Unacceptable Risks by Kaje Harper (review)

Unacceptable Risk Book Cover

Title: Unacceptable Risk
Author: Kaje Harper
Genre:  M/M Paranormal Romance
Format:  Novel (111,000 words)
Sites: Publisher | Goodreads | Amazon 
Series: Hidden Wolves #1
Publisher: MLR (Oct. 2011)
ISBN: 9781608204649

Rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5)

Tagline:  Ostracized and wounded gay werewolf falls and fights for “straight” veterinarian  

Heat: Several explicit scenes (nicely contextual to the plot)

This book has been on my Goodreads “to read” shelf longer than any other title, as I added it in 2013.  I wish I had read it sooner as, after an initially slow start, this novel turned out to have some of my favorite paranormal male/male romance themes presented with just the right balance for me. The story centers on a gay werewolf ostracized and attacked for his orientation, usually a capital offense among his kind.  The town’s young, straight veterinarian saves a bloodied and beaten wolf, and the shapeshifter befriends, falls for, and seduces the animal doctor who has his own troubled past.

I am particularly fond of wolfpack politics, human mates coming to terms with shifter culture, virginal/inexperienced men coming exploring with a new lover, and geeky-ish and awkward but intelligent protagonists.  This novel had nice doses of all of the above, and I especially appreciated the presence of a “traditional” shifter culture that provided plenty of danger while retaining a consistent, if unpleasant and dangerous  world-view.  Even many of the heroes’ potential allies were uncertain and some of the adversaries showed a bit more nuance in political pack scheming than I was expecting.

The physical sizzle was enticing but used sparingly enough to add to the plot (rather than overwhelming the story). In a very nice twist, a reciprocal surprise between the lovers was seamlessly woven into the story.  The ultimate connection between the two technically did not center on intercourse (although those scenes were delicious), but woven into whether trust and accepting one’s emotions could lead to a sudden, deep connection.

I’m looking forward to reading more by this author (who has been popular – I have some catching up to do), including the next two works in this series.

Themes:  Male/male romance, werewolves, pack politics, gay for you, virgin/first-time, mate-for life, human mate, homophobia, gay shapeshifters, wounded, geeks, Minnesota

 

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