I haven't read about very many (if any) lion shifters before. Wolves, snow leopards, bobcats, bears...but not lions.
Josie Barret, the local vet, is used to the paranormal. She has, after all, grown up in Stone Creek, Oregon, where 70 percent of the population is "Other". But she's unprepared for the events that follow having the town's sheriff, Eli Pace, show up at her clinic door carrying an injured Lupine.
Eli Pace, a lion shifter, is startled by how quickly the attraction for the pretty veterinarian hits him after bringing an injured wolf to her door. Despite living in the same town for three years, their paths hadn't crossed in any meaningful way. But as soon as they do...*wham*.
This is solid romantic suspense with a paranormal slant. I loved every single character here. And was often surprised into laughing a time or two by Warren's writing. It's that clever.
He grinned. "Well, I'm glad to know I rate higher than a sick Pekingese, anyway"
"Oh much. First of all, unlike most Pekingese, you're not a mouth breather and that kind of thing always counts with me."
I found the choice of a lion as Eli's Other form inspired. The imagery is already there: bravery, loyalty, ferocity, power. Lions already have those associations, and they seem appropriate for the kind of person Eli is: strong, brave, solid.
I really enjoyed the verbal spats between Eli and Josie, also. Although Eli is clearly an Alpha personality, Josie pushes back when she thinks he's being too dictatorial or arrogant. She's a competent, trained professional and it shows in their interaction.
The suspense part of the novel does not overwhelm the novel, but it does take center stage every so often. It revolves around an viral outbreak affecting the normally immune shifter population. It turns normally placid Others into rabid animals, locked in their Other forms. It's part mystery, part suspense as the vet and the sheriff try to find out just what is happening to the town's residents and search for a way to stop it. The author does not tie everything up in the end and that may bug a few readers. Personally, I just assume that they continue to deal with the problem off screen.
This book is solid from beginning to end. I really enjoyed it.