of 5.