Archer, Emilia Hartley

Archer by [Hartley, Emilia]

When the life Archer left behind comes back to haunt him and then smacks him in the face by showing him what he could have had, what he should have protected, he gets the chance to prove what he's really made of.  And if he can have Joanna for a quick minute before he fulfills his new promises?  All the better.  The female he rejected grew up well but she's in a tough spot with her new pack and Archer is determined to fix things for her.  But to do that, he might have to make the ultimate sacrifice.

The overall development of the story was really good in this one.  The characters were more fully fleshed out, the drama was kept to a minimum of sources, relationships were complex and didn't have awkward extras, and the setup for a sequel was clear and intriguing.

Archer is summoned back to his hometown after 8 years when he was exiled for refusing to follow tradition.  His refusal was based on an arranged marriage to a pack leader's daughter and he thought himself in love with a human woman.  We don't get any details about who she was or what happened when they left home but we know it didn't last and contributed to his disbelief and mockery of love.

What he finds on his first moments home is that nothing is as it should be.  A new and dangerous pack is trying to establish themselves in the territory of the pack he left.  As he figures out what's going on with the pack that kicked him out and the pack that's trying to take over he finds home, not just the one he left behind, but the one for him, his bear, and his heart.

Joanna feels a lot of guilt.  When Archer left she felt vulnerable, weak, unwanted, and was ripe for the picking for a controlling, violent man.  Killian filled the void and quickly showed his true colors.  Since then her pack was decimated to a few members and only her feigned submission to him is keeping them safe.  They blame her for their hell of a life just as much as she does and when her many, many pleas for help to the Vancourt pack go unanswered she's resolved to doing something on her own.  But even the strongest alpha needs support and help.  Surprisingly, Archer is willing to provide.

They become closer to one another and I find that they make a really good couple.  Joanna has a few drama moments where she finds her resolve and then loses it, finds it, then loses it...those times are a bit annoying but understandable when you take into account of the years of abuse, fear, and self-sacrifice.  Archer was a big ol' martyr and thankfully there was Joanna there to see his intentions and create a situation where they could help one another achieve what they would fail to do on their own.  The way the alpha situation was handled was really good.  I was happy with the outcome because it was right for the characters.

Aside from what I felt was a lack of groveling, there was a ton of heat and passion between Joanna and Archer.  In addition to their chemistry they begin a great foundation for something deeper and lasting, a place where their love can flourish with time and attention.  I'm also looking forward to seeing them in the periphery of Cohen and Gage's stories.  I really hope that the intimations for more from these brothers in subsequent stories isn't just a dirty tease because I've gotten a bit attached and a lot interested in them.

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 Archer, Emilia Hartley

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