Reviewed by Ami
Title: Off the Beaten Path
Author: Cari Z.
Heroes: Ward Johannsen/Henry Dormer
Genre: MM Paranormal
Length: 200 Pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 18, 2017
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: When Ward Johannsen’s little girl Ava shifted into a werewolf, she was taken into custody by the feds and shipped off to the nearest pack, all ties between father and daughter severed. Ward burned every bridge he had discovering her location, and then almost froze to death in the Colorado mountains tracking her new pack down. And that’s just the beginning of his struggle.
Henry Dormer is an alpha werewolf and an elite black ops soldier who failed his last mission. He returns home, hoping for some time to recuperate and help settle the pack’s newest member, a little pup named Ava who can’t shift back to her human form. Instead he meets Ward, who refuses to leave his daughter without a fight. The two men are as different as night and day, but their respect for each other strikes a spark of mutual interest that quickly grows into a flame. They might find something special together—love, passion, and even a family—if they can survive trigger-happy pack guardians, violent werewolf politics, and meddling government agencies that are just as likely to get their alpha soldiers killed as bring them home safely.
Review: In Cari Z.’s latest urban fantasy, Off the Beaten Path, werewolves are the result of government’s experiment turns awry. The government pretty much rules the werewolves by forcing packs into special territories, guarded by a guardian whose job is to keep werewolves from the spotlight. The Alphas are forced into military service involving black ops to do what regular humans cannot do.
When Ward Johannsen’s daughter turns into werewolf, she is taken to a pack in secret, forcing Ward to ask his best friend to help him track Ava. Henry Dormer is the Alpha of the pack that takes Ava and he’s not sure how to handle a human that enters his domain and refuses to leave…
This is another SOLID story from Cari Z. who slowly but surely becomes an author I can count on. The story captured my attention from the first chapter when Cari Z. described the coldness that Ward experienced as he was trudging the snow to approach Henry’s land.
I’d gone seven miles through the snow after abandoning my car, the pale winter sun doing little to warm me as I trudged along, hoping against hope for a sign that I was going in the right direction. Finding the fence had felt like a godsend at the time, but I’d been there for over an hour now, waiting for anything and getting nothing at all.
Off the Beaten Path is a compelling read with strong world-built and sympathetic characters. It is a world where werewolves are treated badly by the government. Alphas come back from black ops without getting proper medical care for PTSD. Cari Z. is able to make me feel angry on their behalf.
Written from dual perspectives of Ward and Henry, the relationship between the two men moves at an unrushed pace. Henry is wary about Ward’s existence among the pack. He also has to deal with small frictions from suspicious pack members, a young werewolf making a move on forbidden wolf, as well as reporting to his bastard boss. Meanwhile, Ward’s main focus is his daughter, Ava, but at the same time, he has to adapt to being part of the pack and contribute what he can.
The secondary characters are excellent … from Henry’s sister and brother-in-law, to the pack doctor — whose background story is heartbreaking and I totally want him to have his own happy-ending, darn it! – to Ward’s daughter, as well as his best friend.
I hope Cari Z. will continue this universe, or at least give Tennyson and Davis their own love story. *nudge nudge*
Overall Impression: I really liked it!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*