Rating: 4.25 stars
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Wolf shifter Lucius lives in the Canadian wilderness with his adopted family led by Ali the witch and two shifter “brothers.” Lucius loves his family, but doesn’t have much real interest in anyone else. He is stubborn, strong-willed, and independent and has no need for humans. So he isn’t particularly thrilled when an unexpected human houseguest appears for dinner one night, especially since Lucius finds himself having an immediate reaction to the man.
Lucius is pretty much a one night stand kind of guy. Sexual interaction is for the purposes of getting off and nothing more and he has no interest in a relationship and certainly not in a mate. He isn’t even really sure he believes in the mate stories he heard from his old pack. But he definitely gets strange feelings around the beautiful Nicu who seems to feel strongly for him as well. Nicu assures Lucius that they are spirit mates, and Nicu has been waiting his whole life for the chance for them to meet.
At first Lucius has no interest in what Nicu has to offer. He doesn’t want a relationship and certainly doesn’t want a mate. But his inner wolf is desperate for Nicu, and as they spend more time together, Lucius finds himself more and more drawn to the man. Even as he begins to accept the idea that he may want more from Nicu than a one-time hookup, he still can’t allow himself the idea of a true bond between them. But as the days go on, Nicu begins to grow weaker, and if Lucius can not be brave enough to claim his mate, he may lose him forever.
The first thing that drew me in to Lucius’ Bite was the gorgeous cover. I assumed that the cover guy was Lucius, but it is in fact Nicu, a Romani who has come to Canada to find his mate. Nicu’s grandmother has prepared him all his life for his spirit mate, and he is thrilled to finally have the opportunity to meet Lucius. Unlike traditional pack mates, spirit mates may not actually be attracted to one another, but they are connected from birth and are fated to be together. Fortunately, Nicu finds himself instantly drawn to Lucius and he is completely committed to their bonding, despite Lucius’ initial resistance. Nicu is charming and gorgeous and I totally loved him. He does lean a little over the top in terms of his instant love and flowery language. But I think it works for him. He has been raised to anticipate this mating his whole life, so his extreme commitment is understandable. And as a non-native speaker, his more formal language makes more sense. Nicu is so sweet and sexy and giving you can’t help but love him
Lucius represents the other side of the coin from Nicu. He doesn’t believe in mates and certainly not in spirit mates. He is unprepared for this man to come out of nowhere with such a certainty that they are meant to be together. Lucius doesn’t quite know what to do with all the feelings of warmth and caring Nicu stirs up, and certainly not the feelings of love. Even as part of him screams to claim Nicu and make him his own, the other part of him stubbornly refuses to accept the idea that this is the path he really wants. I found Lucius a bit harder to warm to than Nicu. His refusal to be open to a relationship just seemed so rooted in stubbornness and not much else, although I do get that Nicu’s instant love was a bit overwhelming. But Lucius comes around when it counts, and he is so caring and loving with Nicu that he definitely grew on me.
My favorite part of the story is Lucius’ makeshift family. Ali is a powerful witch who has “adopted” these guys and taken them into his home and his family. Most of them were kicked out or abandoned by their families and on their own until Ali found them in a shelter. Many guys have come and gone but Lucius and two other shifters continue to live with Ali. The four men have become a family, and for all his prickliness with outsiders, Lucius loves them dearly. I think Klein does a really nice job creating these four distinct men who are each quite interesting. And I love that we see clearly that Lucius is quite capable of love and devotion, once he can get his head out of the way of his heart. My only quibble here is that the three other men are introduced all at once at the start of the story, almost like listing the cast of characters. I felt like it just screamed “here are the sequels” and I think they could have been incorporated a lot more organically, especially since aside from Ali they were not a major part of the story. But I really liked these guys and I am super excited to see their stories in upcoming books.
My biggest issue is that the book felt a bit stuck on a loop for a while in the middle. Nicu loves and wants to be with Lucius. Lucius resists, then gives in a little. Then he pulls back for various reasons, and the process starts over again. I feel like this could have been tightened up a lot in the middle to keep things moving along a bit more and make it feel less repetitive. I also think we get a lot of telling instead of showing in this book. Partly it is due to the fact that Nicu has a lot more information than Lucius so he ends up discussing things with Ali a lot, but we did end up with a lot of “As you know, Jim…” kind of moments. We also get a lot of internal discussion from Lucius as he weighs he feelings toward Nicu. It sometimes felt like he was narrating his own thoughts, and with incredible self awareness for a guy who seems unable to handle his emotions.
Even though many things about this book fit the standard paranormal mode, I think Klein does a really nice job with this story. I loved the set up of this makeshift family that is so closely bonded together, full of really interesting characters. And I really loved Nicu and his cultural background and the interesting spin on the fated mates trope. Although there are some rough edges that could have been smoothed out, I found that I didn’t really mind as I quite enjoyed the story and got drawn into the relationship. I liked this one a lot and am really looking forward to future books in the series.
Cover review: Mmm, this one is just gorgeous! It got lots of great feedback when K-Lee did her guest post and I think the cover model is just spot on. He completely fits with Nicu and I think the cover really adds a lot to the book.