Southern summers are indifferent to the trials of young love. – Nicholas Sparks
Why possums? Well, as I hear tell it, this story was born the night Eden Winters had a possum encounter of her very own, and lo and behold, Seth McDaniel and Dustin Livingston were conceived. Their story begins when they’re just little boys and maybe already feeling what would later be called love but at the time was the simple, deep and unmistakable bond between the best of friends. Until that bond was broken by the death of Seth’s parents in a tragic automobile accident, as well as a grandmother whose bitterness over her daughter’s choice in husbands led her to snatch Seth away from the only home and family he’d ever known, to sequester him away in Chicago, isolating him and leading him to believe he was unloved and unwanted.
Twenty years later, one boyfriend lighter, his beloved Auntie Irene having shifted for the last time, Seth returns to Possum Kingdom, Georgia as the sole heir to her estate, what amounts to a rather substantial estate, as well as the inherited leadership role of the shifter clan—as long as he can be convinced to fulfill his legacy and assume the role of Jack to the passel. There are a few fairly substantial obstructions to that fulfillment, however: Seth has no idea he’s carrying the latent shifter virus, has no clue that he’s the heir apparent to the possum throne, nor does he have the slightest inkling that his ancestors were what amount to possum royalty. Upon Seth’s return, his role is being temporarily filled by none other than Dustin himself, Seth’s first love and the boy he left behind with a longing backward glance but little more. Twenty years of no letters, no phone calls, nothing that would lead Seth to believe Dustin ever cared about him at all. Or so he thought until his grandmother’s manipulation is exposed.
Naked Tails is a sweet and sometimes downright laugh-out-loud romance, touched by just the teeniest bit of bittersweet before the happy making ensues. The town of Possum Kingdom is populated by some seriously wonderful residents, including my favorite female character in quite a while, Monica Sims, the six-foot-tall, pull-no-punches, half-breed possum goddess who gets Seth whipped into fighting shape to claim his destiny before the greasy Junior Timmerman can usurp him and turn the town and the entire shifter world on its ear.
This is a story of a man who is finally given the gift of a home and family, even though he didn’t know for sure that’s what he wanted. It’s the story of a man who is given the gift of a past in which he was loved so well, even though that gift hurts to be received too late for him to return it in kind. It’s the story of a man who accidentally becomes a furry, cricket eating, naked tailed marsupial, and becomes the King of his own destiny.
I can pretty much guarantee a passel of human possums—or possum humans—is an all out original in the wide world of shifter romances. These critters were really just a passel of fun.