12 Sep '11

Arc Review Black Gold – Vivian Arend

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Shaun has always been a lone wolf. Preferring not to belong to any one pack, he has always been happy to sit on the sidelines. That is, until all his pals start to mate and settle down. Now he finds himself drunk off his arse in the local Alpha Evan’s office, wishing for thing’s he never thought he would want. Gem is visiting the local area when she is frog-marched to Evan’s office for breaching pack protocol. She is supposed to announce her presence to the local pack, but the inexperienced young wolf doesn’t know better. This ecological field trip is her first steps into independence, but as soon as she step’s foot into Evan’s office, something triggers the mating instinct. At first she thinks its Evan himself, but further investigations (which really did amuse me) show that it’s not the pack Alpha that is destined to be her mate. A rather amused Evan realises that the only other person who has been in his office is Shaun, but realises that the mismatched couple should probably wait until Shaun gets sober to meet. However, when a drunken Shaun tracks her down to her hotel room later in the evening, they can’t resist their urges and jump straight into the sack. Unfortunately, Shaun is so drunk, that the next morning he doesn’t actually remember them having sex (this is not something you tell your mate!) Shaun soon realises that mating when drunk wasn’t the best plan, as the differences between the pair seem to be overwhelming. Gem is a sick of being overprotected by alpha males, and is completely set on returning to the South. Shaun has always lived on the Yukon and can’t stand the thought of leaving to move towards her. In his eyes she is his mate, she should move to him and let him take care of her. With both wolves so set in their ways and resistant to compromise, will the mating hormones alone be enough to make this fledgling relationship work? 
  
I was so excited when I heard that there was a new wolfie book coming and this didn’t disappoint! I loved the whole thing and read it from cover to cover in one sitting. Shaun may seem like a chauvinist from the paragraph above, but really, he is just clueless. When we meet him, he is bored and lonely. He wants a mate, but doesn’t hold out much hope of ever getting one. The scene in Evans office when he gets drunk on moonshine is the funniest scene in the book, I warmed to him immediately. When he meets Gem, he can’t abide the thought of losing her because of stupid differences. He is a little cave man in his ways towards her, but I honestly don’t think that he knows any better. After he realises that she will not be the one bending for him, he starts to bend for her. He starts to woo her and tries to get her to love him. Underneath it all, he still has the same protective instincts as any other dominant wolf, and occasionally that does slip out, but he really does try to make it work.
Gem was so naive that, at times, she irritated me. She turns up in the Yukon trying to free herself from her family bonds and become an independent woman. Problem was, she was so inexperienced with the ways outside her pack, I couldn’t see how this was going to happen. She also was quite intolerant of other people. I couldn’t see anything in her future but a return to her estate. After she hooked up with Shaun, I hoped she would become something more. I admired that she stood up for herself against Shaun’s over bearing nature; I could tell that neither of them would be happy if she proved to be weak. However, I felt that, at first, she was too unwilling to bend and that Shaun was making all of the sacrifices. Although she eventually began to bend slightly for him, I still felt that she was the more selfish one in the relationship. She did no bending that would not ultimately help her in some way. I did, however, grow to love their relationship when they got into some trouble in the bush. The relationship building that went on in this time was immense and I started to will for their HEA. I loved Shaun from the moment he fell off his chair in Evan’s office but I didn’t start to love Gem until their time in the bush. She let go of her prejudices about Shaun and the North and then I actually started to believe she was good enough for the lonely wolf.  Oh and the smexy times are, as per usual, hot and steamy. I don’t think I’ve read a Vivian Arend book where I haven’t had a hot flush or two whilst reading it J


There are side stories, but I won’t spoil any of them. I will say I love Evan; his struggles with the females of the pack trying to entice him were hilarious and the solution to his woes led to some other brilliant moments in the story.

Overall a lovely story of a misunderstood bad-boy (wolf), from the wrong side of the tracks, who meets an overprotected rich girl (wolf) and falls in love. Steamy and sweet complete with a whole host of colourful side characters and enough sub-plots to get your teeth into. A fab read!

Nix

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