Monday, 24 November 2014

REVIEW - Toxic (Truckee Wolves #1) by Belinda McBride


There are three things that Dr. Briony Theale loves. Her job as a veterinarian, a good bar of rich, dark chocolate, and Rico, the new ranger in charge of the Wildlife Rescue center. When a casual dinner with the mysterious Rico turns surprisingly intimate, Briony realizes that she might just have a chance with him after all, if only she could lose a few pounds. It's the ultimate sacrifice, but Briony goes cold turkey, and swears off chocolate forever.

Rico Montgomery fell hard for Briony the first time he set eyes on the curvy little doctor. Her brown hair and cocoa skin trigger cravings that he can barely control, and her fragrance is like the sweetest, richest chocolate he's ever scented in his life. That's a bad thing for Rico, because to a werewolf like him, chocolate is literally a toxin.

Rico can't live with it, and Briony can't live without it. And when a certain wandering wolf finds a bag of chocolate in the Dumpster near Briony's clinic, these two will find just how toxic love can be.

This an excellent paranormal read with a plot well balanced between action and romance. [Although this is listed as the first of the Truckee Pack book they have appeared in two previous short stories.  They have a cameo in Educating Evangeline from Doms of Dark Haven and Hunting Holly from Doms of Dark Haven 2 is centered on three members of the Truckee pack.  Chronologically it appears that Toxic takes place between the two short stories.] Some serious world building goes on as we see the pack up close for the first time.

The hero is Rico, a ranger, wildlife biologist, volunteer at the Wildlife Sanctuary, wolf shifter and a member of the Truckee pack. Of course he has issues [who doesn’t?] partly due to being raised by humans with no knowledge of shifters, and partly due to his intense attraction to the heroine, Dr. BrionyA Theale, a vet who also volunteers at the Wildlife Sanctuary. Biggest issue? He’s obsessed with the little human who smells and tastes like chocolate, and chocolate is very, very bad for dogs…

The heroine is Briony the vet.  She lusts after the hunky ranger but knows he’ll never be interested in her. After all, she’s the poster child for ethnic diversity and her chocolate addiction has given her some serious curves. And that’s without including her dangerous family and their even more dangerous secrets. And then he kisses her. 

Deciding the first step in pursuing Rick is losing the chocolate she tosses it.  Rick [in wolf form] ends up eating the chocolate, triggering a major case of chocolate toxicosis. Briony takes in the obviously ill huge black dog [who really looks like a wolf but everyone knows there aren’t any wolves in California] and cares for him. Rick eventually shifts and takes her and marks her – then runs off into the night still half-crazed and seriously ill. Briony eventually wakes up from what she thinks was a really hot dream to find the marks, but no Rick and no sick dog. Could the shifting thing be real?

Now things get even more complicated, she’s kidnapped and threatened by the pack [they think she had something to do with Rick’s disappearance] and her mother steps in to find her daughter. One woman against an entire pack of wolves? Put your money on mom…

The mom is really what put this story over the top for me.  There’s nothing I can say that wouldn’t be a spoiler so I’ll just leave it but I can’t wait to hear more.  There are depths to be examined and future possibilities that have been hinted at. Blatant hint to author: hope she gets her own story!

Rico and Briony resolve their story but the author has laid down many threads for possible future stories.

According to the author’s site a related story ‘Cry, Wolf’ is scheduled…

I will definitely continue to pursue this series.

I received this ARC from NetGalley…

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