Soul of the Wildcat

Soul of the Wildcat - Devyn Quinn Dakoda Jenkins is on her first assignment as a newly minted park ranger with her partner Gregory Zerbe when they come upon poachers who have captured and caged a rare, protected species of cougar. The poachers are well known to the rangers as a malevolent threat to the various species of wildlife that inhabit the National Park which directly abuts territory belonging to the Tlvdatsi a tribe of the Cherokee Nation. The Tlvdatsi consider the cougar sacred which muddies the waters further. Unfortunately when Dakoda and Gregory attempt to arrest the poachers and free the cougar, Gregory is gunned down, murdered in cold blood and she is knocked unconscious, taken prisoner. Dakoda wakes up in a cell, in shock, with the cougar, watching her.

Dakoda has had a difficult life, raised by an alcoholic mother who never stayed with one man for long. Then as an angry difficult teenager she ended up in the care of a policeman who “straightened her out” which eventually lead her to a career with the Rangers. Dakoda, however has always felt out of place, she never knew who her biological father was or where she belonged. She sees the gruesome loss of her partner and being captured as the latest in a series of things to go wrong in her life.

To her surprise, the cougar is docile, almost friendly and even rolls on it’s back allowing her to scratch it’s belly. Then our cougar shifts into a drop dead gorgeous man.... Dakoda thinks she has gone stark raving mad.

Ms. Quinn wrote what I found to be a unique character in Jesse Clawfoot, while yes he and his people (the Tlvdatsi) have the ability to shift from human to cougar form, he is not some superhuman paranormal creature. He has the same frailties as any man while in human form and shifting to cougar doesn’t, for instance, give him the ability to instantaneously heal from wounds or gift him with extraordinary strength. Jesse was raised in the city and attending college to become an accountant (lol) when a relative came and informed him of his heritage and moreover the unusual genetic trait that allows his people to shift. He has a very poor sense of direction, a wonderful sense of humor, and an endearing warmth that made me like him instantly.

Dakoda and Jesse’s very hot and heavy romance develops in a setting of capture, danger, depravation and fear. They do escape the poachers, their brutality, and their horrific plans for Jesse and Dakota, and flee across treacherous territory to his people. They are forced to live off the land to survive.

“A crash of brush alerted her to his return. He pushed through a hedge of growth, trotting into the little clearing. A nice fat brown rabbit dangled from his mouth.

Setting the rabbit down on the grass, Jesse shifted back into human form. “Damn, that little bastard could run,” he said heading toward the stream. He walked with a lithe and feral grace, perfectly at home in this wilderness. His male beauty was spectacular. Simply stunning.”

This is an Aphrodisia paranormal erotic romance and the love scenes are extremely sensual, primal and sexually explicit. Jesse wants Dakoda to stay with him, badly but she feels duty bound to report back to the Rangers and apprehend the poachers who murdered her partner, terrorized her and brutalized Jesse. Essentially she is torn between duty and the desire. Dakoda, however finds more than she bargained when they do reach the Tlvdatsi.

Readers are introduced to the mysticism and beauty surrounding this tribe of shapeshifters who live peacefully off the land trying to preserve their heritage and way of life that is dying. Chief Joseph Clawfoot and his lovely wife Kathryn are of particular note and their story, “Heart of the Wildcat” is now available as part of the Sexy Beast VIII Anthology, that I hope to read soon. The setting for “Soul of the Wildcat”, is breathtakingly beautiful, picturesque and Ms. Quinn incorporates her signature excellent descriptive prose and graphic imagery making Jesse and Dakoda's journey and the land come alive.

I’ve always found Ms. Quinn has the ability to write extremely nasty antagonists and the bad guys in this novel are no exception. They have no regard for human or animal life and what they have been doing to Jesse’s people is unconscionable. The poachers unfortunately come back to haunt Dakoda and Jesse which leads to a nail biter of a conclusion to their story.

“Soul of the Wildcat”, is not written in the first person but is told completely from Dakoda’s omniscient POV and I did find myself wishing to have been taken inside Jesse’s head just a little. That being said this is a fast-paced erotic paranormal romance and “Dakoda” certainly tells her tale extremely well. If you enjoy a good shapeshifter erotic romance laced with action, excitement and danger you may like to give “Soul of the Wildcat” a try.