Her Alpha Protector
So I completely forgot that I’ve been sitting on a PNR novella stash… You see nearly 2 years ago Harlequin had a short paranormal category line called Nocturne Bites and that line grew in word count to more of a novella and less of a novelette and this was renamed Nocturne Cravings.
I have some of those Bites and Cravings titles and I only remembered a few days ago. Naturally I started reading one of those neglected stories and reminded myself why I should have probably tried to submit to the lines before they both were closed.
The story I chose is Gwen Knight’s Her Alpha Protector. Knight’s debut was everything I loved about the short PNR stories: it was sweet yet sexy, tension-filled with proper pacing, and a read-in-one-sitting type story (even though I totallystretched it out to three days—though in my defense I was reading it on the commute).
ANYWAYS. I really liked the story!
I also find it interesting to read about weres, so that was fun.
Her Alpha Protector follows heroine, Angelina/Angel while she’s on the run from her old pack and her abusive “mate”. In order to hide she ends up in another pack’s territory and this pack’s Alpha, Hunter, tracks her down as he would all non-pack/unregistered wolves, you know for security reasons. Of course when Hunter learns it’s Angel whom he’s hunting, he decides to finally do what he’d been afraid to do 10 years ago: take the she-wolf as his mate.
And drama ensues.
Angel was all right… I mean, she had good character development. My heart/head ached for her loss of innocence and her trouble adjusting to her life as a new wolf… And though an immortal wolf for a decade, she’s still very much unsettled in terms of finding a caring pack/family, uncomfortable in her own skin and body, and generally loveless in viewing herself in the world.
She wasn’t a damsel-in-distress, yet she also didn’t go around kicking down doors to get at her enemies. Angel was scared, but she also sorta fought back when the going got tough.
What I really enjoyed was the topic of domestic abuse in this novella. In the romance genre abuse is sort of tossed in there to add more drama and/or show how great the hero is. And Her Alpha Protector falls prey to this trap as well, especially when Hunter and his power of love cure Angel of all her emotional insecurities. However the insecurity Angel details in her actions make the story, particularly since her POV is more powerful than Hunter’s. Hunter has no need to be afraid or emotionally charged outside Angel… The way I see it she’s the more interesting of the two characters, and understandably so.
Hunter was cool, too. As the story was short, we didn’t get too see too much of his character outside his connection and concern for Angel. The main antagonist was clearly also a foil for Hunter’s personality and views in life and for his romantic ideal. In his mind, Hunter doesn’t want to hold his alpha powers against Angel’s head the way he might an enemy or the rest of his pack—he really sees her as an equal, at least emotionally and that thought pattern makes you like the guy anyways.
But his name was annoying… I mean I wasn’t sure whether to be amused or not. Yet as I write this I keep forgetting to capitalize the H in hunter. Ugh. Very annoying.
Also there’s a death. Don’t you love romances when a gory death gets thrown in there?