Polar bear shapeshifter Russell Tadzea is content with his rather isolated life in a small central Alaskan town. He has friends, work and a congenial, yet cautious relationship with his family.
That is until the arrival of a kindergarten teacher from the lower 48 blows Russell’s comfortable world to pieces. One whiff of Riley Jenkins’ compelling scent, and Russ is a goner.
But how can he explain all that he is to this innocent young woman? And will her own dark past interfere with their ability to turn a fated love into a happily-ever-after?
The premise of a werebear, not a werewolf, is what initially drew me to this story.
Ok, the cover played a part as well, because let’s face it, what’s not to like about a handsome shapeshifting man who can be romantic, protective and still carry off that essential element of mystery? It did not take long, however, to discover that Polar Heat was far more than a frolic with deliciously steamy, yet delightfully UN-raunchy, intimacy that kept me turning the pages and made my heart beat faster…then faster!
Older man meets younger woman; it’s a rather timeless proposition, yet the author adds twists to this traditional storyline through a fascinating blend of Native Alaskan lore and mysticism that sets the tale apart. Russell Tadzea is not merely a man; he is a 10-foot tall, 1000 pound polar bear with all the carnal urges and instincts of a beast, controlled through the strength and integrity of the man he has become through trials and customs unique to his distinctive culture. Riley is beauty and innocence personified, with a haunting history and vulnerability that is as compelling to his nature as the winter snow.
The presentation of their ever-strengthening bond is both beautiful and intriguing as the author weaves their magical story in unexpected ways. The primal animal within Russell recognizes his mate at first scent, rather than at first sight. The strength of their bond blossoms not in the cockpit of his plane or the playground of the school where she teaches, but in the realm of their dreams, as both have a unique gift of dream walking. The purity within Riley is drawn to his strength, in spite of, or perhaps because of, the physical manifestation of his age that initially worries her: his white hair, which is far more indicative of who he truly is than she could ever imagine.
And who he truly is quickly becomes as irresistible to the reader as he becomes to Riley.
I thoroughly enjoyed this atypical romance and do not hesitate to say it’s worthy of 5-Stars. Care to know more? Russell Tadzea shared some insights about himself with me, which I’ve included below to pique your interest.
Hello. For those who may not know, what is your name? Russell Tadzea
That’s an interesting name, does it have any special significance? Tadzea is a traditional name among the Den’a of Alaska, a Native people whom anthropologists call Athabascan
Where were you born and where do you now reside? I was born in a shapeshifter community, deep in the forest of Central Alaska. I can’t tell you where, sorry. When I reached puberty, I moved to a Den’a village and lived with my father until I grew up. Now I reside between the towns of Golden and Lakeville (no, you won’t find either one on the map).
What internal battles do you struggle with or what would you like to change about yourself? My internal battle is quite visceral. Being a bear shifter, the animal often tries to rise up in me. Mostly we coexist peacefully, but at times the bear tries to take over, and those are usually times when I most need him to settle down – for instance when my very shy and timid girl is around. But I wouldn’t change a thing. Not my white hair (congenital, not age) or my height, or anything. I live at peace with myself.
Do you have a personal creed you live by? I have embraced to a large extent the traditional wisdom of the Den’a. Silence, for instance, is nothing to fear. Live at peace with nature and with your own nature. Loyalty to family and responsibilities.
Wonderful Wisdom to Live by. What are you most passionate about and what do you despise most? I am most passionate about being out in nature. My bear dislikes being contained for long periods of time. My current obsession, though, is the new kindergarten teacher. The first time I caught her scent, my bear stood up and took notice. Now I can’t imagine life without her. She may be a bit young for me, but I’m not going to let that hold me back. Riley will be mine, and if those shy, flirty looks she gives me mean anything, it’s what she wants as well.
Im sure as a shifter you already know it’s always best to follow your instincts. What else should we know about you? I’m a dreamwalker. I can enter the dream state, even communicate with people there. I’m also a bit psychic.
Thats quite amazing. Im sure it comes in handy. When and where is your tale set? My story is set in Central Alaska in the present day.
Who shares in your adventure and how are they important to you? I share my adventure with Riley, the new kindergarten teacher, who I’m determined to make my mate. Also my father and brother turn up from time to time.
What is it you seek to achieve, change or create? I only seek to mate with Riley, and to keep her safe. She seems so afraid sometimes. I want to calm her fears and make her happy.
Sounds like you like to keep life simple, which is usually best. Are there anychallenges or obstacles that stand in your way of achieving this? I’m not sure. She hasn’t shared with me yet, but it clearly upsets her very much.
What Inspired you to this course of action? I can only say it was her scent. Bears scent their fated mates, and her scent told me everything I need to know.
Love at first scent, eh? What else should we know? I look forward to you joining Riley and me on our journey toward a passionate life together. We’ll do it, so long as her past doesn’t get in our way.
Polar Heat by Simone Beaudelaire
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