Rating: 4 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
For those of you who haven’t guessed, I have a small obsession with paranormal and fantasy stories. Okay, it’s probably not that small. I like pretty much anything and don’t like to limit myself to one or two genres because I would hate to miss out on all of the awesomeness of the m/m world. But if I have the choice, I’ll most likely choose the paranormal or fantasy first.
That being said, I reviewed Bayou Dreams, the first book in the Rougaroux Social Club series, a few weeks ago and I fell in love with this world. It’s southern charm, Cajun culture, and a little voodoo meets wolf shifters, pack dynamics, and mating bonds. Plus I’ve really enjoyed all of the characters introduced, major and secondary, so I am excited to continue on with this series.
Both Peter and Billy were introduced as secondary characters in the previous book. They were the two characters that I most wanted a story for, and thankfully I wasn’t disappointed.
Peter Graham is scared and alone. When he was kicked out of his birth pack two years ago, Peter used the only resources he had to get by, his looks and sexuality. But his worst mistake was in trusting his most recent lover, Darcy. After the traumatic night when Darcy invited a stranger into their bed, Peter left in search of the last person with whom he felt safe – his friend, Ted. But when Peter makes it to St. Jerome and discovers that Ted is out of town he’s disheartened, to say the least. With no money and nowhere to go, Peter finds himself at a loss.
Acting Sheriff Billy Trosclair never expected his mate to walk through the front door of the sheriff’s office battered, bruised, and running scared. The need to protect the younger man is powerful and the need to keep him close even stronger. Offering his spare room to Peter seems like the perfect idea. Knowing that Peter has been injured and is healing not only physically, but emotionally, Billy is determined not to push a mating on Peter. But keeping his hands to himself is harder than he imagined.
Peter remains confused as Billy’s attraction seems to run hot and cold when it comes to him. Peter is sure that Billy must think that, because of his past, he’s not good enough for the lawman. So Peter sets out to prove himself worthy of Billy. He finds a job and his own place to stay, much to Billy’s dismay.
Determined not to lose out on getting to know his mate and spending time with him, Billy asks Peter out on a date. Their relationship begins slowly, but the passion between them is intense. When as Peter finally accepts Billy as his mate, Peter’s world begins to crumble and he has to trust Billy to help him come out of this unharmed.
Story-wise, I liked this book better than the first. It was well paced and the characters worked well with each other instead of against each other. The plot was both sweet and exciting. The romance part of the story is charming. The mystery was a little obvious, but still entertaining. I would have liked the conflict to be less about homophobia and more about something else, anything else, really. But we don’t always get what we want.
The characters are well-written and likable. I really like Peter. He’s a broken hero. The hurt in his past ruled who he has been to this point in his life. He’s now determined to turn his life around, but he’s not sure how to do that until he meets Billy. Billy is strong and stable, a rock of sorts to more than just Peter. His alpha depends on him, as does his pack. He has great control of his emotions and his wolf, and Peter walking into his life threatens to shake that up. The relationship between Billy and Peter is kind of a tug-of-war. They fight more against themselves than they do each other, but once they find even ground they work well as a couple.
I should let you know that there is reference to date rape in this story. It’s not a graphic description of the act, just some memories and discussion of the act. One of my quibbles with this story is the lack of conclusion when it comes to the rape storyline. Who was the guy? What was Darcy’s goal in inviting him into their bed? Why did the rapist not get what he deserved? That whole storyline just died without a real ending.
I should also warn you that there are scenes where the characters have sex in their shifted forms, and a sort of iffy point of shifting during sex. It wasn’t a problem for me, but I understand that for some readers it’s not their thing.
In the end, I liked this story even more than I liked the first. So, why the lower rating? Well, the lack of conclusion to the date rape storyline was frustrating. Add that to the predictability of the mystery and I settled with a 4 star rating. Bayou’s End is a good tale that I recommend to lovers of the paranormal, the broken heroes, and the sweet love stories of meant-to-be.