Thursday, May 26, 2016

In the Company of Wolves (SWAT: Special Wolf Alpha Team #3) by Paige Tyler

Jayna Winston knows that she's far out of her depth.  Her alpha put her pack in debt because they didn't have enough money for food and now they have to pull off criminal jobs to pay off the debt.  As a beta, there isn't much that Jayna can do about the situation, except for to protect her fellow betas to the best of her ability against the cold hearted Omegas and mobster her alpha has gotten her pack into bed with.

It all comes to a head during a jewelry heist when the Omegas take off, leaving her to face the alpha werewolf Dallas SWAT team.  For some reason, instead of arresting her, Eric Becker hides her from the rest of the SWAT officers.  Jayna knows Eric is a cop but somehow she cannot help thinking about how he saved her and the fact that she's so attracted to him.  With everything going on, Jayna doesn't think she has time for a romance but Eric has different ideas.

For some reason, each time one of the swat finds THE ONE, they decide to withhold information from their pack.  In this case, it's particularly ridiculous and dangerous.  Because Jayna is involved with the mob, Eric goes undercover as muscle for hire and the only one who knows is his best friend Cooper.  Being a member of Swat and having the experience of having a previous undercover operation go wrong, should have been enough for Eric to show some common sense if not caution.  It's an absolute betrayal of trust but of course, after a little huffing and puffing, everything is forgiven because Jayna's THE ONE.

One of the things I really did like about In the Company of Wolves, is that Tyler made a great point of having Eric repeatedly check to see if Jayna was okay with their sexual activity. He never pushed her and allowed Jayna to set the pace of their relationship.  It's not often that consent is so explicit in this genre and I for one really appreciated it.

This the third book in the SWAT: Special Wolf Alpha Team series and it has become formulaic in terms of the romance. It's clear now that each SWAT member will meet THE ONE (though it's supposed to be a rare thing) have some small problem to overcome and then reach HEA. What made In the Company of Wolves tolerable is that Tyler added a little new information about her wolves. It's clear, not even the Alphas know all of the ways in which werewolves manifest or what potential powers they many have.  Tyler introduced the concept of Omega wolves (wolves who have control issues and don't do pack life well) and Beta wolves (wolves who are not as strong as Alphas but bond extremely well with other wolves.)

Because In the Company of Wolves involved mobsters, there was a lot more action than previous books.  It was fine up until the last fight scene which absolutely ended my ability to suspend belief. Yes, Eric is a werewolf which means that he can take a lot of punishment; however, having him shot several times and then stabbed and still somehow managing to get up and keep fighting was ridiculous.

The writing continues to be purple nonsense in this series.
But as much as he’d enjoyed racing Jayna, he’d liked the benefits that came with it even more—the view of her ass in those curve-hugging jeans and the pheromones coming off her incredible body. In fact, he was having a hard time figuring out which one of those things had come closest to making him nearly pass out. (pg 56)
Yeah, I think that someone might need to go to the doctor if seeing an ass is enough to make one lose consciousness.  It's a wonder that he doesn't pass out just going for a leisurely walk when he sees a woman in hot pants.

Then there's this:
And then there was his cock. She hadn’t been with a lot of guys, so she hadn’t seen a lot, but she had a feeling Eric’s was special, which was fitting, she supposed, since he was a very special werewolf. (pg 114)
So what exactly makes Eric's junk so special? It's just nonsense.  And you'll note that this means that Jayna is gently used, thus making her character a complete trope. Not only is she gently used, Jayna she has a tragic backstory as well.  We cannot possibly have a female love interest without a dead parent, (check her father's dead) and tragedy ( her step-father tried to rape her) and of course little experience with men: check check check.

This series continues to be incredibly erased.  We're three books in and yet there isn't a single LGBT character.  It's ridiculous, especially given that this series is set in Dallas of all places.  People of colour really didn't fare any better. The only two swat members of colour are Mike Taylor and Jayden Brooks and while we can reasonably assume that they were present because they are members of the swat team, they weren't even mentioned by name. Tyler did introduce Moe Jenkins, who's a beta wolf in Jayna's pack but he is completely a blank canvass, with no character development and far from essential to this story. If anything, Moe felt like he was tossed in to avoid charges of erasure.  So, once again, we have a story set in Dallas and the majority of the characters are White and all of them are straight, cisgendered and hyper able.  It's not only problematic, it's an insult to the senses.

Although In the Company of Wolves is the third book in the series, it isn't necessary to have read the other two books to follow the story.  The actions scenes when not ridiculous added an interesting element to the story and helped keep the pace moving.  I know that paranormal romance always uses some form of woo woo to escalate the pace that the characters fall in love but the romance between Jayna and Eric just seemed to be filled with hot air.  These two don't even know the first thing about each other.  In this case, holding together a romance with woo woo just wasn't enough.  While In the Company of Wolves had it's moments, I highly suggest borrowing this book rather than buying it.  It's absolutely the book to read while lounging on the beach and then quickly forgotten.