Guest Review: Inhabiting the Night by Carolina Valdez

LAPD Detective Trent Edwards’ twin brother disappears without a trace. While on medical leave for a work injury, Trent hunts for him, renting a house in the mountains near the only reported sighting of his twin. Martin Longhouse, who owns the local fitness center, takes Trent under his wing and introduces him to townspeople who might have seen the missing man. Soon, their attraction to each other flares into lust, and they come together in hot, passionate encounters that quickly settle into something deeper.

But Trent doesn’t know Martin has a secret, nor does he know exactly who lives in Little Grizzly Lake. Or who--and what--inhabits the woods at night.

When the secrets unravel, Trent discovers his rational cop’s mind has a choice--let go of his love for Martin, or open himself up to other realities, other possibilities for his life.

Note: This book was previously released by another publisher

Reviewer: Shee Reader

The story opens with a white tiger prowling the forest, seeing a man being attacked by a gang. He interviews and saves the man from more beating and a certain rape. Not sure what to do next, he drags and carries the unconscious man back to his den, changing back into his man and putting the beaten man in his bed to sleep and heal.

Hoda is a rare white tiger shifter who lives in a quiet mountain town along with a clan of bear shifters and vampires. Trent is a cop, on leave after a nasty knife attack left him seriously injured, who’s search for his missing brother brought him to Little Grizzly Lake.

Trent becomes aware of being dragged, his pain forces him unconscious again, but not before he feels the large hairy thing cuddling into him to keep him warm. The next time he wakes fully, Trent is in a bed, being watched over by a cat, and a large handsome man. Hoda keeps his true nature from Trent but offers some physical therapy at his gym, and on hearing about the missing brother, offers to aid Trent in his search.

There is an attraction between the men that is physical, but also a connection with more depth. Trent is entranced, but knows he must search for his brother, then return to work as a city cop many miles away.

There was plenty of intrigue and mystery in the story, but for me, there were too many loose ends. Trent made seemed to have some grasp of supernaturals, but freaked out at the idea of bear or tiger shifters. The reader never gets the detail on how the brother came to be in the current situation, and Hoda and Trent seemed to do the insta-love thing (that I usually really enjoy) but with too little dialogue and stilted sex scenes that felt incomplete.

On the whole, I liked the writing, and I wanted to get to the end, but it wasn't totally gripping. I felt a little like there should have been more. This is a shortish story and consequently, there are gaps.
I will look out for more work by the author, maybe a full length novel next time.

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