The Sweetest Torture by Amanda Bonilla
Series: Sexy Shifter Short #1
Source: Personal shelf (online freebie)
Thirty years ago, when the sultry and headstrong Cait left Logan Paige, the Alpha cougar shapeshifter of his Montana pride, his entire world came crashing down. He couldn’t explain where he’d been the previous night or why there was a strange woman in his bed…because he had no memory of the night before. Wounded and betrayed, Cait refused to listen to Logan’s excuses and walked straight out of his life…determined to exact her revenge on the sexy cougar who had crushed her heart. With a little help from her influential father, she made sure that Logan’s business, as well as his life, crumbled into ruins. Hell hath no fury, indeed.
But now it’s thirty years later and two of Montana’s most powerful cougar prides are on the brink of war. A tenuous peace is reached, but it’s dependent on Cait and Logan marrying on All Hallow’s Eve. Spitfire Cait has her own plans of revenge…using her feminine wiles to turn Logan into a purring kitty lapping cream at her feet. And Logan has his schemes to regain control and dominate like the Alpha he is…
When they realize that the erotic passion between them is still so intense, Logan and Cait will have to decide if dwelling in the past is worth sacrificing the future…
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I’m not a huge lover of erotic romance novels/novellas, mostly because I feel like they can emphasize the sex more than the relationship. But I’m a fan of Amanda Bonilla’s Shaede Assassin books (at least the one I’ve read so far) so I thought I’d give her Sexy Shifter Shorts a try, especially when I got her newsletter announcing that The Sweetest Torture was free for a limited time. (It’s only $0.98 on (Canadian) Kobo and $0.96-$0.99 with most American e-book vendors so it’s still a deal.)
Overall, I liked The Sweetest Torture. Cait and Logan have some great chemistry and a lot of history, unfortunately mired by the fact that Cait caught Logan with another woman some 30 years ago. Turns out, it was all a manipulation but Cait doesn’t know it so she’s holding a grudge. There are some nicely tense moments between them on the way to their HEA. Of course, since this is a paranormal romance, everything is resolved by the end of the novella but I generally enjoyed the main storyline, especially since there were a couple small surprises along the way. There are some things left unexplained but not to the detriment of the love story.
What was detrimental was the lack of development about certain parts of the universe. For example, we know shifters are long-lived since it’s been 30 years since Logan and Cait have seen each other but there’s no real explanation about shifter lifestyle or biology. The reader just needs to accept that shifters live for a long time but we don’t really know too much about why or how. I know that length necessites brevity a lot of the time in novellas but I feel like there was room for a bit more development on this front. I only have a fuzzy idea of the world that Bonilla has created for her characters to inhabit and that’s a problem for me since I love me some good worldbuilding, and I know she can do it so well after reading Shaedes of Grey.
Will I try out the rest of the Sexy Shifter Shorts? Probably. They’re priced to sell and the cover copy sounds good. But I don’t think that The Sweetest Torture is a novella that I’ll be re-reading, at least not any time soon.