Author: Dana Marie Bell
Page Count: 114 pages (pdf format)
Genre: paranormal romance
Copy for review provided by Veronica at Strictly Reviews in exchange for an honest review.
50 words or less: Max Cannon is an optometrist/Alpha of the puma shifters who's finally ready to settle down. He falls hard and fast for Emma Carter, who's grown up in a big way in the years he's been away. But will she want to be with him when she realizes just what that will involve?
The Wallflower is a great story for when you've had a blah sort of day or when work or kids or family or whatnot are stressing you out. It's short (114 pages is generous as there are a boodle of excerpts of other books that add to the page length), spicy, and sets up the next installment in the series nicely.
Emma Carter is a career wallflower, so naturally she and her best friend Becky name their antiques shop precisely that. While's been focused on running her business and making it successful, Emma's grown up into a confident, sassy, beautiful woman, a fact that doesn't go unnoticed by Max Cannon, who moves back to town after an extended absence. Max lays eyes on Emma and immediately decides that he's been a moron when it comes to her; instead of being forgettable, Emma shows Max that his search for a mate is over and all he has to do is convince her that his feelings are genuine.
Because of the length of the story, the relationship develops at a breakneck pace; I about had whiplash during their dinner date and how quickly they went from "nice to see you again, you're looking well" to "ZOMG be with me forever!" There's a cute subplot where we find out that Emma's best friend Becky and Max's beta Simon secretly think each other are just the best thing ever; matchmaking ensues and the stage is set for the next story. The matchmaking served as the vehicle for Max and Emma to really bond as a couple and worked well as a story element. They certainly do a lot of bonding as a couple, too- hence the Scandalous Books note.
This isn't a perfect story- it suffers a little bit from an abundance of telling and less showing than I would have liked. For example, Max tells Emma all about how he became Alpha and how this was a huge ordeal and how he and Simon completed it while they were still human which was unusual, and how people are changed from human to puma changeling and all that, and I felt like those were elements that were important and deserved more attention than a pre-nookie info dump could give them. The other characters didn't really get a lot of attention, either, although that may be because of the length and the fact that many of them get entire stories to themselves eventually. This isn't a big deal, just a heads up to people who want a lot of details about secondary characters or a lot of world building.
Overall, though, this was a great start to a series that definitely made me want to read the rest. Emma and Max are hilarious together (Emma especially is snarky and flip and a girl after my own heart.) Lucky for me, there are a bunch of titles already available!
Overall Grade: B+