Off the Beaten Path

Author: Cari Z

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Rating: 4 stars

Buy Links: DSP & Amazon

Type: Novel

Provided by Publisher


Blurb: When Ward Johannsen’s little girl Ava shifted into a werewolf, she was taken into custody by the feds and shipped off to the nearest pack, all ties between father and daughter severed. Ward burned every bridge he had discovering her location, and then almost froze to death in the Colorado mountains tracking her new pack down. And that’s just the beginning of his struggle.

Henry Dormer is an alpha werewolf and an elite black ops soldier who failed his last mission. He returns home, hoping for some time to recuperate and help settle the pack’s newest member, a little pup named Ava who can’t shift back to her human form. Instead he meets Ward, who refuses to leave his daughter without a fight. The two men are as different as night and day, but their respect for each other strikes a spark of mutual interest that quickly grows into a flame. They might find something special together—love, passion, and even a family—if they can survive trigger-happy pack guardians, violent werewolf politics, and meddling government agencies that are just as likely to get their alpha soldiers killed as bring them home safely.


Review: Ward Johannsen showing up in Henry Dormer’s territory was the last thing Henry needed in his life. It’s a potential disaster and security threat, but Ward won’t leave until he sees his daughter Ava. Henry agrees to allow Ward to see Ava because she’s got nothing to lose. Her refusal to shift has been a serious problem. In spite of not wanting to deal with Ward, Henry can’t escape the fact Ward needs help. As an alpha Henry feels a need to help and protect him. Thankfully for everyone involved, Ava responds positively to seeing her father again. Unfortunately for Ward his desire to stay with Ava means he’ll be living with the werewolves from this point forward. It’s a little bit of a culture shock. However; things aren’t all fine and dandy. Werewolves repay the generosity of being allowed to live by having their alpha’s do covert military operations for the government. Henry’s commanding officer is getting more and more extreme with every passing day and Henry is at a breaking point.

I enjoyed this book, but some things were odd. Werewolves are functionally isolated in a reservation type area. Ostensibly for their safety. But then werewolf kids can go to college with no problems. Internet access where the werewolves live is highly restricted and regulated. But then werewolf kids can go to college. There’s either hyper segregation or there isn’t. If the kids can go to school why can’t adult werewolves go to Costco instead of waiting for a supply drop? I don’t know if I overlooked something or what.

I liked both Henry and Ward and I liked them together. Their romance was a good balance between sweet and charming, and serious pressures from outside sources that prevented these guys from being sappy. Also, I liked Ava. Too frequently kids in books feel a little off, to me. I don’t know how to explain that better. I just really liked how Ava was written.

This book is a good mix of action romance, I liked there was a mix of fast paced and slow paced scenes, and there were complex forces working against the guys. I always want a fresh take on shifters and this was a good story I’d recommend to any shifter fan.

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