Reviewed by Donna
TITLE: A Counselor Among Wolves
SERIES: Leader Murders: Case Two
AUTHOR: Liv Olteano
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 230 Pages
Five dead leaders, their bodies arranged in a pentagram. Treason, lies, and backstabbing. A make-believe affair that turns into a real mating.
Timothy Sands is a PBI counselor, half-fey, half-elf, with a secret crush on Herman Weiss, PBI director. As a new chapter is added to the Leader Murders, it is Weiss’s responsibility to investigate what seems an impossible-to-solve case. The other problem? Weiss is suffering from rages, and his only salvation lies in Tim’s emotional-grid-balancing skills. They only have to pretend to be a couple for Tim to use his talents, and he owes Weiss a big favor. Piece of cake, right?
The fey might be involved in the Leader Murders. Someone on the Council might be their ally, and another prominent PBI figure looks more and more suspicious as they investigate. The stakes are upped when Timothy’s father, the Fey King, threatens to leave the Council destitute if they don’t hand Timothy over to him. Weiss’s brilliant solution? Mating Timothy and forcing the Council into protecting him.
There’s only one small hitch in that plan: instead of protecting one, the Council might decide to get rid of two.
**This review contains some spoilers from the first book in the series**
“Don’t be cruel, please, not now.”
“Oh, but I am cruel,” he whispered as his hands gripped my flesh almost painfully. “I’m very, very cruel. Haven’t you heard? I’m the big, bad wolf.”
Only a character as hardcore-alpha as Herman Weiss can deliver a line like that and make it work rather than sounding horribly cheesy, however, I’m still of the opinion that someone needs to neuter that fucker and take him down a peg or two.
Weiss is the only Council sanctioned werewolf alpha, and as such he needs to be the baddest of all the badasses, but more than that he needs to appear as though he has his shit together and is in complete control. But he doesn’t, and he isn’t. It already reflected badly on him that it was his mate who was responsible for the original leader murders (from the first book), but now he’s started to go into rages that will get him put down should the Council get wind of them. There’s only one person who can help him, and luckily for Weiss, he owes Weiss a huge favor.
Tim has had a crush on Weiss from the moment the huge werewolf saved his life, but the alpha was mated to Amanda, so Tim spent years fanaticizing from afar as both men continued to work together at the PBI. Now, unexpectedly, Tim finds himself the focus of Weiss’s attention. Tim is part fey, and has the ability to keep Weiss’s rages under control so whether he likes it or not, Weiss intends to take over Tim’s life and use him to suit his purposes. Weiss’s plan is for the two men to pretend to be involved, which means Tim can be with him constantly without arousing suspicion. It has the added bonus of keeping Tim safe from the machinations of his psycho father, the leader of the Fey.
I reviewed the first book in this series when it was released and I really enjoyed it. I remember thinking at the time that Herman Weiss seemed a bit of an asshole, but much of that came from Amanda’s (his mate’s) view of him. I also remember thinking that he’d be a great main character if the author decided to give him his own book. But I kind of figured he’d be somehow redeemed and shown as simply misunderstood. Well, that’s what I get for assuming. If anything Weiss is, in my opinion, an even bigger alpha asshole than I first thought. He had an entitled and superior attitude towards everybody, except his young son, and that included Tim. I wouldn’t say I hated Weiss but I was definitely hoping something horrible would happen to him. At the very least I wanted Tim to take a firmer stand and demand some rights.
“You say you’ve had a thing for me for years,” he muttered. “Tonight you’ll prove that.”
I gulped. “By sleeping with you?”
He grinned crookedly. ”By submitting to me.”
I shivered again. “What do you mean?”
“Take. The. Clothes. Off.”
The chemistry between Weiss and Tim was off the charts. Whether it was just kissing or full on sex these two ignited the moment they touched each other. I think the mad attraction between them helped me over look my less-than-nice thoughts towards Weiss because, despite his utter douchery, it was plain to see that those men absolutely had to end up together.
As part of a continuing story arc, this book was a little light on the murder/conspiracy compared to the first book, but I guess that makes sense as the backstory is already in place. Actually I think this book created more questions rather than answered any but don’t think it’s a cliffhanger. Knowing that there will definitely be a third book more than satisfies any complaints I may have had. Could you read this as a standalone? It’s hard to say because I’ve read the first book, but I would suggest not. I think this book would make sense on its own but at the same time you’d miss a lot of stuff you’d probably prefer to know.
Lastly, Amanda. I don’t think I’ve ever had more empathy or sympathy for the “bad guy” before. At the end of the last book I felt so sorry for her and I think this book just built on that. I expected to find that she’d exaggerated the way Weiss used her and mislead her but to have Weiss confirm it and to not see that he did anything wrong. Ahhh! Did I mention yet that I don’t like that guy? I’m holding onto hope that Amanda is alive in book three because she may just be my favourite character of the series.
So, I’m a little worried that despite my rating, my rants against Weiss may have turned some potential readers off this book. I know some readers don’t like those overly dominant alpha types, and honestly, I’m usually one of them. But that’s one of the reasons this book was a stand out for me. I utterly enjoyed this book. In fact, I have serious respect for this author who kept me rooting for these men to get their HEA even while I wanted Weiss to break a few bones. I don’t think that’s ever happened before.