Protected Cover Image

Review – Protected (Diablo Lake #2) by Lauren Dane

Reviewed by: E

New York Times bestselling author Lauren Dane welcomes you back to Diablo Lake, Tennessee: a town founded by witches, governed by werewolves and full of secrets

Tensions are building in Diablo Lake as the two main rival Packs vie for control, and the town is divided along lines of Pack loyalty. Aimee Benton and Mac Pembry are on opposite sides and he seems to find excuses to spar with her daily. He’s infuriating—not to mention charming, gorgeous and oh-so-lickable.

Mac can’t resist pushing Aimee’s buttons. She’s always been incredibly sexy, and the wolf in him craves a female with fire in her belly. When a heated argument ends with a sizzling kiss and Mac gets a taste of her, he craves more—and she can’t seem to get enough of him, either. The forbidden nature of their attraction stokes their desires until they’re secretly hooking up whenever they can.

But then Mac’s clan goes too far, and Aimee shuts him out. She’s hurt and angry—but that’s nothing compared to the rage Mac is feeling toward his own Pack. A fight is brewing that will plunge the whole town into chaos, and someone will have to cross Pack lines to keep the town’s fragile peace from breaking apart for good.
This blurb came from Goodreads.

I am a serious Lauren Dane fan so when she announced she was starting a new series involving witches and werewolves I was making gimme hands at my computer screen. After reading and reviewing the first one, Moonstruck, last summer, I really couldn’t wait for the second one. I am glad to say that the wait was worth it. Aimee and Mac’s relationship not to mention the deepening tension between the two Packs and how their unrest was spilling over negatively impacting the rest of the town kept me hooked. I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next, how Aimee and Mac were going to deal with being on opposite sides and what secrets are hiding in the Pembry history.

I really liked Aimee from her time in the first book. She seemed to be a great friend to Katie Faith, heroine of Book 1, capable of telling it like it was while still being encouraging and maintaining her own independence as a character. As I got to know her more, it became evident she had a quiet strength and a direct connection with the wellbeing of the Diablo Lake residents including the elders. So when the witches decided enough was enough it make perfect sense for Aimee to take on the role that she did. I loved how she refused to let her feelings for Mac and their deepening relationship stop or dissuade her from doing what needed to be done even as she continued to give him a safe harbor from his internal Pack struggles.

Mac took a bit more getting to know before I decided he was ok. Mac’s father, the Pembry Patron, had recalled him to help maintain the Pembry’s power but he wasn’t really providing Mac any open support as the Prime, next in line to run the Pack. As a result Mac was fighting a two front war, one internal to the Pack and one external involving the Pack’s reputation and role in the greater community. I enjoyed watching Mac maneuver to gain support of the Pembry pack while trying to keep things from devolving into open warfare. His ability to be both smoothly charming and brutally forceful depending on the situation was a delight to watch. I liked the way he worked to keep his relationship with Aimee separate from the daily mess that was the Pembry pack and his father’s clumsy handed methods of manipulation. He knew that if he didn’t take over the Pack regardless of his parents’ support or not, the cost the price everyone would pay was more then his sense of protectiveness would allow.

While the Moonstruck really showed how several generations of gradual abuse of power resulted in a rift between the three main powers, Pembry Pack, Dooley Pack, and the Witches in Diablo Lake, Protected dove deeply into the actual politics and started the rebalancing of power. I enjoyed seeing into the inner workings of both the witches as they joined forces and the Pack structure and Mac worked to consolidate and take over the Pack in a manner, which would keep the Pack together without constant challenges to his position as Patron. When city politics became involved, the complexity and what was at stake increased, and so did the erratic behavior of certain Pembry wolves leading up to a demonstration of the belief that the rules didn’t apply to everyone.

Protected has certainly moved things forward in Diablo Lake while keeping my curiosity peeked about hidden secrets and the role Mac’s parents played in what happened with Jace Dooley’s father so long ago. I also want to see how things work out with Mac and Aimee in their new roles regarding separation of power and the responsibilities of their individual positions. I think it helps Aimee has an emotional bond with all three major power groups but it could also complicate things as situations arise. I am really looking forward to seeing what comes next and which characters will move front and center. I kinda have hopes for some of Mac’s immediate supporters and I am also wondering about Jace’s younger brothers. Thankfully, Dane has said she plans to write more Diablo Lake stories so I am attempting to be patient.

I give Protected an A-

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