#16, Shifters and Partners
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Enforcer wolf. That's Riley. A gangster took him in when he was young, and he's been loyal ever since.
It's getting harder and harder for big, soft-hearted Riley to unquestioningly follow orders...but he doesn't want to be alone without a pack. Almost anything is better than that.
What would it take for a guy like Riley to switch sides and work for the cops instead? Maybe not very much at all.
A shifters and partners novel
The true meaning of “Loyal"
Hollis Shiloh’s world of marginalized shifters and the cops they end up with is a paradigm for all the outsiders in this world who can’t help themselves because they have no bootstrap on which to pull. Just a single helping hand can make the difference between life and death, and certainly between existing and living a full and rich life. In Riley’s case, the helping hands that have been extended for most of his life, though they attract his loyalty, have never been worthy. They beat him, allow him to be abused, force him to perform against his nature, yet Riley has stayed with them because his need for a pack outweighs his need to live a life that makes him happy. That Justin, with his aggressive and active nature, is so kind to him is refreshing, but at the same time makes Riley suspicious: is Justin after something equally unsavory? Does he view Riley as a project?
I had previously read All My Broken Pieces, which takes place in the same universe and explores similar issues. In Loyal we once again return to the academy where wolf shifters are given the opportunity to match with police officers as pairs – sometimes romantic, sometimes not – to gain employment, acceptance, and, at least in Riley’s case, family; a pack. Though he is forced by circumstances to attend, his growth is directly proportionate to the support and acceptance he receives there. I loved watching him blossom, at the academy and after. I also was intrigued by the possibilities he encounters, and the final pairings are a little bit of a surprise. The depth and breadth of feelings expressed by Riley and Tomas, particularly, were spot on. Justin was a little more of a mystery, which in some ways is reasonable – the story is told from Riley’s perspective, and reads very much like a diary of his thoughts – but I wish we’d gotten a bit more of Justin’s back story. In the end, we only get a line in the epilogue, and that was a little disappointing. Still, everyone gets his happy ever after and, having fallen in love with Riley, I’m pleased that he discovers the true look and feel of loyalty. I received an ARC for my honest review of this book.