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Review – Diamond Dust (Takhini Wolves #3) by Vivian Arend

Diamond Dust cover image
Publisher: Samhain
Publish Date: 20 Aug
How I got this book: ARC from the author via Novel Sidekick

She can’t shift, but she can shake their world.
Caroline Bradley is having one hell of a week. Her wolf lover has sniffed out his mate, making her an instant free agent. Not only that, Takhini territory has been overrun with aggressive bear-shifters electing a clan leader, and the wolf pack is feeling the effects—pushing her diplomatic skills to the limit.

Tyler Harrison is a grizzly on a mission. If he’s going to win the majority of the bears’ votes, he needs one final thing: a female companion. The only woman in town with influence over wolves, humans, and more bears than he’d like to admit, is Caroline.

Despite the sexual pull between them, though, Tyler’s not seeking a permanent relationship. And Caroline isn’t looking to be anyone else’s political pawn. But she should have remembered that when shifters are involved, changes happen in the blink of an eye.

Warning: Billionaire bear hero plus kick-ass human heroine equals a sexually volatile power struggle. Get ready for what might be the naughtiest game of tag that’s ever been played in the great outdoors.
This blurb came from the author’s website.

I adore Arend’s writing and have a super soft spot for her Wolfies. I read and enjoyed the first two installments about the Takhini Wolves and found myself fascinated by both the glimpses of bear politics and the relationship a certain Caroline was involved in. I really wanted to know more about both aspects and hoped that Caroline and her wolf lover would make things work for the long term but each time I mentioned that Arend just laughed at me. I decided that Arend had something up her sleeve for Caroline and decided I would focus on Bears! I wanted her to write an installment with bear shifters prominently featured because I felt their actions were significant in the altering shape of the Takhini Wolf Pack’s environment. Happily, Arend provided both my “Bears” and Caroline’s story while including some tantalizing hints about Evan’s. Again, she laughed at me when I said I had a guess so I am keeping my prediction to myself.

I was so excited when my review copy arrived that I didn’t even bother to look for a blurb – just dived right in and I certainly enjoyed the ride. I already had a feel for Caroline based on her knowledge of and interaction with shifters in previous books but I loved getting to see additional aspects of her personality. I knew that she cared deeply for others, primarily focused on her friends and those she considered her family but it extended in a very fascinating direction in Diamond Dust. However, as I thought about it later on it was a natural extension given her Alpha personality. One of the other things I really enjoyed that Arend highlighted was how vulnerable Caroline was internally. Too many times those who care for others do not have anyone who fills that role for them because they do not appear to ever want care. It took the unplanned shift in Caroline’s relationship with Evan to allow a few miniscule cracks to appear in her façade.

Tyler was a lot of fun. He had a sense of directness, curiosity, and also some sneaky deviousness that was a blast to see in combination. He could also be adorably clueless when it came to having an actual emotional relationship instead of just a physical one. His bear was all about Caroline from the very beginning so his internal push-pull and the resulting words that came out of his mouth caused me to laugh several times. Tyler and his bear were both equally protective of Caroline, which also led to some tense scenes with a few of the other male shifters. I thought Arend did a great job of demonstrating how guys can fight and go back to getting along as if they never violently disagreed. It was such a contrast to the lingering emotional residue between women after they fight. Like Caroline, Tyler became involved in pack life/leadership because someone had to do it and better that someone be a person who cares and wants to improve life for all not just for the elite.

Caroline and Tyler’s relationship was set against the backdrop of the often-bloody Bear elections which provided some tense moments while the relationship provided some laughs and tender moments. I got a great laugh out of Caroline disagreeing with Tyler’s statement that he would not be more work. She insists that he would want everything and given how he kept attempting to manipulate the situation and their interactions up to that point I thought she was correct. Then Tyler explained his reasoning and my heart just melted. I mean big, gruff bear shifter whose first reaction is to fight tried to keep everything business only because he was afraid he would fall in love. Bears appear to be the most emotional of all the shifters, which is saying a lot.

I also found myself enjoying it when Caroline decided she was tired of the excuse for bear actions as being ”instinct” and she called them on it.

Justin turned, his confusion clear. “Did she just compare us to a bunch of rabbits?”

“Scared and frightened bunnies. Yes.” Tyler settled onto the couch.

Caroline blew a raspberry at them. “Hey, you like lemmings better? Or how about hamsters? Little ones, with parachutes, being tossed off the roof of a building.”

While those moments made me laugh Tyler had moments when he continued to make me go “aw” as he managed to zero into the essence of Caroline and demonstrate that he really cared for her as more than an extremely shifter savvy human.

I loved Arend’s latest installment in the Takhini Wolves series. She certainly delivered on providing both a great romance and a very satisfactory amount of bears. I loved the conclusion of the bear elections and how Arend tied the opening scene back to the end. She provided humor, romance, great smexy times, politics, a glimpse at previous couples, and bears! Diamond Dust was completely worth the wait for bears, Caroline, and Arend’s laughter at my speculation. If you haven’t read her wolfies yet I highly recommend both this series and her Granite Lake Wolves series.

I give Diamond Dust an A.

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By E_booklover

E is addicted to books. She discovered at an early age that not only were they her transport to far off worlds, adventures, and exotic cultures, but that she ran into far fewer objects if she walked while reading then if she wasn't reading. She reads across several genres, such as: romance, western,mystery, SF/F and its derivatives. She isn't too picky except for good characterization, settings she can imagine, and a story that flows logically... umm so ok -- she wants a good story. Have any to recommend?

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