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Romance and other things

SPOILER ALERT!

Parker's Sanctuary by Cooper West

Stalked by danger, will Parker ever find a place to call home?

Greg Lademar is an ordinary and average Army veteran who has settled down with his job as an accountant and his lingering PTSD. He lives a quiet life as a single man, alone on the former blueberry farm he bought from his parents after they retired to Orlando. When a friend who works with animal control asks him to foster Parker, a severely injured dog who has just been rescued from an abusive home, the last thing Greg expects is to be dragged into the mysterious world of the Guardsmen — the bonded pairs of humans and their weredogs, known as Protectors, who are literally the stuff of myths and legends. Greg’s life is turned upside down by unexpected events involving Parker and the strange Guardsmen pair Marcus and Alex Stephanek, but far more dangerous to him is the man who used to own Parker and holds a grudge for having “his” dog taken from him. A game of cat and mouse ensues, with more on the line than even Greg ever thought possible: his life, and the life of Parker, who has become more important to him than Greg ever imagined a rescue dog could be.

Welcome to the world of Guardsmen, bonded pairs of weredogs and their partners who live on the edges of society -- worshipped and feared in turn, sheltered as much as they are shunned, Guardsmen mates live, love, and die together.

Dear Cooper West,

I thought that I reviewed the first book in this series either here or while I was still reviewing for “Reviews by JesseWave”, but it turned out that I only reviewed it on Amazon. Because that review is a little bit more detailed than my usual amazon review I am linking it here to give the readers a brief look at what the first book was about.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R39H4UGDTT1S17/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00K4Z948K

I am torn as to whether you would need to read the first book before starting this one. Probably not, it has more detailed world-building, but I doubt you will be lost. All you need to know that in this world which is otherwise very close to ours the Guardsmen are a big deal. Those guys usually are bonded pairs of Protector and Handler. Protector is a weredog; the handler is usually human who can communicate telepathically with the protector. Together they can do amazing things. I really liked how the first book took a tongue in cheek look at some of the famous people in our history and decided that they were bonded pairs of Guardsmen. I also really appreciated what the author did with her version of mating bond in this world which does not act as a substitute for ever-lasting love.

In this book as blurb states we have Greg whose family was involved in fostering dogs for a long time and when he served in the army he served with the dog, which was killed in the line of duty. Her death seemed to be the main reason Greg ended up with PTSD. Greg also seemed unable to return to the fostering of the dogs after he came back.

He lives a quiet life and seems happy with his accounting career, but his nightmares are still bothering him from time to time. And one day his friend Marsha (once again it is in the blurb) calls him up and pretty much tells him that she is desperate and the dog they rescued is in a really bad condition and could he please foster him?  Despite his own reservations Greg decides to give fostering another try and pretty much falls for Parker. I thought gentle attention Greg gave to Parker was really sweet and some scenes of them getting to know each other (as man and dog) were funny.

Parker’s previous owner seemed pretty unhinged and soon began to stalk them. There was a specific reason why he was doing that (besides being unhinged) but this is a little bit more spoilerish than I am comfortable revealing so I will not be revealing it. Let’s just say that the guy was the main external source for the problems Parker and Greg encountered throughout the book.

I do not think that this is a spoiler that at some point in the book Parker manifests as a Protector (in other words Parker the husky shifts into a man) and that’s when Guardsmen institute’s representatives make an appearance. And who is better to make an appearance than Alex and Marcus, the main couple from the first book? I really liked how their substantial cameo was handled and by the way, maybe if you like them you will be tempted to read their book after all. I liked that they were involved in helping new potential couple and did not always know what to do either. It made sense to me.

I really liked how Parker and Greg were falling in love, they were really sweet together. But when the subject of the bond came up, I ended up being really irritated. Not at the bond itself – but at the supposed idea that it is really so hard to figure it out that two people who are falling in love and not denying it could also be bonded . It actually started early in the book – my irritation at cluelessness Greg decided to show off. See, Guardsmen are a very prominent feature of this world. Greg is a huge fan of the art about Guardsmen, while some specific things about them Institute guards as a secret, overall they are not a secret at all. Moreover, when initially Greg hears that Parker’s previous owner ranted that this was his Protector which was “promised” to him, his first question to Marsha was whether it is possible that Parker is indeed a protector, but nobody heard about newly manifested protector in the area and question seemed to die a for a while.

So even early in the book I rolled my eyes at Greg a little bit for failing to become suspicious at the dog which really REALLY loved coffee and was determined to drink it from the human cup no matter how much that human was dead set against allowing it. But okay, I guess it could be shrugged away as the dog being very smart. Some other things could not though and as I stated above, I felt like some serious smacking of both guys over the heads needed to happen over – oh we are not bonded, but we are not NOT bonded either. I still enjoyed the story enough to give the grade you see.

I also wanted to note I noticed some grammar mistakes and I usually get paranoid because often this is a sign that there are more that I missed so I went to read other reviews and at least one on Amazon called the story “riddled with grammar mistakes” so take it into consideration.

Grade: B-