I had the enormous honour of beta reading this book, and as such, my review was written long before the official blurb.
Elaine has lived her life with labels. She isn't happy about any of them. After the gits at the Blackbird Security did what they did last year, she has taken solace in the two things that make her truly happy: her online gaming, and her mate, Alim. Just as they begin to grow into a deeper relationship, Elaine and Alim are faced with a far deadly threat than they have yet to encounter.
This is, almost, the final book in the Blackbird series. But it can totally be read as a stand alone, because the gits and their partners take a part here, and what they did to Elaine is recapped.
BUT!!! I think you should read, Under Fire, Ivy, Natasha, Alicia, Twelve Days and Lorcan, if only to feel of Donovan and her writing, and how Elaine is with everyone.
AND, because I said so!
Elaine is, as much as she can be, happy with Alim. He is patient with her, and goes out of his way to soothe her triggers and symptoms to assist with not setting off her Asperger's and causing a meltdown. He tells her he loves her, but more so, he SHOWS her. When Elaine's life is threatened, you'd have though him the shifter, not Elaine, the way he protects his mate.
Elaine deals with a lot here, not least of which is a religious nut job intent on cleansing the world of all shifters. Emotionally and physically, she is pushed to her limits. And Donovan portrays all the things Elaine deals with so brilliantly. Partly because she has first hand experience of Asperger's but also because her writing skill is growing, and developing with each and every book she writes.
As I said, I beta read this book. At first Elaine was reluctant to talk about what she and Alim share, on a personal and intimate level. But by the final time, Elaine had relented somewhat and we do get some of their more personal moments. I don't want to call them anything other than that, personal moments, because what Elaine and Alim have, and how Donovan tells about it, it comes across somewhat... special... for want of a better word.
Its always sad to say good bye to a series, but equally, for this pack, its nice to see them all happy with their partners. For the pack to grow and develop and to move on, for Elaine especially, it was right and proper that she did.
I have no doubt, none at all, some people will HATE Elaine, none at all. But please, if you like your characters diverse, and quirky, and funny, give Elaine a chance, give Donovan a chance with this book. I promise, you won't regret it.
5 full and shiny stars, all wrapped up in Alim's university sweatshirt that Elaine is so fond of.
**same worded review will appear elsewhere**