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Love Bites: (Bitten, Book 4) Kindle Edition
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Love Bites is the fourth instalment in C.C. Wood's Bitten series and the spotlight has now swung to Calder and Ricki. From the first glimpse of Calder in Once Bitten, Twice Shy, I knew I had a soft spot for this fun-loving, flirtatious, cocky werewolf. The buildup to Ricki and Calder has been a work in progress. While their initial hook-up was the basis for the novella, One Little Bite, their push and pull dynamic provided an additional side story in Bewitched, Bothered, and Bitten. Love Bites offers the reader alternating POV's to certain events that took place in BBB and then continues forward.
Calder Atwood is the beta for the MacIntire pack. He really is a carefree, easygoing guy. That is, until he gets anywhere within scenting distance of Ricki Wylde and then his possessive, dominating nature takes over. She's his mate, he's marked her, should be a done deal, right? Not when your mate is of the independent human female variety who doesn't take kindly to being unknowingly marked to begin with. Calder and Ricki are similar to lighter fluid and gasoline in a confined space, the combination is explosive which transitions extremely well to the bedroom but not so much to their day-to-day life. Strong-willed and stubborn, the more single-minded Calder is in his pursuit, the harder Ricki pushes back. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of time to woo, Cornelius and the Faction have gone to ground after their last attack and it's only a matter of time before they regroup. We are no closer to understanding the Prophecy of Five. The Council, coven and pack are still recovering from the blows they were dealt in the last assault, and they have no new insight on their enemies. Add to the fact that all their significant others are targets for the Faction and you are left with a werewolf that will do just about anything to keep his mate safe, propriety be damned.
Ricki has trust issues, Calder needs to learn compromise, and dissent is building in the pack over their alliance with the vampires and shifters. As Ricki struggles to acclimate herself with her new way of life, Calder is trying to hold his pack together while his alpha is out of commission. Nothing comes easy to this couple but through all the chaos, Ricki's development is considerable, gradually transitioning from a runner with trust issues into a self-confident, strong woman who recognizes her own strength and weaknesses. Ricki was always feisty and independent but she really comes into her own when she lets go of all her self-doubt and opens herself up to trust. For all of Calder's good intentions, his words and in some instances, his complete disregard for communication, continues to land him in hot water. Human females are a mystery to Calder but he's patient and he pays attention and eventually, he learns that his actions far outweigh his words when it comes to kicking down the fortress that protects Ricki's heart.
The series continues to revolve around the five best friends and their significant others even as new friendships are formed, secrets are exposed and, if we learned anything in BBB, it's that traitors are everywhere. I consider this series paranormal-lite without the detailed world building that can sometimes weigh down a story, which essentially makes each book a standalone that you could easily pick up. C.C. does a great job providing just enough back story that a first-time reader to the series wouldn't be lost, although I still recommend you start from the beginning. Up next, sweet little Shannon with her unexplained stealth has been keeping her badassery on the down low and just because she can, C.C. leaves you with a little nugget at the very end that will have you demanding more!
Overall, it is a solid series. Each book has its own character and plot development, as well as a few twists. Then, when take as a whole, the series does a good job at maintaining consistency with the overall theme.
The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because the women in the books are just a touch too abrasive to their men. Donna, in the first book, was the worst in that regard. And that gets better as time goes on. However, if these men weren't compelled by unnatural forces to be with these women, it would be dump central. Because no guy in his right mind would stay with a woman who was so very difficult right off the bat.
Overall, though, the dialogue evolves from rude to witty and pithy as the author moves through the series.
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