Review: Chasing Thunderbird (Shifter U #2) by j. leigh bailey

A legendary love.

Ornithology professor Simon Coleman’s reputation is at risk, and the only way to save his name is to prove thunderbirds are more than creatures of Native American myth. Grad student and part-time barista Ford Whitney has a lot on his plate, but it’s also his duty to make sure the resident bird nerd doesn’t discover shape-shifters—like himself—live on campus.

When a series of incidents related to Simon’s search put him in harm’s way, Ford’s instincts kick in, and they become closer than is strictly proper for student and teacher. Ford is forced to reveal his secrets to Simon, and their relationship is put to the test—Simon must choose between salvaging his reputation and protecting the man who protected him….

Twitching is a British term used to mean "the pursuit of a previously located rare bird." In North America it is more often called chasing. – Wikipedia

Ahh yeah. We are back at Cody College aka Shifter U and it’s time to get Ford’s story.
Let me first say how much of a fan I am of the series and that I absolutely adored the first book. In my review for Stalking Buffalo Bill I said, “Now, the only thing I could hope for is for Ford to get a book because his shift is stunning, and I would love to see who could handle him.” and I sure as heck got what I asked for.

Dr. Simon Coleman has been searching for the existence of the mythical Thunderbird for years to remedy the reputation of his family but namely his grandfather. When he lands a job as a Professor of at Cody College in the biology department, he decides the Wyoming area that has recently had a sighting of what could be a thunderbird is the best place to get some more fieldwork and research done. But time is of the essence as his grandfather is sick with lung cancer and Simon would love nothing more than to clear his name before he dies.

Knowing a bit about Cody College, I loved getting to see the campus through Simon’s eyes. I really liked that Simon wasn’t a shifter in a world/town/college full of them. When he first notices all the random piles of clothing lying around campus and frat boys comfortably talking to foxes, it was adorable. With Simon being on the edge of mythology and cryptozoology for so long it was only fate that these worlds of his would collide; the myths with his academics. It brought on endearing moments and ones of awkward pleasure for me as a reader for Simon to learn that shifters have heightened senses and that well, they can smell arousal. But nothing compares to the connection Ford and Simon have.

Ford is amazing in this story. I fell hard for him in Donnie’s book as Donnie’s big bad bird BFF and how stoic and loyal he is to those he cares about. Seeing him take care of Simon time and again, even when it’s his kind on the line with Simon’s introduction to shifters, Ford is stunning.

The attraction between Ford and Simon is electric and the pun is intended. Though Simon isn’t sure about his attraction to his teaching assistant Ford, he knows that it’s not a good idea to get involved with a student and yet he wants nothing more than to spend time with Ford. When Simon is out doing research one night and gets mugged by masked men in dark vehicles who have a snake like tattoo on their arm and steal his journal, he gets freaked and has a meltdown in front of the one person he doesn’t want to see him fall apart.

From there, we get Ford doing what he does best; handling the situation and this situation just happens to be Simon. When Simon needs someone to guard his research and his body, Ford take on the task and we get some fantastic moments between the couple. Let me just say the first kiss was damn hot and with true tradition of the series led to a fun moment of teasing with Donnie that I was waiting to happen.

Now, I just had a thought as I was going to go into how great the story was, but I would have loved to get a bit of Ford’s POV. While I still covet that, I realized that it wasn't Ford's story per se. This was Simon literally chasing a thunderbird that wound up being more than he, his family or his ancestors could have imagined. The chase, the discovery and the loyalty of secrecy belongs to Simon as he falls in love with Ford. So, while it's their romance it's Simon's story.

I wanted this story from the second I met Ford in Stalking Buffalo Bill and I wanted it bad. I needed to see the one person who could break through the walls Ford Whitney built to save his family and his kind and I got it. Simon is perfect for Ford in every way and they complement each other wonderfully. That end was spectacular and swoon worthy with what Ford does for Simon. I loved their story and their romance. I am one happy and satisfied Rambling Redhead.

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