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REVIEW: Off the Beaten Path – Cari Z.

Off the Beaten Path

Genre: Paranormal, Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay

Reviewer: Linda, Paranormal Romance Guild

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About The Book

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.

The Review

Ward Johannsen had a one-night stand that resulted in the birth of his daughter Ava. Not wanting any part of parenting, her mother turned all rights to Ava over to Ward, who couldn’t be happier. Ava is the light of his life, and being her father is a job he takes very seriously. He never regrets her birth, not even for a second.

At four years old, Ava is off for her first day of school – a day that would change Ward’s and Ava’s lives forever when she is taken away from him.

In school, Ava shifts into a werewolf, and by law she is immediately taken to the nearest pack to be raised. Ward was not allowed to see her, and has no idea where she is. But there’s no way he can going accept it.

With the help of a friend, he locates the pack – something that could put him in prison if the wolves don’t end his life first. There’s nothing that will keep him from his little girl. As he standd outside the pack gates freezing, he’s greeted by Samantha, the Alpha’s sister who knows who he is and that he’s Ava’s dad. Ava has not shifted back to human form and is not doing well physically – she’s not eating and is just howling. Sam is hopeful that Ward can get through to his daughter, but when her brother Henry Dormer – the Alpha – arrives, he is anything but welcoming.

Henry has just come back from a mission. something that all Alphas are required to do – to serve their country, going places and doing things normal humans can’t. Without permission from Homeland Security, Ward’s arrival and acceptance on pack land could put everyone in trouble.

Even so, Henry accepts the fact that Ward might be the only one able to encourage Ava to shift back to human, and he can’t help but be impressed with Ward, who doesn’t shy away from him or any of the other pack members. His own first visit to see Ava had ended up with him hitting the doctor in the head with a rocking chair. He can’t be next to Ava, because she has no way of controlling herself as a wolf. But when she sees her dad it is evident to everyone that she knows who he is and needs him.

Werewolves were accidentally created by the government, and are under its total control. They have no say over their lives, and unfortunately, as so often happens, those in charge rule with cruelty.

Henry works with Ward to get through to Ava, and the two men begin to have feelings for each other, but the powers that be are not going to allow such a relationship, and if Ava doesn’t shift back her life will be in danger.

I found myself getting angry at a government who tries to beat down beings who have done nothing wrong except for being different than them.

This was a beautiful story about a father who won’t give up on his little girl, no matter what stands in his way, and an Alpha who struggles between following the orders of the man who holds his life in his hands and the human who unexpectedly entered his life and may be the one to change it for the better. I’m sure you’ll love this book. Five stars.

The Reviewer

rvlindI am an avid reader the mother of 3 sons and grandmother to seven grandchildren. Since retiring I have been doing more reading while volunteering as a CASA worker. CASA is an organization that works with the family court system to ensure that children are in the best living situation. There are way too many children that get overlooked in the foster care system and I visit homes and make visits to the parents. I was born and raised in New York and my husband of 50 years and I live in Upstate New

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