Synopsis: Evin KinKaid, in line to be the next alpha of his wolf shifter pack, is banished by his father for refusing to mate with the she-wolf chosen to cement a family and pack alliance. While living in exile, he takes a tumble with Mason Thorne III, a gay human travelling through town who is just as alienated from his powerful human family as Evin is from his pack. Stranded in Evin’s town for the weekend, Mason takes advantage of Evin’s sizzling and sensuous hospitality. The wolf shifter enjoys the rough and tumble with his guest, being careful not to let his secrets slip or to bite (and therefore potentially turn) his hot and (mostly) accommodating guest. When Evin’s twin sister arrives with dire news, the wolf shifter and his new beau must make some quick decisions that will greatly affect their families at the risk to their own lives.
Review: The character and plot ideas were fairly interesting and intriguing, and some of the intimate connections had decent sizzle, but overall the heat seemed better executed than the relationship or story. The initial attraction of the pair moved very, very quickly to an extremely deep connection, in a manner similar to an “instant mate” trope without the benefit of that plot device. Still, the story and relationship elements that were present were enticing, and the physical intimacy was rather heated.
Overall it was a nice, explicit (romantic erotica) male/male shifter novella with enough glimpses of story and relationship elements to make the sexual intimacy a bit more compelling. This is a quick, erotic and somewhat romantic read that sizzles a bit in itself, but is also a set-up for an additional erotic short story with these two characters, as well as follow-on novellas broadening out to other relationships (including a bisexual male/female menage).
Specific Critiques (with Spoilers):
The general plot points are interesting, bringing up some wolfpack dynamics and shifter issues that are very intriguing, but only explored in the briefest manner, basically building a relatively slight story frame on which to hang the sex scenes. For example, the pair go from an initial, happenstance meeting (and sex) to seeming to be totally comfortable living with each other in just two days. This (almost) instant love was so overwhelming the fact that his father was likely to die very soon slipped Evin’s mind as well as the mortal peril now faced by his new partner. Basically, major plot developments were often breezed through in a few sentences, hence I classify this as more erotica than romance.
The focus of the book for me was clearly the intimate sizzle, accounting for about 1/4 of the novella. The heat takes on a variety of themes, with the first scene slipping easily into a very top/bottom dynamic, followed by more back-and-forth physical confrontation between the pair, before devolving into a deeper, more primal interaction.
The first two installments (this novella and a follow-up short story) center on a male/male couple, while the third installment is a novella regarding a male/male/female potential menage, and a fourth novel focuses on a new male/male couple. There is a loose story connecting the first three installments, while the fourth is set in the same pack but has a new story.