Review: Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing – Charlie Adhara
by Charlie Adhara
Series: Big Bad Wolf #4
Also in this series: The Wolf at the Door, Thrown to the Wolves, The Wolf at Bay
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: March 2, 2020
Genres: Romance, Mystery
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Agent Cooper Dayton and his partner, Oliver Park, are going undercover—at a retreat for couples who need counselling. They do say the best cover story is one that’s close to the truth…
Agent Cooper Dayton is almost relieved to get a phone call from his former boss at the Bureau of Special Investigations. It means a temporary reprieve from tensions created by house hunting with Oliver Park, his partner both in work and in life. Living together in a forever home is exactly what Cooper wants. He’s just not keen on working out the details.
With a former alpha werewolf missing, Cooper and Park are loaned to the BSI to conduct the search at a secluded mountain retreat. The agents will travel to the resort undercover…as a couple in need of counseling.
The resort is picturesque, the grounds are stunning and the staff members are all suspicious as hell.
With a long list of suspects and danger lurking around every cabin, Cooper should be focusing on the case. But he’s always been anxious about the power dynamics in his relationship with Park, and participating in the couples’ activities at the retreat brings it all to the surface. A storm is brewing, though, and Cooper and Park must rush to solve the case before the weather turns. Or before any more guests—or the agents themselves—end up dead.
Look, I cannot express in words how much I love Cooper and Park. From reluctant partners to is-this-a-relationship to living together, it’s been quite the journey, and now we’ve reached the next step – relationship counseling! If you haven’t read anything in the Big Bad Wolf series yet, please go read them – and beware, spoilers for the first three books ahead!
“Why us?” he said, flustered.
“Because I need someone I can trust in there. Someone I know is more concerned with finding the truth than upsetting the Park pack or inter-bureau politics. Someone who isn’t afraid to step on some toes. Frankly, Dayton, I don’t know anyone less concerned with pissing off people and wolves alike.”
“Careful, all this flattery is going straight to my head,” Cooper said dryly. “But I suppose I can consider choking down a mojito in the sun. For justice, of course.”
A personal request by a past boss – and a heaping serving of guilt – lead Cooper and Park to go undercover to investigate a disappearance at Maudit Falls, a relationship retreat, run by werewolves and for werewolves. So, yes, just like the last book, this is another house party-esque mystery, but the characters are very different. Rather than Park’s family, though, it’s several couples, mostly werewolves but a few mixed partnerships like Cooper and Park. They’re not even through the front door when they start to realize that something is not quite right at the resort.
“Just so you know, it wasn’t your AQ that first drew me to you. It’s the way no one has ever made me laugh like you do. When I’m with you, I don’t feel trapped at all. I feel lighter, stronger. For the first time in my life, I feel free.”
One of the things that came up in the last book is the Alpha Quotient, AQ, which somehow measures how “alpha” a werewolf is. Not much about it was explained, but we did get the tidbit that Coop is more alpha than Park (?!?!?) and that Park considers Cooper the alpha of their little pack of two (insert crying-hearteyes-emoji here). Turns out, AQ is one of the core components of this place’s counseling, so many of my lingering questions were answered. There’s also more background info on packs and how they’re emotionally necessary to werewolves, which naturally leads to a particularly lovely scene where Cooper tries to right the – perceived – inequality of Park being forced to stay in a relationship with him because he’s his alpha. So, yes, more Cooper being the adorkable porcupine we’ve come to know and love. And, naturally, being Cooper, the state of his relationship with Park is always at the front of his mind. From trying to find a bigger place to live (and dealing with his discomfort with Park’s seeming penchant for chandeliers) to pieces of their past they haven’t shared with each other (more of Park’s history as the Shepherd and Cooper’s undercover work for the FBI), Cooper is struggling to figure out what he wants from their relationship. And again, being Cooper, he can’t just come out and say that, so instead he worries and turns things over in his head.
“I care so much I couldn’t stop even if I wanted to. I wouldn’t know how.”
Park rolled them over and kissed Cooper tenderly. “I love you.”
“Oh yeah,” Cooper sighed. “That, too. Always that, too.”
Since the story is told solely from Cooper’s point of view, we’re up close and personal with a lot of Cooper’s worries. Cooper’s inner monologue – this sort of “I’m a mess” – is very familiar to me, but it doesn’t stop him from loving Park or, you know, actually solving the mystery. It’s one of my favorite parts of this series, especially when, after marinating in all of those worries, he finally shares them with Park and gets his befuddled response. I say this every time, but these books perfectly meld feels-inducing romance with ridiculously steamy scenes, and I always finish them with a giant smile and a full heart.
“How often do any of us get into serious physical trouble like that?”
Every four months or so, Cooper thought.”
Overall, this is another knock-it-out-of-the-park entry in the Big Bad Wolf series, and I’m beyond overjoyed to know that another book is already planned, especially as the book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. I simply cannot recommend this books enough. If you love paranormal mysteries that are full of all the feels and steamy scenes, you will love this book!