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Book Critique – Beat of Temptation (Psy-Changeling #0.5)

For review of all books in this series: Go here.

Stars: 3 / 5

My Recommendation: An cute little novella in a series filled with Psy, Changeling and Humans, who are living together, ruled by Psy but the other two races making the playing field even. Bright shades of love and romance that cover the dark undercurrents of the primary books, making this a lighter read.

Beat of Temptation is the first novella in the long-running Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh, first published in the anthology An Enchanted Season in October of 2007 and later published as part of Wild Invitation anthology in March of 2013. The primary plot revolves around Nathan "Nate" Ryder - a DarkRiver Leopard soldier - and Tamsyn "Tammy" Mahaire - a DarkRiver Leopard Healer.

Psy-Changeling series focuses on three races living side-by-side on Earth - The icy Psy who rule the world but are facing the fall of Silence; the Changelings of varied kind with natural mental barriers to fight the unwanted entry of any Psy into their brains; and the Humans considered the weaker of the three but have decided to level the playing field. The series shows the readers to the downfall of Psy, their drawbacks, why all three races are needed for survival of each other, and above all finding mates across races thus disintegrating the walls further.

In continuing with the series that intrigued me when I picked it's spin-off, Psy-Changeling Trinity Series, here is my take on the first novella in the parent series. Nalini takes us to a time prior to when the very first book Slave To Sensation - although published after the third book - Caressed by Ice. The year being 2061 per the incidents that Nalini highlights.

Tamsyn has returned back to the DarkRiver Leopards territory in the San Francisco area after her training as a healer completes. Her heart and soul sings for Nathan "Nate" Ryder, a powerful soldier for DarkRiver Leopards, and her mate. But Nathan is afraid that Tamsyn is too young for his demands. Will Tamsyn take matter into her hands? Or will it be Nathan who finally bends his will?

The novella is definitely geared towards hot passion and soul-binding romance all through. However, Nalini shows in detail how the mating bond works between the Leopard Changelings; gives a sub-plot surrounding the Psy as well. Making it not just of passion but also of character, survival and pack dynamics.

Since the novella is set earlier than the first book, we get to see many characters in their younger versions that have already become main characters in the already published novels or will eventually become main characters in future books by Nalini in the series. The epilogue of the plot reveals quite a bit of the characters from this story, further more cementing that more plots will come soon.

A very cute novella thrown in the mix of the primary novels, without the dark undercurrents that we see in those books. Its all romance, love and family dynamics with this novella that lightens the series a bit.

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a. Nalini introduces the plot with Law 5198 which the ruling Psy Council had set in motion in 2019, that banned Psy to participate in anything related to Christmas though it was repealed in 2021.

b. Solias King, a Psy, is apparently trying to encroach into the DarkRiver territory, thinking them to be a weaker changeling pack. His aide Kinshasa, is his partner in crime as well as his son.

c. Tammy's parents are mother Sadie.

d. Shadow Walkers, a rogue pack of leopards, had attacked and in the ensuing battle Lucas had lost his parents - Shayla and Carlos.

e. Epilogue shows that Juanita mated to an outside-Pack mate soon after Nate and Tammy mated.

f. Current alpha is Lachlan; Lucas is being groomed to be Lachlan's successor; Cian is there Sentinel; Nathan Ryder being groomed to be Cian's successor; other pack members - Juanita "Nita", Dorian.

2. Sub-Plots: 

a. There are several Psy Designations that are thrown around by the author Nalini Singh. I wondered if there was a list of all of them some where. And true to that, some fan had posted about them here.

b. Psy, Changeling and Human terms:

i. Silence Protocol - Introduced first in 1969, conditions Psy to not feel any emotions so they can perform better. 

ii. Enforcement - similar to the Law Enforcement.

iii. PsyNet - Psychic Network that the Psy are connected to through minds.

iv. NetMind - the central controlling factor of PsyNet, the policeman and librarian encompassed together. It's twin is DarkMind that houses everything negative. NetMind also confirms the possibility of thousands of E-Psy alive living in incognito mode.

v. Web of Stars - the network that Sascha forms with Lucas's mind and the sentinel's minds he is connected to.

vi. Cassandra Spiral - The ultimate cascade of a Psy who was breaking from Silence and being unsuccessful.

vii. Implant Protocol or Protocol I - To condition the Psy even beyond what the Silence does, by creating a true hive mind.

viii. 18th Century Territorial Wars

ix. The Human Alliance - Human Conglomeration representing the supposed weaker species of the three.

c. Various Psy we would see as the series progresses:

i. Members of the Psy Council (a panel of Psy that ruled the world with an iron fist) - Nikita Duncan, mother of Sascha Duncan; Tatiana Rika-Smythe, youngest to become a Councilor; Marshall Hyde; Ming LeBon; Shoshanna and Henry Scott, only Psy couple on the council; Kaleb Krychek.

ii. Latham; Sione, an F-Psy from PsyClan Pacific Rose; Juniper (8yr old F-Psy); Gia Khan (an M-Psy); Silver Mercant (Kaleb's sr. personal assistant, introduced in Caressed by Ice); Lenik (Kaleb's admin assistant); Ashaya Aleine (head scientist for the Council) and her son Keenan, introduced first in Caressed by Ice.

iii. Remaining Lauren Family - Introduced first in Slave to Sensation. Walker; Sienna and Toby, their dead sister's kids; Marlee, Walker's daughter. Defectors into the SnowDancer territory. There is some attraction between Sienna and Hawke as seen from Slave to Sensation plot. Indigo, SnowDancer Lieutenant, is assigned to train Sienna in Visions of Heat. Powers for the younger Psy are expanding as series progresses.

iv. In Slave to Sensation, we see:

1) Shoshanna and Henry Scott, the Psy Council couple, are looking for some kind of markers in Sascha's family. They have concern on one of the youngest Psy male. Who is that?

2) There are at least 50 Psy serial killers according to the Psy Council's investigation. Only one is killed in that plot, will the remaining be annihilated in future plots?

v. In Visions of Heat, we see:

1) Faith NightStar's father Anthony Kyriakus is the governing force of the PsyClan NightStar- the clan of Psy that begets atleast one F-Psy in every generation. He is also the leader of a quiet revolution against the Council. She has a brother Tanique Gray and a cousin Sahara.

2) Faith's sister Marine is killed by the Psy Serial Killer. However, there are still unexplained reasons as to why she was targeted as of that plot.

3) Faith has a vision for Clay and one for Dorian. Who will Nalini pick for her next book? I was guessing Nalini would pick Clay since Dorian's vision has some time to occur. But Nalini went to SnowDancerWolves instead.

vi. With more of Kaleb Krychek we see as the series progresses, he sounds more and more like an antagonist as opposed to a protagonist. Of course we know that he is a protagonist with an agenda per the two books in the spin-off series that I already finished reading. Now I am craving for a story of Kaleb as well while I wait for Hawke's story to come out.

vii. In Caressed by Ice, we see that the Psy Council is faced with a new enemy who calls himself Ghost, who is infiltering the Psy and systematically destroying their plans. I have a distinct feeling it is Kaleb Krychek, but we have to wait and see.

viii. Kaleb runs the Moscow region and he has a vision for the square beneath his official buildings. Wonder where Nalini will bring this up again.

d. Arrow Squad - First introduced in Visions of Heat. Originally created by Zaid Adelaja century or more ago when Silence Protocol was introduced.

e. Forgotten Psy - Psy who never had linked to the PsyNet. First mentioned in Caressed by Ice further explored in this plot.

f. The various Changelings we see during the course of the series are

i. DarkRiver Leopards with their territory in San Francisco and surrounding areas.

1) Lucas Hunter is their alpha, a black panther; great-great-grandmother was a Psy. Mated to Sascha Duncan, an E-Psy. Story told in Slave to Sensation.

2) Other Leopards and pack mates we see - Kit Monaghan and Zara (a wildcat, distant cousin) - the designers and architects of he Psy-Changeling construction venture; Ria, a human mated to DarkRiver leopard; Rina Monaghan (Kit's older sister); Tara; Nico, Cory, Jason "Jase", Nicki and Sarah (juveniles); Lysa; Cian; Jamie; Desiree; Barker; Joe (owner of a bar that Changelings and Humans frequent)

3) Lucas's Sentinels (second-in commands) - Nathan "Nate" mated to Tamsyn "Tammy" their healer and have twin sons Roman and Julian; Vaughn D'Angelo (mated to Faith NightStar, an F-Psy, Story told in Visions of Heat); Clay Bennett; Mercy; Dorian, a latent leopard.

4) Seems to be Dorian and Rina have a relationship in Slave to Sensation. Will she be his mate eventually?

ii. SnowDancer Wolves with their territory in California

1) Hawke is their alpha. He has captured my interest more than the actual hero and heroines of any plot he appears in. I am sure we will see more of him in future plots, but I cant wait to read his story.

2) Other Wolves and packmates we see - Andrew "Drew" Liam Kincaid - Brenna's brother; Lara (their healer); Dalton (librarian); Tai; Lucy; Elias (a soldier); Greg; D'Arn & his human mate Sing-Lui; Ben (a wolf pup friends with Marlee); 

3) Hawke's lieutenants - Indigo; Riley (Brenna's brother); Judd Lauren (an Arrow Squad Psy, mated to Brenna Shane Kincaid. Story told in Caressed by Ice)

iii. BlackEdge Wolves with their territory in Moscow. First mentioned in Caressed by Ice.

iv. DawnSky Deer - First mentioned in Caressed by Ice.

v. PineWood Hyenas - First mentioned in Caressed by Ice.

1) Some members - Kevin; Mahal; Lou-Ann;

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