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Review: “Carolina Wolf” a steamy romp in the swamp February 10, 2009

Posted by Jeannie Lin in book reviews.
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“Carolina Wolf” by Sela Carsen

Debra Henry is a librarian on a crusade to renovate the town library. As a secret descendent of Morgaine Le Fay, she has a deep-seated love for knowledge and its preservation. She’s all set to present her proposal at the town meeting where she meets gorgeous wildlife expert, Maddox Moreau. He’s there to assure everyone that the dark beast sighted in the swamp is definitely not a wolf. There are no wolves in South Carolina.

But he didn’t say anything about werewolves. Minor technicality. And there’s two kinds — the one that tries to attack Debra, demanding that she reveal her secrets, and the one that lunges out from nowhere to save her. Suddenly it’s not an injured wolf she’s cradling in her arms. It’s Maddox…a very naked and unconscious Maddox.

From the opening scene among the buzzing mosquitoes, “Carolina Wolf” promises to be a humorous romantic romp in a charming Southern setting. Sela Carsen has a wicked way with words and each clever turn of a phrase keeps you on your toes as she creates two likeable and pleasantly familiar characters. Debra is your quintessential vixen in librarian’s glasses ready to let down her hair. Maddox is your rugged outdoorsman, a Molotov cocktail of pheromones and masculinity.

But then you discover there’s much more to the story. Debra is a witch. Maddox is a werewolf. The slimy mayor who keeps on pestering Debra for a date is scheming to steal her power for his own nefarious purposes.  Carolina Wolf doesn’t stop there. This is no surface homage to the supernatural. The story evolves in layer after layer, building an in-depth folklore of its own that mixes Arthurian legend and Wiccan mythology with refreshing new elements.

Debra and Maddox take us from moments of claw-biting danger, to primal attraction, to mesmerizing magical lore. All the while, they’re not forgetting to laugh. And you can’t help but laugh with them. The love scenes had me breathing hard with excitement, then, with a clever twist, the story would catch me off guard and I found myself giggling out loud. Yet the comedy never pulled me away from the story. It enhanced the growing intimacy between Debra and Maddox and reminded me of those achingly “real” moments in a relationship when your guard is completely down.

“Carolina Wolf” brings it all home; giving a taste of peril and the euphoria of a great romance. A deliciously fun read on so many levels.

CAROLINA WOLF
By Sela Carsen
Samhain Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60504-374-6

“Carolina Wolf” the Tickle Me Fantasy anthology. The print release is scheduled for November 2009.