I enjoyed "Realm Walker" by this author so much that I decided to give this short novel a try, although I admit the wild west setting; despite an intertwined alien theme, didn't really appeal to me.
Intrepid heroine Amethyst is determined to locate her missing sister Pearl, despite realising her sister could never have survived in the Deadlands; a hostile environment in which alien creatures would treat a vulnerable human as prey. Amethyst is sensible enough to know that she and her 3 companions lack the skills to not only successfully track her sister, but also survive, so she hires a group of Weren (shape shifters) to act as guides and protectors. Humans and Weren rarely interact yet Amethyst finds herself liking Chase and his men, whilst Chase's pack mates believe her to be a perfect match for their alpha. The romance between Chase and Amethyst grows slowly but realistically; both understanding that a life together would be difficult even without the prejudice they could face as different species.
This book is a strange blend of western frontier meets Victorian England meets futuristic sci-fi which I remain somewhat ambivalent about. Although additional alien races are mentioned, they remain underdeveloped and only briefly described. There are some moments of tense drama that add to the plot plus the dynamics between Chase and his pack mates add an element of humour at times, resulting in a read more entertaining than anticipated. 3½ stars