CBR15 Bingo: In the Wild (partly set in a big, spooky wood AND featuring shifters)
This short novel, which originally was planned as a novella (but the authors just couldn’t fit all of the story into such a short format, for which their fans are grateful) is the second of the Wilmington Years stories, which could clearly also be called Kate and Curran spectacularly fail at a quiet and uneventful retirement.
In the previous story, Magic Tides, Kate has to rescue a bunch of people from a magical threat (so nothing new there), and despite her wish for anonymity becomes more noticeable in her newly adopted neighbourhood.
In this follow-up (popularly known among fans as Magic Clams, because of frequent mis-typings of the title) Kate and Curran are approached by Edward Calloway, the great-uncle of one of the people Kate recently saved. He explains that much of their family still lives in the village of Penderton, which seems to have been more or less swallowed up by the surrounding forest. The residents there can no longer leave even if they want to, without risking death. Sinister magic users come once a year to demand a human sacrifice, and this year, they’ve decided to demand a rather large number of people to allow the rest of the residents to stay safe. The residents of Penderton desperately need help and are willing to pay a lot for assistance from stronger, more powerful forces than the evil in the woods (those forces being Kate and Curran). Remaining quiet and unobtrusive would mean sending a lot of people to their deaths. Our heroic couple doesn’t need a lot more motivation than that.
In addition to this new threat nearby, Kate is also faced with the arrival of two powerful individuals who used to follow Roland, her father. Now that he is locked away in a separate realm, the men want to swear fealty to Kate, his powerful daughter, and very reluctant heir. To aid them, Kate and Curran also have a group of local shapeshifters, and of course their were-lion son, Conlan.
Full review here.