I don’t read many YA books anymore, but there are still several series and authors I just can’t ignore when new titles by them are released. The Alpha Girl series by Aileen Erin is one of them.
I trailed off when I noticed Meredith staring hard at something behind me. I quickly glanced over my shoulder. “What?”
“What’s Shannon doing with that group?” Her lips pressed into a tight, thin line. “And is that Imogene?” Meredith and I might be split on how we felt about Shannon, but we totally agreed on Imogene.
I turned back to my now-cold omelet and took a bite. “I know,” I said after a second. “Looks like they’re BFFs now.”
She scrunched up her nose as she thought. “Why is she with those guys? Shannon has nothing in common with them. She’s from the Irish pack. And Imogene? Really?” Meredith stared at them like she could glean answers off them. “Maybe if we all try reaching out to her, she’ll sit with us again.”
I’d explained what happened between Shannon and I while Meredith was sick, but she didn’t understand. For better or worse, they’d been friends since forever. Their parents were friends and they’d grown up taking vacations together. Meredith was loyal, almost to a fault, and that meant she refused to give up on Shannon. “We tried that, remember? It didn’t work.”
“I should go over. Try talking to her again.”
I nearly rolled my eyes. Meredith had tried talking to Shannon, and in her defense—Shannon was still nice to her, but it was a losing battle. Shannon would obviously rather be with her new friends than us.
Meredith started to stand up, but I grabbed her hand. “I wouldn’t—”
“I have to try.”
I let her go as I tried to think of a way to say what I needed to say without making it worse. “I don’t know. I still can’t feel anyone at that table through the pack bonds. Including Shannon.”
Meredith crossed her arms as she stared down at me. “Whatever happened between you and her, she wouldn’t do anything to harm the pack. Shannon’s not capable of that.”
I disagreed, but saying so would only hurt Meredith’s feelings. “What if she thought it would help the pack?” And what if they aren’t part of our pack anymore? I thought the words but didn’t say them aloud.
For a second, Meredith’s lower lip trembled, and I thought I’d gotten through to her, but then she shook her head. “No. I don’t believe that. Not at all.”
I kept my mouth firmly shut. If there was one person I didn’t want to piss off, it was Meredith. She’d been my friend—no questions asked—from the beginning. She’d helped me through when all I’d wanted to do was run away from St. Ailbe’s. And when I’d sucked at running and kept falling out of windows, she hadn’t made fun of me. Much. “I just don’t want you to get disappointed.”
“I—” Meredith stopped in the middle of what she was saying, and turned to the door.
It took me a second to figure out what was going on, but then Donovan came into the cafeteria, and started our way. Maybe he’d be able to reach Meredith, because I sure as hell wasn’t getting anywhere.
She laughed at something he must’ve said through their bond. “Donovan is going to keep you company while I talk to Shannon. I’ll be back in a sec.”
There wasn’t any point in trying to stop her.
Donovan took Meredith’s spot at the table. He wore sweat pants and a T-shirt and his black hair was still messy from his run. His clothes gave of the scents of cedar and grass and dirt, and it almost made me jealous.
Maybe a run would clear my mind. Help me figure out a way around these visions.
“She’s checking on Shannon, eh?” Donovan asked, bringing me back to myself.
“Yeah.” I’d already said my piece to his mate. I didn’t need to repeat myself.
He jerked his chin toward the table in question. “There’s still something off about them.”
My fork dropped to the plate with a clatter, and I glared into his glass-blue eyes. “Oh, come on. We’re not doing this.”
Donovan raised his eyebrows. “Not doing what?”
He had to be joking. “I just had this conversation with Meredith. I know how the whole mate thing works. There’s not a chance she didn’t tell you.”
He gave me a wicked grin, and I knew trouble was coming. “Aye. But what you don’t know is that I agree with you.”
“You do?” Mr. Dawson had been all—everything’s fine. Donovan hadn’t said a word. Why now?
“Yes. I do.”
“What do you know?” I leaned toward him, lowering my voice. Pesky Weres and their super-awesome hearing. “Why are their bonds missing? I thought they couldn’t leave the pack without putting in a formal bid to Mr. Dawson.”
“That’s true enough. I don’t know what’s going on, but I think you’re going to find out. If this absence of pack bond is spreading, then we need to find the cause. Just… Don’t say anything to Meredith until we’re positive. All right?”
Whoa. I didn’t keep much—if anything—from Dastien. “Do you think that’s wise?”
“Keeping my opinions from my mate?” One side of his mouth quirked up. “Not usually. But she made her side clear enough with you, and I’d rather not start an argument that won’t get us anywhere.”
Who knew? Even the great Donovan—one of the all-powerful Seven—was afraid of pissing off his mate. The idea was a little preposterous, but then again—I didn’t like upsetting Dastien either. I’d done it. But that didn’t mean I liked it. That left me with one last question. “Why can’t you keep an eye on them? You’re probably way better at this pack bonds stuff than I am.”
He raised an eyebrow. “In case you’ve forgotten, I’m not of this pack. I’m an alpha, and can use that to overpower and override the pack bonds if necessary, but this needs more finesse. An insider’s look.”
“But your mate’s in our pack.” When Dastien bit me, I’d become part of the St. Ailbe’s pack. I figured it would be the same for Donovan and Meredith and their mate bond, even if they hadn’t gone through with their bonding ceremony.
“Doesn’t work that way. I’m already the alpha of another pack.”
“So, what about Meredith? Is she still part of this pack?”
“Until she and Michael decide to let her move to mine. She’ll keep it for as long as she’s here, and I think that’s best.” He leaned forward. “I’ve heard through Michael and Meredith, but I want to know what it is you’re feelin’ from them. I’ve not experienced this before, and that’s sayin’ something to me.” His Irish accent thickened, and I finally knew that someone else was as worried about this as I was.
“I don’t know what to say except that I can’t feel them. It’s like they’re there, but they’re not.” I sighed. “It makes no sense. Which is why Mr. Dawson blew me off when I brought it up. Shouldn’t you be talking to him about this? He’s the alpha.”
“What makes you think I haven’t already?”
The tension on my shoulders relaxed. It seemed like a good sign that two alphas were really talking about the problem. “And?”
“Nothing. If they’ve withdrawn from the pack, he’s not feeling it.” He leaned in closer, speaking so quietly that even I could barely hear. “But last night, he gave that group of boys from the Canada pack a direct command and they disobeyed. I backed the command and forced their obedience, but I shouldn’t have had to. He’s their alpha. It may be that Rupert Hoel’s influence went deeper than those we’ve caught. There’s still a major player out there, and I’ve a fine idea who it might be.”
Holy shit. That was bad news. Only someone more alpha than Mr. Dawson could ignore his commands, and they weren’t more alpha. At all.
“I think you might know. It’s one who got away.”
It hit me then. They’d kicked one of the Seven out of the Council. The one who hated me. Ferdinand. “Do you really think it could be?”
“But you didn’t say anything when I brought it up before.”
“It took me longer to feel what you were getting at. I like to suss things out before actin’. Get fully aware of the situation. If you feel anything else out of the ordinary, let me know. Just be aware that if that lot wants to leave, that’s fine by me. They’re welcome to go their own way, but they need to make formal bids to Michael and they’ll have to tie to the Seven until they find their new packs. It must be done properly, or they’ll be considered lone wolves. And if they align with Ferdinand… I’d like those youngsters to avoid that if possible.”
My stomach churned, and suddenly I didn’t feel much like finishing my omelet. If the pack was breaking up, then how were we ever going to defeat Luciana? We needed to be united if we wanted to stand the slightest chance of surviving.
I’m pretty sure this is the last installment of this series. Might not be, but Erin summed everything up pretty nicely, so unless Dastien and Tessa are about to jump ahead 10 years and have cubs running around (her, Aileen – IDEA!!!, also – make it a little dirtier 😉 ) I can’t see it continuing.
Tessa and Dastien are facing the last hurdle in beating that evil wench, Luciana. She has really taken things too far. The story has some devastating moments, not to key characters, but still. Now that they know she has turned to dark magic to the point where she’s practically a demon and not a witch anymore, they have to take drastic measures to cope and eradicate her existence.
Her friends (great group of friends!) help her figure out how to get her visions back, thus make her figure out how to sleep better at night. Good thing the two are connected. Only now, her fear of losing everything she holds dear is growing exponentially – which fuels the plot beautifully.
Tessa’s cousin, Claudia, has returned from South America with her mate in tow (love those two, btw) and while their insights don’t help the bigger battle that much, there’s definitely a plus by them not being tied to Luciana anymore. This gives some extra witch power to Tessa and the wolves side.
With a rebellion from the inside brewing, they all need to figure out fast what to do, and true to the way the series started – with a bang and packed with action – that’s how it ends, although slightly anticlimactic. I was expecting a little more touch and go moments in the final showdown.
In the midst of it all Tessa and Dastien find the time to complete their mating ceremony, promising they’ll be even more united in this war and in their life together. Their subconscious communication is some of my favorite parts in the book. Just so adorable.
Alpha Unleashed stands up to the title. Tessa is fulfilling her role as Alpha of her kind, her role as pseudo-leader to the witches and her role as Dastien’s mate, and it is all done with no restraints.
The book is written wonderfully, the closure is due and is well executed. A future take of them will be awesome.
My rating: 4 stars
** Thank you Sparkle Book Tours and Aileen Erin for a copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.
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Tessa McCaide has had it up to here with supernaturals. Luciana may have failed to steal Tessa’s magic, but she’s just getting started on her crusade for magical domination. If her demonic summoning isn’t stopped, it could mean the end of everything.
Tessa’s allies, including her mate Dastien, are ready to fight, but they’re no match for Luciana’s power. A little help (and ancient Inca mojo) from Tessa’s cousin, Claudia, may give the side of good a chance if she can make it home in time, but stopping the war is no longer an option.
When witches and wolves fight, no one wins. Only time will tell who will still be standing after the last spell is cast.
Aileen Erin is half-Irish, half-Mexican and 100% nerd-from Star Wars (prequels don’t count) to Star Trek (TNG FTW), she reads Quenya and some Sindarin, and has a severe fascination with the supernatural. Aileen has a BS in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, and spends her days doing her favorite things: reading books, creating worlds, and kicking ass.