Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Gideon’s worst night ever starts out with a bang that will change his whole life.
Gideon Wells is bad luck. That’s what he’s been told. It’s the reason he was tossed out of his clan, and its the reason he has ended up stranded on this road to nowhere in a Texas desert as the temperatures climb above 100 degrees. From a birth rate that is in a spiral downward for bear shifters, to Gideon’s homosexuality, Gideon has borne the brunt of suspicions and anger from other bear shifters until he was ostracized, thrown out with no where to go. Then his dump of a car catches fire and he finds himself surrounded by scorpions..and Gideon starts to believe what he’s been told. But first he has to find a way to survive.
Coyote shifter Miller Hudson clan has disbanded. Over the years fewer and fewer of them retained the ability to shift until the present when they are shifters in name only. True there is a legend that says an Alpha coyote shifter, along with a bear shifter mate, with be the savior of the now-defunct coyote den and bring them all back to the glory they once were. But who believes in prophesies anymore? Certainly not Miller.
Until he finds Gideon half dead along a deserted road near town. Suddenly everything changes for Miller and for Gideon. But first Miller has to save him.
Off Course is the first in Bailey Bradford’s new series, Coyote’s Call, and it’s a great start to a promising new series. I liked the premise and setting immediately. The idea of a desert works beautifully when a mystical prophesy or folklore element is present. Add to that the use of coyote shifters in a natural setting and the layers forming feel fantastical and real.
Although its Gideon we meet first, I am going to temporarily push him to the back. The coyote clan that Bradford has created for this story is a marvel, complete with Native American overtones. Something is happening to all the shifters world wide, dropping birthrates just the first indication. With the coyote shifters the damage is manifested in the loss of their ability to shift into a coyote form. That hole in who they are has brought about the dissolution of the clan, another key component of the basic coyote nature. From Miller Hudson to his mother and other coyote shifters we see a close-knit group of people trying to hang on. Miller is especially strong. In fact it’s his strength of personality and outlook that takes charge of this story and Gideon in ways you are going to love. I love all the dimension and depth to this group of people. From their artwork to their philosophies, they are a fascinating clan and a perfect one to build a series around.
Then Bailey Bradford brings in Gideon Wells, the opposite of Miller and his people in every way, including pack/clan structure and society. I felt that the rigid bear clan structure was less effective than the one created for the coyotes but we also get a reduced feel for them as not a lot of information about their background is present so perhaps that’s coming. But in Gideon Wells, Bradford has a winning character, one I just adored from the moment we meet him. Gideon is bearlike in every way, big and tall without being imposing, a little soft about the tummy, his is a personality gentle, hurting, and endearing. He lacks self confidence and is clearly in need of love and a home. And of course, his senses are muted so he has no idea who is a shifter and who is human, another fun element to explore. This is a savory romance, hot and sexy, gentle and sweet. I need more of these two shifters.
With a first novel in a series, the author has to lay the ground for the other stories to come and, again, Bradford does that successfully here. There are a number of characters introduced who need their mates and HEA. And the major threads of shifter species decline and the Coyote Clan are fascinating, so I can’t wait to read the next story to see how the author develops her series theme as well as character growth that I see coming.
If you love romance, especially one with a supernatural shifter element, pick up Off Course by Bailey Bradford. I throughly enjoyed it and think you will too.
Cover Artist: Posh Gosh. I liked this cover but didn’t love it. Its dark, instead of the heat and lightness of the desert. Plus where is the coyote or bear elements? So much to work with and yet that seems to be another “wolf shifter” cover. A missed opportunity that the next cover will pick up on.
ebook, 164 pages
Expected publication: November 21st 2014 by Totally Bound (first published October 24th 2014)
seriesCoyote’s Call #1