Review: Exhale by Joel Abernathy

ExhaleRating: 3.75 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel


Jack is a grieving widow. His wife, Francesca, has been murdered and the small town he lives in isn’t taking his story seriously and for a time he’s a suspect. But the town doesn’t know about Nicolae Ursache or the letter his wife kept from Nicolae all these years.

Jack now has to work with Nicolae to get his daughter, Ellie, back after she’s kidnapped and Jack’s world is turned all around. For Nicolae is a werewolf, and an alpha, and Francesca’s former mate. Jack had no idea werewolves even existed, or that his late wife was one as well.

Nicolae does not like Jack. He’s vengeful that Francesca was with Jack and their story goes back years. Nicolae is used to getting what he wants and having people do what he says, and he has no time for a human. But Nicolae has a vested interest in bringing Ellie home and the men must work together to make that happen. By work together, Nicolae intends to make Jack his and Jack may have no choice but to go along with it all in order to save Ellie. The men are reluctant to be under the same roof, but that doesn’t stop the attraction that courses through them and only becomes stronger the more time they spend together.

There is a lot going on in this story and trying to pull the entire synopsis together is better left to the book itself. The storyline here was really interesting and the author put somewhat of a unique spin on some elements of the world here. The book is told solely through Jack’s POV and we meet him shortly after his wife was murdered. Jack knew he was gay, but in a moment many years ago he was intimate with Francesca, resulting in her getting pregnant and the two of them getting married. Jack always knew there was something just a little off, but he couldn’t even begin to grasp what it all was.

While I liked the story this book was telling, my overall issue was that it was unbalanced for me. Everything is through Jack and there was not nearly enough information from the other characters to pull it all together. There is an enemies to lovers vibe going on here, but there is also a fated mates aspect as well. The relationship then just moves along as if it was meant to be without seeing the relationship building as the chemistry, attraction, and pheromones take over. Nicolae was great alpha character, but since we are not ever in his head, a lot of his motives remained a mystery and when he makes big changes, we are not invited in to his thoughts and we only see the end result.

I also needed more from the world and the story overall. After Ellie is kidnapped, she is off page. When she returns, she is a changed person and I needed to see more of that progression. There is a big world here with werewolves in Romania, and pack wars, and territory and, while the first half sets it all up for Jack to catch up and much of that was well explained, as the story progressed I kept waiting for more information that never came.

The characters were interesting, Jack’s snark kept the dialogue fun, the chemistry between the men was well done, and there were a lot of parts to this book that were good. But, while there was an ending, I felt like it was the start to a new series, but there is no indication that it would continue and that is where I hesitate on a full out recommendation.

 

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