Rating: 4 stars
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For years Jace Shaw has been having dreams about a dark, sexy shifter. They are hot and intense and incredibly real feeling, but Jace has no idea who or where Merek is. Jace doesn’t have time to focus on a mate anyway. His pack has been decimated and he spends his days avoiding the guys that attacked them and trying to round up any lost pack members. Now Jace has lost his mental link with his grandmother and needs to make sure she is all right, even though they have agreed to stay apart for everyone’s safety.
Merek Wahya is the new alpha of the Northwest Pack, and he has also been haunted by dreams. He knows that Jace is his mate, but he has no idea how to find him, and no man or woman in real life compares to his dream lover. One day Merek finds a wounded young man named Cory in the woods, a man with silver hair very similar to Jace’s. Merek is then shocked when Jace himself appears, looking for his grandmother who is part of Merek’s pack. It turns out Jace has a connection not only to his grandmother, but to Cory as well. They are all part of the same ancient pack that had become separated after the attacks by an evil wolf named Erikson. Cory has been beaten and abused and subject to cruel experiments for years and has just managed to escape and go for help.
Merek is thrilled to finally have his mate with him, but Jace is reluctant to finalize any kind of bonding between them when his life is still in danger. And Jace is determined to go with Cory to save his other pack members. Merek wants to protect his mate, but also knows he must help Cory and the others and there is no way Jace will be left behind. Now that Merek and Jace have finally found one another, they will have to risk their lives before they have a chance to be together.
Every once in a while I have a craving for a juicy shifter story with the fated mates and the shifter lore and all that good stuff. I know it is sort of cliche at this point, but for some reason I still love them. Scent of a Wolf was an enjoyable shifter tale, one with some unique world building aspects that I found quite interesting.
So the story starts us off with some hot and sexy dreams between Merek and Jace. These dreams are so realistic, not just sexually (where they are super hot), but also with smells and settings that are true to life. They are dreams, but feel like real interactions these men are having. Both Jace and Merek are crazy with want for the mystery men of their dreams. But while Merek is dying to find Jace, the man he knows to be his mate, Jace is more focused on finding his pack. When they finally meet, that conflict continues. Merek would love to settle into a mate bond with Jace, but Jace isn’t willing to settle down until he helps save his pack and is out of danger, so he doesn’t further risk Merek’s life.
These two are an interesting pair. Merek is the big dark alpha, a strong leader within his pack. But Jace, while not quite as big, is definitely as strong willed. He is stubborn and tough and committed to heaping his pack and unwilling to be a docile partner. I like how this plays out both in their relationship, and also in the bedroom as the smaller Jace insists on topping even though neither man traditionally bottoms. I liked both these men and enjoyed them together, though I do think their relationship development gets a bit overlooked in favor of the larger rescue plot. Both Jace and Merek feel a connection from their dreams and because they are fated mates, that gives them an instant relationship upon meeting. But as a reader, we don’t really see much of that development and so I did feel I wanted more time with them over the course of the story. Most of their interaction is a few sex scenes but we really don’t see much relationship building. I also felt like the issue of the dreams was never really addressed. These guys are having lifelike dreams with smells and sights and incredible detail about men they have never met, clearly no normal dreams. Yet we never get any explanation of how or why this is happening, or even any nod that an explanation might be needed. It is just sort of put out there and never addressed again once the men meet. Given how big a role the dream bond plays in their relationship, this felt like a big plot hole to me.
As I said, much of the focus of the story is on the larger plot of rescuing the captured wolves and the lore surrounding Jace’s pack. I really liked this part and think St. James created a unique world here with this special pack and their unusual abilities. It builds to a nice suspense plot as the wolves attempt to rescue Cory’s family who is still being held captive and we learn more about the bad guy who has taken them. We also meet some interesting side characters, including Jace’s brother Jacob, Merek’s beta Sean, and Cory’s brother Liam. I am not sure if a series is planned here, but we definitely get fodder for some future relationships, ones I would really love to see with these side characters.
So I found this story sexy and entertaining. I think there are places where things could have been developed further to really make this story shine, especially in regards to the relationship building between the two men. But overall I found this an enjoyable shifter story and I hope there is more to come in the future.