I enjoyed a contemporary romance by this author so I was intrigued to try a paranormal. I am so glad I did because her unique take on werewolves and the unusual story line captivated me. This was non-formulaic when it comes to my usual does of PNR and M/M romances that the change was refreshing. It does bump up against a couple of taboos for people such as ‘wolfy’ sex (which is not detailed out) and these are more brutal werewolves who kill and eat sometimes humans in that form when they are not human at all. See? Very outside the usual box. That being said, there are other fascinating bits that were part of the story background that were included without the story losing pace. The wolf hierarchy is alphas, betas and omegas. Same sex is not a problem for them and there is a dominant and submissive in play. Alphas are at the top of the chain with betas just beneath them, but omegas aren’t just below the betas. Their whole natures are different from the other two. And the alphas of the pack have to kill even if its their own parent when they come of age.
This story has three narrators and they are all three the main characters. I didn’t realize it until later why that was. I had thought this was an m/m, but its really an m/m/m romance. This is a unique menage in that two share one and not each other. One gets him as a wolf while they are both wolves and the other as a human. There is a reason for this that I won’t explain and spoil the plot. I know some will be squicked out by this, but I was fine- call me quirky.
Jaylen de Wallis blows into yet another small unmemorable town on the hunt for the alpha wolf that killed his family. He is a hunter and is dedicated to revenge, but also killing all the werewolves no matter age, gender or seeming innocence. He knows that as wolves they all have the potential to be killers. He’s trained and has the added help of a witch who has enchanted his blades and given him a concoction that allows him to distinguish the wolves from the humans. This will be the time he gets the Alpha. He can sense it. If only the cute bumbling Westley wasn’t such a big distraction. He’s attracted to the guy, but he is very strict about no commitment and Westley strikes him as the type who wants commitment. Ah well, maybe they can both scratch their itch before Jaylen must move on.
Westley is an omega wolf and is an oddity in his pack because he has broken with tradition. He refused the mating his dad selected for him and holds out for a mating that is to someone he is drawn to. Others have threatened to force mate him, but so far living in seclusion has kept him safe for now. He also has secretly found a way to stop the change process in his studies with his herbs. He remains human now even during the full moons. He’s almost ready to share his findings with the rest of the pack. It will change things for so many. No more needs to turn into mindless beasts who kill and don’t remember what they did. Westley is an omega so he is a non-aggressive wolf and he balks at the idea of killing. It is during one of his research trips to the library that he stumbles into Jaylen and feels an instant attraction. Not long after that, he learns that his Jaylen is a wolf hunter and promises to take out all the werewolves he can after he hunts down the Alpha of alphas Denton who is now wrecking havoc with his brutal plans in their pack and town.
Tom is the alpha heir and wants to mate Westley, but will not force him even though as an alpha he has the right to do so. Westley would take it badly and they’d both be miserable instead of the close ties they share now and how much they depend on each other. Westley is his shelter when the storm of being an alpha and the prospect of eventually killing his own father when his wolf nature overpowers him to take his place as the leader of the pack. Tom is startled when Westley confesses that the Hunter is his mate and that Westley needs to protect him from the powerful Alpha, Denton, who has come to town and is stirring up all the wolves into anger, restlessness and killing. Tom knows that when all’s said and done, they’re going to need Jaylen’s help getting rid of Denton and the wolves who are following him in his bloody rampage.
The plot seems pretty straight forward full of danger, attraction, friendship and passion, but somewhere past half way it takes some twists and turns that I just never saw coming. The tone of this story could have gone gritty and foreboding the whole time, but it doesn’t. Westley is the source of light. Even the bitter Jaylen can’t resist when Westley is around.
Westley offers hope for everyone and he is the catalyst for good things. He is not as strong and powerful as either Tom or Jaylen, but he still manages to get things done. Tom is a natural leader and feels responsible for everyone particularly Westley. Jaylen has been numb and set on cold-bloodedly exterminating all the werewolves for so long and is just starting to open up to new possibilities under Westley’s influence. He doesn’t ever really express regret for this out loud, but he feels it later on and has to live with what he has done. I really enjoyed the dynamics that form between these three. My only complaint about the whole story is that I wanted more of the three of them together after they got everything sorted out. It’s not lacking a denouement exactly; it was just me wanting to enjoy more time with these characters after all the dust settled.
So if you’re looking for a gritty and slightly darker m/m inter-racial ménage shifter romance that offers something a bit different from the norm, give this one a try.
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