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Tempting Danger by Eileen Wilks

September 25, 2010
Cover of "Tempting Danger (The World of t...

Cover via Amazon

If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that I came to read Tempting Danger by what I thought was an unfortunate accident. I left my copy of Cold Magic at home when I went to the gym and had to fill its place. Yes, I read at the gym. It’s a talent I’ve perfected.  It serves to impress no end of people, all of whom marvel at my ability to withstand motion sickness while pedaling away on the elliptical machine. I don’t know if “pedaling” is the right verb, but running and jogging don’t quite work, either. So I’m going with what I’ve got.

It turns out, however, that leaving Cold Magic at home was the best kind of mistake–a good one. I picked up Tempting Danger because it showed up on Amazon every time I looked up the Mercy Thompson series. If you’ve been following this blog at all, you’d know I was a fan of Mercy. But I’ve learned to be skeptical of Amazon’s recommendations. They don’t always amount to anything good. So instead of rushing out to buy the first book in Wilks’ World of the Lupi series, I waited until I happened across it in the Sci Fi/Fantasy section of a nearby public library. It sat in my car, unread, until that fateful morning when I picked it up, thinking it would be a poor substitute for the book I really wanted to read.

Boy, was I wrong. Lily Yu, the heroine and her lupi hero, Rule Turner, sucked me into their story right away. Lily is a cop in San Diego, who works Homicide and has a special Gift–an ability to sense magic, both in people and in situations. She is also, as you probably have guessed from her name, second generation Chinese. We don’t see much of her family in this book, except for Grandmother, who makes a few memorable appearances. Lily and Rule meet on a case, when the husband of one of Rule’s (many) lovers is found brutally murdered. Lily is able to sense that the murderer was a lupus, and Rule, as the Lu Nuncio (heir to his father as clan leader), is a very high profile lupus.

Lily and and Rule have an instant attraction, but Lily’s not interested. The lupi in Wilks’ world are known for their promiscuity and their general laissez-faire attitude to sex. But this is a romance novel and we readers know that Rule’s days as a playboy are numbered. This is more true than Lily knows because Lily isn’t just another woman for Rule, she’s his bond mate. I’ll leave you to discover the ins and outs of the relationship for yourself. Just know that Wilks’ handles this well-worn cliche of shapeshifting Paranormal Romances better than most.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I felt like Lily and Rule were really three-dimensional characters. Each has a past and each has baggage, but Wilks doesn’t use that history as a reason to make her characters seriously messed up. No one, for example, goes to ridiculous lengths to deny their attraction to the other. Lily and Rule are drawn to each other but neither of them are naive enough to believe that a mystical bond is the be-all and end-all of their relationship. It’s more that it serves as a starting point. In a way, this is a modern day arranged marriage. The bond forces Lily and Rule commit first. They’ll have to get to know each other later.

Lily, in particular, is a wonderful character. I mentioned her baggage, and it’s true she has some–and that it’s serious–but it in no way weakens her character. She is truly someone who has come out of her experiences a stronger person. As horrible as the experience was–and, I gotta warn you, it was awful–they’ve made Lily the kind of person who makes difficult choices because it’s the right thing to do, no matter how negatively it will affect her life. She’s a stand-up gal.

As for Rule, he wasn’t the uber-alpha werewolf I was expecting. At first I was a little disappointed–I like alpha heroes, after all–but Rule made it up to me. He’s still sexy and he’s really very, very sweet with his son, whom we only get to meet briefly. Rule is also a great hero in that he gives Lily lots of space. He knows that she needs it, especially since he knows so much more about the bond between them than she does. He recognizes that Lily will need time to get used to the idea of being tied to him.  Though he isn’t willing to let Lily ignore their bond, Rule does what he can to ease her into the changes they both will need to make.

I liked learning about Wilks’ world, though I was a little confused on some points. Like, what was the Purge? It comes up a few times and I hope I didn’t somehow skip over the passage where the term is explained. I was also a little unclear on how much the general populace knew about the magical world. We don’t really get a chance to meet many non-magical people that are not in law enforcement. It seemed like magic and magical beings were a part of every day life in the World of the Lupi, but I wasn’t sure.

The last thing I should touch on is the plot, which centers around politics. It’s an interesting take on the ramifications should the United States suddenly discover there were werewolves. How would these people–or not-people–be treated by the government and what kind of rights would they have? But aside from the law of the government, there are lots of rules and laws that only apply to the clans (i.e., groups of werewolves) that only the clans know about. I’m not being terribly clear, but let me say that there are layers and layers going on in the World of the Lupi. And I’m awesomely glad to learn that Cullen Seaborne (lupus and sorcerer) is going to get his own book. In fact, I’ve already bought it.

I’ll end this review by saying that Mercy Thompson fans should read these books. They’re not as awesome as Briggs’ books, but they’ll help no end with the long wait until the sixth book (River Marked) comes out–in January 2011.

Oh, and here’s the official description from Wilks’ website.

Lily Yu is a San Diego police detective investigating a series of grisly murders that appear to be the work of a werewolf. To hunt down the killer, she must infiltrate the clans. Only one man can help her–a were named Rule Turner, a prince of the lupi, whose charismatic presence disturbs Lily. Rule has his own reasons for helping the investigation–reasons he doesn’t want to share with Lily. Logic and honor demand she keep her distance, but the attraction between them is immediate and devastating-and beyond human reason. Now, in a race to fend off evil, Lily finds herself in uncharted territory, tested as never before, and at her back a man who she’s not sure she can trust ….

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