I often see readers whine a story should have been this or that way...sorry, I think they miss the point. You the readers are listening to a storyteller. Ages ago, when the bard stood before fireside and wove tales for entertainment, no one stopped him and said, "I don't like part change it or I won't listen." Would you have told a bard to change the part where King Arthur finds Gwen and Lance together? So I wonder why readers feel they have that right today? Listen up, the world doesn't revolve for you. A writer conceives the story, spends months, a year bringing that story to everyone. It's her vision, you are just one of many permitted, gifted, for the price of a "ticket" along for the ride.
And Rhonda Thompson gives us one wild ride in the second book of the Wild Wulfs of London. Don't confuse this Thompson with Dawn Thompson (a Dorchester author with The Waterlord, The Falcon's Bride and The Ravencliff Bride). Rhonda Thompson pens a nifty character-driven tale, with the story of the second brother of Lord Jackson Wulf. Not content with the inner beast within him, Jackson is seeking to solve the riddle of the curse he and his brothers must live under.
He first seeks out a witch, thinking to kill her, and that might possibly end the curse. Easy to do, he assumes, kill a crone. Instead of a hag, he finds the witch Lucinda is beautiful. He comes upon her in the final stages of giving birth. The birth is going badly, and Lucinda fears both the child and she dying. She bargains with Jackson, help deliver her unborn child and promise to provide for it, and she'd give him leave to kill her. Jackson agrees, but then cannot go through with taking Lucinda's life. Men have been sent to kill Lucinda, but more specifically charged with killing both her and her child. They break in and Jackson helps her escape with her son.
Lucinda believes in the struggle Jackson was killed, so she goes to London with the plan of passing herself off as his widow. Things go along smoothly, until Jackson shows up and confronts his "widow". Still thinking of her child's welfare, she strikes a hard bargain, in return for lifting his curse, Jackson must marry her and adopt Sebastian, her son. Once the curse was lifted, she promised to go away, leaving Jackson to live his life. Only trouble - Lucinda is a white witch and cannot work black magick and that is what is needed to counter the curse.
While the first book in the series was breathtaking, this is more character-driven, and Jackson and Lucinda captured my heart. I applaud Thompson for stepping outside of formula and permitting REAL flesh and blood characters to come alive and control the story. Jackson is a properly tormented, Alpha male, a complex man. His life had been spent, wasted, in typical ton pursuits, and his meeting Lucinda and her child, pulled him from this, saved him. How could he not capture the readers heart when he falls for the tiny baby. These characters are just vibrant, real instead of two-dimensional Regency paper dolls that you often see in this genre.
Very highly recommended for readers with discerning taste, wanting something a bit more than formula.