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    wolf shifters playing hockey? yes please!

    In this second story of the Grizzly Rim series (easily read as a standalone), two wolf shifters connect - first with altercations on the ice but soon enough with their hearts and souls. Dmitri is a writer looking for inspiration, his existence in northern Alaska consisting of visits with friends at the local bar, amateur hockey with the local team and the occasional one night stand to warm his increasingly lonely bed. When younger wolf Thierry gets in his face at a local game and then makes it clear he's not going to go away so easily, Dmitri is hard pressed to understand what Thierry's interest in him could possibly be, no matter that Thierry insists his dreams have led him to Alaska and Dmitri in particular. They are a mismatched pair - older cynical Dmitri and younger confused Thierry. But one thing's for certain - the attraction between them is not going to go away and might just lead them to a happy ever after. I really enjoyed this story. I loved the first one in the series (Launch The Hunt, which featured an eagle shifter, a first for me). This one has the more standard paranormal wolf shifter main characters but with a bit of a sports romance thrown into the mix, as Thierry and Dmitri meet on the ice and Thierry is a well known figure in the hockey world. There are several hockey scenes that are easy to visualize. At the same time, with both being wolf shifters, parts of the story are shown in wolf form and parts in human form with excellent worldbuilding and a northern setting that is picturesque and isolated, perfect for the animal shifters who make their home there. Dmitri's character comes across well as a single guy in his forties, good looking (though not as slim as he used to be), quiet though friendly but frustrated with his writer's block. The last thing he needs is some young pup getting in his face. Thierry definitely has the energy and attitude of a late twenty something man, confused by his need to go west and find the man who keeps showing up in his dreams. Now that he's found him, he's not quite sure what to do about it, except that the chemistry between them is too good to dismiss. As a result, they share some steamy scenes together, but are quick to both realize that there is something deeper developing between them. Thierry's Quebecois nature comes through clearly and I loved the french bits thrown in here and there which made his character feel quite authentic. There are several secondary characters in the story and some surprising family revelations that Thierry must deal with, while he sorts out whether staying with Dmitri is what he wants to do. I really liked the banter between Dmitri and his friends and the bar scenes with them give some hints about upcoming stories for other characters (all of which I'm looking forward to). It was a fast paced and enjoyable read. 4 stars.
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