In Gentleman Takes a Chance (Shifter Book 2) by Sarah A. Hoyt, newly established owners of The George come up against other shifters who have come to investigate the deaths from the end of book one, Draw One in the Dark.
Kyrie and Tom know that they have a long road ahead of them, and that's just counting the everyday things – their not-quite-intimate relationship, their makeover of The George, and generally establishing themselves in a new town. In Gentleman Takes a Chance” the new couple get a chance the blossom in these roles, if they can keep busybodies from either blowing their cover or killing them. Oh, and if Tom can keep from breaking any more bathrooms in dragon form.
In book one, we met the Great Sky Dragon and the triad he controls. Gentleman Takes a Chance expands upon this while adding other ancient shifters who also think they have a say in Kyrie and Tom's lives. These ancient shifters claim that they care about the deaths Kyrie and Tom and their friends have caused, but they arrive conspicuously after the fact and do quite a poor job of investigating in the name of their simplistic and elitist laws. Kyrie and Tom note this as they assert their own moral code and their own version of events. In this way Hoyt neatly continues a theme of responsibility and agency that goes far beyond simply owning up to a superpower like shifting. If anything, Tom and Kyrie strive to hold themselves to the same standards as other humans, which is hard to do while seemingly all-powerful elders are taking deadly swipes at you.
The denouement surprises me. After an appropriately climatic battle at the end, there comes another battle, this one more private and less blow-by-blow. Having now read the third book, I can confirm what I suspected at the end of book two, that Hoyt is setting us up for a bigger plot with bigger bad guys.
A Gentleman Takes a Chance shows a lot of character growth while still bringing the reader plenty of action. In fact, I think book 2 outshines book 1 because of its superb balance of character growth and action. Hoyt fleshes out her theme of agency quite well in this coming-of-age narrative, providing a good backbone for the book 3, Noah's Boy.
Books 1 and 2 are also available as an omnibus titled Night Shifters. Wouldn't that look amazing on your shelf?
I jumped immediately into the third book, so look out for my review of Noah's Boy.