Title: Almost Paradise
Author: Caitlin Ricci
Cover Artist: Lee Tiffin
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Genre: paranormal, shifter
Length: 17,300 words
will do anything to keep his daughter safe, now that he finally has
custody. Financially ruined, he cannot even afford food for himself most
days. Could a stranger’s offer to dogsit be the solution Travis has
been hoping for?
Travis has done everything to keep his daughter
safe. He's fought a long, hard battle with the courts to gain full
custody and has finally found some breathing room. But that security
comes at a heavy price.
Staying in a motel and living off his
quickly dwindling savings is no way to raise a toddler, so when Liam
steps into his life and offers him hundreds of dollars just to watch his
dogs for a weekend, it almost seems too good to be true.
he finds out there is more to Liam than he ever thought, he has a hard
decision to make. Can he and his daughter stay and be safe or will he
need to leave?
both adored this story and was frustrated, as an assortment of
interesting plot points got rushed treatment. I would have gladly
followed along for a slower ride. Even so, I was charmed.
who is introduced as both dominant but not the supreme alpha of his
shifter group, starts out by taking his enormous, half-grown dogs on a
shopping expedition for trinkets and clothing. He encounters Travis,
who’s there to beg a job, any job, if it will just pay something he can
use to feed his toddler daughter Hannah. Totally the center of Travis’
world, keeping Hannah has cost him his home and his prosperity, and he
knows down to his bones that his baby girl is worth it. But it’s costing
him meals to keep her fed.
Little scene stealer that she is,
Hannah interrupts her father’s pitch for work, wanting to touch Liam’s
giant dogs. The animals adore her, and her cheerful shouts of “Puppy!”
punctuate the rest of the book. All her loving daddy’s goodnight stories
bear strange fruit—she’s distressingly accurate about puppies.
happen dizzyingly fast after that—what starts as a simple offer of a
much needed meal becomes an offer to dogsit while Liam takes care of
Shifter business—Travis is understandingly spooked by the instant trust,
a hint of charity, and maybe an exchange of favors, and if he wasn’t
desperate he’d be backing away quickly. Even if Liam is so damned hot.
has been fighting for Hannah since her birth—the mother is a promise
breaking horror, and the relationship between her and Travis has been
messy, although what each wanted from the other was never clear and has
changed with time. She’s persistent, with a hint of strangeness. Travis
had a child with her, but he’s never explored his true desires—a single
kiss from Liam wakes more in him than he’s comfortable with.
story resolves several elements in a very open-ended fashion; the story
is marked the first of a series and there’s all sorts of issues to
explore in more depth. I’m intrigued enough to read more in spite of a
couple of eye-rollers like the incredible shape-shifting clothing. The
structure of the shifter group has story potential, especially since a
few other characters are introduced in depth but don’t play direct roles
in the plot arc here, which would annoy me more if they weren’t so
clearly sequel bait.
Hannah and the dogs get a little more depth
than do Travis and Liam—there’s chemistry there that we don’t see
consummated, but Liam is smitten with both of them—his dreams of a
family are fingertip-close, if he could just gentle Travis into
accepting what’s crackling between them. Liam’s frustration is one of
my favorite aspects—he can dominate dogs and people into obeying his
demands, but any application of pressure on Travis and he’ll be gone
like smoke, Hannah with him.
The sexual tension between Liam and
Travis could be cut with a knife and is not exactly resolved. I wish
certain elements had received deeper treatment and that certain issues
of trust hadn’t been whipped past so quickly, but this beginning has a
lot of promise. 3 marbles