BITTEN by Kelley Armstrong
BITTEN is the first book in Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series. With the introduction of Elena Michaels, Clayton and Jeremy Danvers and the Pack, Kelley uses first person narration, in most of her Otherworld storylines, to let the reader into the minds of the characters. Elena is the principle narrator for BITTEN, but through descriptive narration, we can feel the pain and emotion that each characters experiences throughout the storyline.
Elena Michaels is a bitten werewolf, and werewolf lore specifically notes, there are NO female wolves, yet Elena is the only made female wolf in existence. Turned by a bite from her werewolf lover Clayton Danvers, Elena spirals out of control and eventually, after years of fighting and warring with her mate, Elena moves to Toronto, to start a new life away from the Pack. When a rogue mutt (werewolf not belonging to any pack) starts a killing spree, Elena and the others are called back to Stonehaven, home of the Pack leader and Alpha Jeremy Danvers, and his enforcer (and adopted son) Clayton. Not ready to face either man, Elena tries to ignore Jeremy's phone calls, but truth be told, Elena must return, as she is Pack. Leaving behind a confused fiancé, and a heavy heart, Elena heads back to Stonehaven and the only man, who will ever, truly know and love, the real Elena Michaels-Clayton Danvers.
With so much history between Elena and Clay, the other Pack members, and best friends to Clay and Jeremy, Nicolas and his father, Antonio Sorrentino, are left in the precarious position of watching from the sidelines as tension mounts. Not wanting to continue her relationship with Clay, Elena tries to avoid all confrontation with her mate. But like wolves in the wild, there is only one true mate for each werewolf, and with Elena, the only known female werewolf, there is much rivalry from 'outside' wolves, in other areas and packs. Elena must continuously fend off advances from other males, and potential life-threatening situations because of her position in the Pack. But when fellow pack-members Peter Myers, and close friend Logan Jonsen are murdered, Elena makes it her goal to seek justice and retribution, regardless of the directive of the Alpha.
There is much speculation surrounding Logan and Peter's murders, and different names are mentioned, including former and wannabe Pack members. But when more bodies start to appear on the Stonehaven property, Jeremy and the Pack must go hunting. Karl Marsten, Zachary Cain, Daniel Santos and Jimmy Koenig are a few names suggested as potential suspects, but it isn't until Elena is forced to move back to Toronto, for her own safety, do the names and suspects begin to add up. Much to her dismay and disappointment, Clay is sent to Toronto as protection for Elena, but she sees Clayton's form of protection, as interference. When she returns to her apartment after a day at work, she finds her fiancé injured and Clay missing. Her only clue-- is the wedding band Clay has worn for over 10 years (a symbol of his fidelity to Elena), left behind with a note, demanding Elena in exchange for Clayton. The scent belonged to Daniel Santos.
When Elena arranges a meeting with Daniel, she is surprised when wannabe pack wolf, Karl Marsten is present. Not knowing Karl's true motives, Elena is curious as to his involvement with the former Pack member Daniel Santos. Unbeknownst to the Pack, Elena offers herself up, in exchange for a severely injured and drugged Clayton-only to realize, she wasn't the true target. Daniel was seeking revenge for his father's death at the hands of Clayton, and was using Karl Marsten as a means to an end.
Following Daniel's death, and Clayton's subsequent release, Elena is compelled to return to Stonehaven to aid in Clay's recovery. But it doesn't take anyone long to realize, that Elena is still and always has been, in love with her mate. When she returns to Toronto, Clay follows, fearing she has left him for good. A chance meeting between Clay and Elena, on the sidewalk outside of her Toronto apartment, reveals the reality of the situation. Elena had returned to say goodbye to her ex-fiance, and was heading back to Stonehaven to start a new life with Clay and the Pack.
I love this series. I have looked forward to every new release of Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series. With her many novellas and anthologies, Kelley has revealed plenty of background information and delved into the lives of the werewolves and other supernatural beings throughout her Otherworld series. I was especially thrilled with her Men of the Otherworld collection of short stories, as well as her Tales of the Otherworld. Both of these books were contain 'prequels' to the current storyline, and by way of flashbacks and flash-forwards, the story arcs came full circle. Most of the reader's questions are answered.