Series: Cougarville, #2
Published by Swerve on June 6, 2017
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Romance, Romantic, Shifters
Sexual Content: multiple graphic sex scenes
Reviewed by: Kristina
Samantha Becker is a busy and talented trauma surgeon with no time for nonsense. Her sister may have a special Shifter Gene, but Sammie is fairly certain she doesn’t have it, and she’s happy with her life the way it is. She doesn’t need the complicated Shifter lifestyle, and she certainly doesn’t need Liam Keller: Alpha cougar, Mayor of Cougarville and undercover billionaire. She hates him, but Liam is unable to get the curvy surgeon out of his head.
But the Shifter world isn’t ready to let Sammie go. She’s being stalked by someone who’s desperate for Shifter hormones, and Liam takes it upon himself to protect Sammie from harm. Things begin heating up between Sammie and Liam, but will they have to succumb to their inner animals in order to save Sammie’s life?
COUGAR BAIT, the second in the Cougarville series expanded on the series' complex and fascinating world with a unique take on shifters that I hadn't come across before. Interesting world-building decently paced plot aside, there were issues of consent that gave a sour tone to what would have been a pretty fun romance story.
With many shifter romances I have a slightly higher tolerance for alpha males who force themselves on women (physically and emotionally) due to the characters being part predatory animal and thus carry the traits of their animals. In COUGAR BAIT my tolerance was stretched almost to its breaking point. Liam comes of as too predatory in his behavior towards Samantha. He stalks her in a way that comes off as creepy. The things he says to her about his stalking of her and their relationship come off as creepy and controlling, not overly protective in a charming yet respectful way. During the first sex scene he essentially coerces her into sex. There is an important plot specific reason for it that makes total sense. But what he says and the way the scene is structured, I felt like Samantha was given no choice. For that matter she is given little choice in any other sex scene.
I don't want to say Samantha didn't have any agency in this story as she does handle herself pretty well at times. Her persistent shouts of not wanting anything to do with shifters or mating fall on deaf ears so many times I didn't really want her to get together with Liam in the end as I kept thinking she'd be miserable. Also, the sheer amount of times she is nearly raped and beaten or forced to do something that she has absolutely no control over did not sit well with me at all.
COUGAR BAIT has a unique shifter mythology and a solidly written plot. Unfortunately, I was put off by issues of consent and agency between Liam and Samantha and Samantha's constant state of peril that led me to not enjoy the book as much as I wanted to.Series Titles:
1. Buck NakedMore Reviews:
For shifter stories try Shelley Laurenston's Pride Series