Wild Invitation - Nalini Singh This review also posted at A Bookish Compulsion

When I heard about this anthology I was thrilled; not only because anything Ms. Singh writes is sure to be fabulous or because I am pleasantly addicted to the Psy-Changling universe, but also because the first two stories put forth in this volume were already two I absolutely adored. So not only was I going to get two brand new stories in a series I love, but a more user-friendly (and portable) version of two stories already at home in my heart. A win in every way possible, Wild Invitation made me oh so happy as both a fan and a bibliophile with limited shelf space.

Beat of Temptation, which was originally published in the anthology An Enchanted Season, takes a step in to the past of the DarkRiver Pack, picking up just after the tragedy that scared Lucas and gives us a birds-eye view of the evolution of this dynamic group through the eyes of the then young healer Tasmsyn and her stubborn sentinel and future mate Nathan. I won’t lie, this story makes me cry every single time I read it. As much as it is fan service in giving a glimpse into the past of one of our beloved Packs and how it came to become the force it is, this is also a well written and poignantly told tale of love, growth and what it means to be together.

When I need a good cry this five-star story is one of my go-tos for the emotional release.

Stroke of Enticement, originally published in the anthology The Magic Christmas Cat, is pure fun in story format. This story takes the world of the Psy-Changeling and the DarkRiver Pack and explores the fringes, away from some of the heavier stresses and plot-points of the main story-line. Annie, a physically damaged school teacher who teaches many of the children from the DarkRiver Pack, and Zach a park ranger with a full complement of alpha-changeling traits who has finally met his mate, bring to life a relationship that sparkles while exploring the concepts of how the past can affect the future and in Ms. Singh’s genius also expands and deepens the knowledge and dynamics of this universe.

For a good time I highly suggest this five-star story.

Declaration of Courtship, one of the two new stories written for this anthology, gives us the tale of Cooper and Grace, a sentinel who takes alpha to the extreme and the submissive tech who finds the courage to tangle with the beast. I enjoyed this story for the dynamic it created, boldly painting the fact that sometimes courage and strength come in forms you would not expect. While reading about two strong leads is an enjoyable journey I felt that the trip taken by Cooper and Grace transcended mere personal strength and explored the concept of what it can mean to love and realize that it is both our strengths and our weaknesses that sometimes make us right for another.

I give this dynamic tale a fun five stars.

Texture of Intimacy expanded on Walker and Laura’s story, introduced in Kiss of Snow, and took it farther to better understand both their relationship and the overall history of the Lauren family and its integration into the SnowDancer Pack, both what they had experienced in the past and the difference from the future they fought for and gained among the wolves. I truly enjoyed reading more about Walker and Lauren, not to mention Marlee and Toby, and how they were able to take their happy ending and forge from it a strong family that knows the future may not always be easy, but that they will always be in it together. I am not sure how this story would hold-up without having read the Psy-Changeling series as it gains much of its depth from already knowing and appreciating the characters, however as an additive to the SnowDancer Pack story is did very well. I would also like to note that it is probably best read after Kiss of Snow but before Tangle of Need to gain the smoothest transition in story progression, even if it was published after ToN.

I give this story a happy four stars.