Buy Link: Camwolf
Author: J.L. Merrow
Publisher: Samhain
Length: Novel

Rating: 4.25

Cambridge professor Nick Sewell has found himself obsessed with student Julian Lauder.  Something about the young man just calls to Nick, but he doesn’t dare hope Julian will have any interest in him.  Yet when he comes across Julian having a back alley encounter with another man, Nick’s instincts kick in and he can’t help but intervene, scaring off the suitor and tipping off Julian to what Nick really is… a werewolf.

Nick is shocked when Julian tells him he knows his secret.  And even more so when Julian tells Nick that he is a werewolf himself, part of his father’s pack in Germany.  Turned by a former boyfriend and abandoned, Nick had no idea that there were even other wolves in England, let alone that the object of his affection was a wolf himself.  Nick realizes that Julian is his mate, causing his possessive instincts toward Julian and his strong desire for the man.  Yet Nick is still fighting the wolf inside himself, afraid that he cannot control his inhuman side.

Although Julian is able to help Nick learn more about being a wolf, all is not easy for the couple.  While not specifically prohibited, a professor dating a student is not easy on campus.  And both Nick and Julian have personal issues that impact their relationship.  Nick is still not totally in control of his wolf side.  He had a bad experience with jealously and possessiveness with a former boyfriend, and worries that he can not control his instincts where his young lover is concerned.

Julian’s problems are even more profound.  He grew up in a violent pack with his father “giving” him to an older man for training and who turned out to be horribly abusive.  Although Julian’s mother ultimately got him to safety, Julian has physical and mental scars from the experience.  He only knows how to be submissive to an alpha and doesn’t quite know how to stand up for himself in a relationship.

Things are even more complicated by danger lurking in town.  When Julian disappears, Nick becomes a suspect.  Aided by Julian’s friend Tiffany, Nick is determined to find Julian, but that may mean opening himself up to his baser wolf instincts he has been trying to keep hidden.

I found this such and interesting and unusual werewolf story.  I loved the way the book explores the two different ways the men react to their wolf sides and how much that affects their relationship.  Nick is afraid of his inner wolf.  He has been isolated from the rest of the community and has never really learned much about himself or what it means to be a wolf.  His fear keeps leading him to make missteps in his relationship, as he inadvertently pushes Julian away in an attempt to protect the man from Nick himself.  It is only when he accepts who and what he is and that part of his nature that he is able to not only save Julian, but really begin to build a relationship with him.

On the other hand Julian’s background has lead him in the opposite direction.  He has become totally submissive, both out of a natural deference to Nick as his alpha, but even more because of his background of abuse.  He is promiscuous and doesn’t form real relationships with any of the men he meets before Nick.  He has trouble speaking up for himself, and is so deferential to Nick that they have trouble having a real partnership.  It is not until he really takes a stand for what he wants and needs that Julian is able to really find himself and move forward.

I also really loved the side characters in the story.  Julian’s best friend Tiffany is a great addition to the book. She is so much more than they typical gal pal we so often find.  Tiffany faces many of her own issues.  Aside from being in love with her gay best friend, she struggles with a lot of insecurity of her own about her looks, her background, and fitting in at school.  I loved that she is tough and strong, facing the truth about Julian with barely a flinch, and then being instrumental in helping to find him when he disappears.  I thought it was quite an interesting twist that the book includes Tiffany’s point of view in many passages, which I found really unusual for a secondary character, but I thought worked quite well.  I also really enjoyed Nick’s confidant, fellow teacher Nadia.  Again, she adds a lot to the story, and acts as a great sounding board for Nick as he works through his issues with Julian (as well as giving him a kick in the ass when needed).

I think my only issue with the story is that I wanted more of Nick and Julian together.  In the early parts of the book the men are having trouble really settling in together due to all their assorted issues.  So we know they are mates and that Nick is strongly attracted to Julian, but they are still sort of dancing around each other and the connection didn’t quite feel there between them yet for me.  So it isn’t until after Julian is found and they are able to work past their initial problems that they really seemed to fit together for me.  So I wish there had been time for a bit more relationship development between them.

Overall I really enjoyed Camwolf and felt it has a lot of depth that I really appreciated.  If you are looking for more than the usual werewolf story, I would definitely recommend it.