Title: The Protector
Author: Cooper West
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 250 Pages
At a Glance: I absolutely loved it!
Reviewed By: Lana
Blurb: Guardsmen are always matched in a bonded pair. The Protector can shift into a weredog, and the human partner is his Handler. They are incredibly rare and highly valued, but people also fear them for their mystical abilities. No Protector in living memory has outlived his Handler—until Alex Taylor.
Now a widower, Alex lives a lonely half-life and faces day after day of grief with no hope for happiness in the future. When he unexpectedly bonds with the young and vibrant Handler Marcus Stephanek, Alex is angry and unwilling to leave the memory of his former Handler behind. He pushes Marcus away and tries to distance himself from their bond. But then a mysterious villain who has been secretly shadowing Alex for years sets his plan in motion. Alex and Marcus must learn to trust their bond and love each other, or risk not only their own lives but the lives of those closest to them.
Review: The Protector is not your typical shifter story. It was something new that brought a fresh spin on shifters and I enjoyed every word of it. And you know I love my shifters!
The story is set in an alternate reality where dog shifters are common and have been around since the beginning of the human race. The shifters are known as Protectors, and their bonded mates are the Handlers. Both manifest their traits at puberty and then are nurtured and valued by society. The world building with a shifter twist, and references to our history, was very cleverly done.
Here we have two Guardsmen, as they are called: Alex Taylor, a Protector, and Marcus Stephanek, a Handler. Both are special for two very different reasons. Alex survived the murder of his Handler and bonded mate. He’s the boy that lived. Marcus, at 27, is the oldest unbound Handler and is still looking for his mate. Alex wasn’t supposed to live, and Marcus was supposed to have found his mate and settled down.
When they find themselves in close proximity to each other, Alex scents his mate and both of their worlds are tipped upside down. Scent is the most primal of senses, and with shifters it’s everything! I absolutely loved Alex and Marcus, but I have to say that at times I wanted to smack Alex for acting like an ass. Both have issues, to say the least, and see themselves as half a man because one lost his mate and one hasn’t found his yet. When they do finally break through each other’s barriers, it’s hot and heavy yet sweet and heartwarming. They are both a bit alpha but know when to give in to the other. I absolutely loved it!
The story is not only about Alex and Marcus’s mating. There is a subplot of unsolved murders, a mad scientist, a latent Protector manifestation, and another bonding. I’m not going to spoil it because this book is a must read. It was pretty ingenious and fun, and I hope this is not the end of Alex and Marcus because I want to read more about their adventures together.
You can buy The Protector here: