So let me tell you a thing.
My friend Ricechex, knowing that I enjoyed (for the most part) the Cut & Run series, shamefully withheld VITAL information about a book series she thought I might like until this past week. Four days and six books later, I’ve forgiven her, but I feel I should spread the word about them.
I’m talking about the THIRDS series, by Charlie Cochet.
Now I enjoyed Cut & Run because it was awesome police drama/buddy cop stories well seasoned with SCORCHING hot sex between the two male leads, once they got their heads out of their asses. Perfect popcorn reading for people who enjoy that sort of thing. The story kind of crashed and burned (heh) towards the end of the series, but I enjoyed it a bunch while the writing was good.
I also enjoyed Lora Leigh’s Breeds series because it involved characters with animal attributes, created by humans to be super soldiers. The books told stories about their struggle to not only be considered human and deserving of Constitutional protections, but also finding love (and tons of sex) amid the struggle as each book raised new questions about what it meant to be a Breed. I can’t read this series anymore because it’s so formulaic and all the author writes about is the flipping Mating Heat and I just can’t take the sexism that only fades bit by bit with each book.
The THIRDS series, however? It takes the buddy cop/LEO team stories that I love and throws in SHAPESHIFTERS and their struggle to be accepted and finding love while also dealing with unanswered questions about being a Therian (as they’ve been called) and being a Therian in a committed relationship.
This is, quite literally, my catnip. Animal-esque people facing oppression? Check! Wanting to find someone who understands them and loves them? Check! The only threat to the animal folks being humans (ie, no vampire/shifter ETERNAL STRUGGLE)? AMAZING.
And there’s SO MUCH MORE. There’s PINING (my favorite trope). There’s the struggle to communicate. There’s the realization that characters have to get their own shit straight before committing to a relationship, or at least be working towards getting their own shit straight as they let themselves love their partners.
Are there cons to this series? Of course. It’s popcorn reading. Some of the funny moments are clearly absurd, as the antics of some of these characters border on teenage shenanigans. Many plot points are telegraphed to the point of IF I FIGURED THIS OUT ALREADY HOW COME THE COPS DIDN’T GET IT. But the whole Human/Therian conflict and team dynamics and tough guys with painful pasts who are TRYING TO WORK IT OUT and stumbling hard along the way and hot, steamy sexin’ with no repetitive phrases that leaped out at me (SAVE ME from Lora Leigh’s twisting/contracting wombs) and compelling storylines even if they’re the kind you can figure out. I love it. I can’t wait for the next book in July.