A Billionaire Wolf for Christmas
Terry Spear continues her Billionaire Wolf series with the story of two doctors falling in love in A Billionaire Wolf for Christmas.
Grey wolf physician Dr. Aiden Denali is frustrated in his continued (and currently failing) research into the short lifespan of lupus garous, his specific breed of shapeshifting wolf. He’s so caught up in his own head that he absolutely has no time for dating, but since his brother wants him to, he’s willing to make the effort and spend Christmas with Rafe, Rafe’s family and his other, single brothers. Then he receives a phone call from the head of the Seattle pack, asking for his help in tracking down a banished member of the pack, Nick Cornwall, who’s in deep mourning for his lost mate. On a shopping trip to buy some gifts for his nephew, he stops a runaway child, is punched in the head for his troubles by the attempted kidnapper, and meets with the kid’s babysitter, a beautiful blonde with whom he’s recently become acquaintanced. She gives him some help, thanks him, and they flirt awkwardly.
Dr. Holly Johnson is working with another pack in another county, and, given she’s part of the Seattle pack, has been suggested to Aiden as having the potential to help him in the search. The territorial issues between Aiden’s pack and Holly’s are enormous; the Seattle pack and Aiden’s pack in Klamath Mountains are feuding because of previous territory skirmishes and are even willing to attack each other in public. The Seattle pack won’t let Aiden draw their blood as part of his research; he thinks having a complete genetic profile of all of the packs in the area will help him figure out the answers to his questions about the lifespan of his breed. Holly has a jealous ex, Jared, who doesn’t want her to fraternize outside of their pack either – his brother, Ronald, head of the pack, banished Nick, and is willing to do the same to Holly and separate her from her family if she keeps talking to Aiden – which naturally she keeps doing.
When Aiden heads to Glacier Peak to search out Nick, Holly follows – and in wolf form, they begin to court. Will they manage to be mated forever? Or will the forces pulling them apart be too strong to bear?
Your enjoyment of A Billionaire Wolf For Christmas will depend upon how high your tolerance for cheese is. If you like your romance a little goofy and spicy, then you’ll probably fall for it. Me, I was rather resistant to its charms.
A lot of the book’s flaws center around its poor world-building, so the weaknesses shine through pretty easily. Maybe that’s because I came into the series with the second book, but it’s hard to understand how the world of these shifters works, or why a breed of wolves with an intense healing factor would be dying off in the first place. I did like Holly’s suggestion that an omnivorous diet might extend the pack’s lives, and that their extreme healing factor might not outlast the idea of drinking cola with every single meal. The medical part of the plot is frequently ignored in favor of more family/pack fluff, only to finally come thundering in by the end of the book. The solution is as illogical and yet as simple as you think it is.
I have no idea what kind of doctor Holly is supposed to be – she knows how to suture a cut but seems to be an expert in nutrition? And she also seems to be an obstetrician of some sort? And ends up being Aiden’s research assistant and helping him solve the blood crisis? None of these fields really connect conclusively together. Otherwise there isn’t much to her – she’s brave enough and kind enough, but mostly exists to giggle and have sex with Aiden.
Aiden is a decent hero; nice guy, handsome and well-built. There’s not much to his personality either, sadly; he’s pleasant and he’s horny and a dedicated doctor.
The romance is tragically bland, and the sex unspicy. There is literally no doubt that Holly and Aiden will end up together, and there are no really compelling obstacles to keep them apart when her immediate family approves and her pack heads take too long to put up a real fight; from the first paragraph of their meeting they both have a serious case of melty-pants for one another (Holly falls in love with Aiden because he was wearing a goofy novelty sweatshirt reading Real Men Howl, for heaven’s sake!). Additionally, the author doesn’t have a real feel for wolflike behavior; when they’re in their wolf forms, they reason and act like human beings with no sense of wildness to it all. Also there’s some super, super goofy language afoot. At one point Aiden “gave her a wolfish smile” and continues to do so. Repeatedly. Until the reader is forced to giggle over it. And there are romantic moments where Aiden thinks of Holly’s blood! (Eeeww…)
There is also a LOT of bizarre patriarchal BS, like Holly’s mom and dad trying to preserve her virginity (Holly is, it’s worth noting, thirty years old) so she won’t mate with the wrong man. Holly is stuck blushing in front of Aiden, asking if he’s going to give her a room of her own because her mom and dad need to know where she’s going to sleep at one point, which is weird and gross for a thirty year old period. Along with some ‘it doesn’t count as consummation unless it’s penetrative sex’ rubbish.
The supporting characters are all right – I did like dryly sarcastic Nick and his sense of humor, and hope he’ll be a future hero in the series. Hopefully his book will be better than this one was.