As Alpha of the Lonely River Pack, Jack Owens is responsible for keeping the peace between what's left of the human population and the wolves who have taken over since the War. All wolves are his responsibility, even the ones like Virginia Howard who don't necessarily recognize his authority. Ginny's been a thorn in Jack's side since she took over her parent's operation and established herself as one of the area's premiere ranchers. The fact that she's everything he wants in a mate makes it hard to stay away from her, but any good hunter knows how to bide his time.
Ginny fights hard to maintain her independence from men, human and werewolf alike. The humans may not like having a woman as their chief competition, but they're not the ones determined to see her submit. When a group of angry wolves try to run her out of business, she's forced to accept Jack's assistance. But in saving her ranch, Ginny runs the risk of losing something far greater--her heart.
Hazel Young is a rare commodity in town: a young, single female whose first mating is nearly upon her. She's spent the last two years fending off suitors who grow more determined by the day -- after all, there's nothing flattering in the attention of werewolves more interested in what she is than who she is, especially not when she gave her heart away to Oliver Russell years ago. But Oliver seems to feel nothing for her but fond kindness, and the time has come to choose a mate before the wolf makes the choice for her.
When Oliver happens across Hazel being pressured by a local who wants to be her first, it awakens protective instincts he thought he'd set aside with the death of his wife five years ago. With Hazel in heat and no time to get her to safety, they wind up in a fishing shack on Lonely River, waiting for her mating fever to pass. The last thing he expects is to be tempted by her inexperienced attempts at seduction.
Thomas Crawford is Lonely River's Beta, and it's high time he settled down. He's had his eye on Charlotte Daniel, the owner of the Full Moon Saloon--and independent cuss of a woman--for months, but she either hasn't noticed his gentle courting...or she's ignoring him. But when some local wolves lodge a complaint about her questionable business practices, and it's Thomas' job to investigate, even if it means the woman he wants will hate him forever.
Lottie has noticed Thomas' courting, all right, but it's a little too polite for her tastes. She wants a man with fire and sensuality, not daisies and poetry. Then he kisses her. Once she gets a glimpse of the passion burning in him, Lottie decides a slow, careful seduction isn't a bad idea at all. But she'll do it her way.
Of these three novellas, I thought Wild Card was the best. It would have been good on my part had I gone to Ms. Rogers website to get the background on this series. I assumed this was a historical paranormal (well, an erotic historical paranormal) when in fact it wasn't. [Classifying books into genres can be so confusing.] Regardless, Wild Card was the best of the bunch for me. I loved Jack's gruff exterior and Ginny's refusal to back down or take "orders". She's a woman who knows what she wants, and I absolutely adore heroines with that kind of gumption.
We're introduced to Hazel, the heroine of Calling the Bluff, in Wild Card, and her transformation from novella to novella is startling. Hazel's the cause of much trouble between werewolves and humans, you see, because she's going into her first mating heat. And the man she wants doesn't want anything to do with her! When she's in trouble, however, something inside Oliver snaps. He's surprised to find that he does indeed want Hazel.
Ante Up was the novella I thought I'd like most. Unfortunately, I never really felt a connection between Lottie and Thomas, certainly not one that had been aluded to in the two previous novellas.
Still, I've got Crux on my iPhone, and I'm anxious to see what else Ms. Rogers has to offer.