4 “I Want You, But I Can’t Have You” Stars
Carnal Secrets by Suzanne Wright is book three in her The Phoenix Pack series. I have loved and adored this series right from the beginning. It is funny, sexy and packed full of gorgeous alpha wolves who will do whatever it takes to claim what is theirs. While I may not have enjoyed this third installment as much as the first two books, it was still an entertaining read that had me glad to be back in this shifter world full of horny wolf-men! This book brings us the story of Nick and Shaya who we have gotten to know throughout the series. You have a standoffish alpha struggling with painful secrets who is determined to protect his mate and a submissive female who proves that she may not be as submissive as people may believe. What you get is an undeniable connection that has to come to fruition at some point.
Shaya Critchley is a half-shifter with a submissive role in the Phoenix Pack. After being repeatedly ignored and denied by the one person who was supposed to completely embrace and accept her, her Alpha wolf mate, Shaya has had enough and leaves her pack. Her mate may not want anything to do with her but that does not stop him from constantly interfering in her life. To put a stop to this Shaya moves away to start fresh, away from her friends and pack. Shaya left her pack completely shattered and at a loss, only thinking about the fact that she needed to put distance between herself and the cause of her pain. Shaya never expected to see her mate ever again obviously underestimating the power behind an alpha needing to claim what’s his.
Nick Axton has been hanging on to his thread-bare control in an attempt to stay away from his mate. He would love nothing more than to stake his claim but a secret degenerative brain condition has him stepping back. The last thing he wants is to put the burden of taking care of one’s mate on Shaya. Therefore, in a gallant effort to protect his mate and do what he deems best for her, Nick has stayed away from Shaya. But now Shaya has run and her pack is not willing to give him any indication as to where she is hiding. The thought of never seeing Shaya ever again has Nick rethinking everything. It also has him putting everything into finding his wayward mate.
When Nick finally finds Shaya and makes it known to her that he is now ready to claim her, Shaya is in no way trusting his intentions and willing to accept his advances. It’s too late for her and she has been too deeply wounded by his past actions. Emotional triggers from her past are too near the surface for Shaya to even consider giving Nick another chance. However, our alpha male is extremely determined and is willing to do whatever it takes to prove to Shaya that he will never abandon her again and that he is serious about claiming her. With local pack politics and a dangerous group of human extremists coming into the mix, not to mention a secondary cast of characters all hell bent on getting involved what is going on between Nick and Shaya, will Nick be able to break through Shaya’s resistant walls with his steely determination? As the reasons behind Nick’s actions come to light, can Nick heal the damage he has inflicted on Shaya’s psyche by his initial abandonment?
This book differed from its predecessors in that there was more attention paid to the emotional journey that Nick and Shaya undergo. While there is a sub-plot surrounding the human extremists and the threat that they pose, the focus was most definitely on the hoops that Nick has to jump through in order to win Shaya back. While I did not necessarily mind this, I do feel that the constant back and forth between Shaya and Nick and her incessant refusal to simply give Nick another chance no matter how hard he tried to prove himself got tiresome and soon became the same old song and dance. Yes, when Shaya finally does see the light and decides to give her relationship with Nick a chance, she does this wholeheartedly and proves herself but up until that point I did want to reach into my kindle and throttle her. Once Nick and Shaya finally do stand together as one and we begin to see how fiercely protective they are of one another and the focus then is on the imposing danger coming from the human extremists, I did begin to enjoy the story much more.
Another matter that I need to bring up is the fact that this book was not as erotic and steamy as the first two books. I have no problems admitting that when I pick up a book such as this one, I want raunchy smut. Carnal Secrets was sadly lacking in this department and that was a disappointment. Yes, Nick and Shaya did share some sizzling hot scenes but they were few and did not happen until well into the book. So, I will do something I have never done before. I will offer an author a little piece of advice. When it comes to the next book in this series, kindly provide your reading with copious amounts of sex scenes.
Mmmm...kay! Thanks Ms. Wright! *wink, wink*
All in all, Carnal Secrets was a book that I did enjoy. I am a fan of this author's writing style and venture to guess that I will always be a fan. While this book may have not lived up to my expectations in some ways, it did in others. We still get wolf pack dynamics, the sarcastic undertones always present, hilarious banter and witty dialogue that is so characteristic of this author. I have no idea what is up next when it comes to this series but I will definitely be keeping my eyes and ears open as I want more. So many amazing characters in this series need to have their stories told.
I will end by quoting one of my favorite exchanges between Nick and Shaya: