Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
Max Appleton is the son of Portland Maine’s most notorious alpha — notorious for his drinking and for being a terrible alpha. Max and his mom escape with their lives at great risk. Alphas would rather a dead family over one that deserts them and the pack, but the hope that the benefits will outweigh the risks is all they have. Although Max is thrilled to be out from under his father’s abusive thumb, he still fears the new pack and how they will react to their arrival. Throw in the fact that he is small and gay and you have a recipe for disaster.
Jonah Spellman is the son of Max’s new pack alpha, next in line for the role. He is not bulky and muscular like his dad and is bugged at school by some of the older pack members. Jonah stops by to welcome the new pack members and is struck by the most incredible smell, and yet he can’t figure out what it is. Seemingly impossible but apparently true, Jonah and Max are soulbonded: born at the same time, sharing a soul, destined to be together.
Jonah has a mate, Zoe, and yet all Jonah wants is Max. Max won’t be the other man and decides to branch out and put some distance between him and Jonah. Nether is happy but there is no alternative considering the level of attraction they feel for each other. Being apart is painful. Their appetites have diminished and they are miserable and pining for the other.
Zoe is angry at the bromance and lashes out while Max’s father shows up and threatens Max’s mom, Celia, hellbent on reclaiming his mate. Can their new pack deal with Jonah and Max’s relationship, Zoe’s vindictiveness, and the imminent threat from Max’s father and former pack?
As I read I wondered, how Jonah and Max’s parents could not notice or do anything when their boys, for all intents and purposes, were falling apart? During the two months Max stayed as far away from Jonah as possible, their appearance and scent indicating something big was going on, and yet nothing was done to understand or support these two great young men. As a result, I found myself rather disappointed in the werewolf mythology.
The freedom given to the pack teens was interesting. Beer, pot, and inattentive parenting seems to be the norm. To me, this version of a pack leaves both the the pack and individuals isolated, weak, and vulnerable. There is also a lot of pressure on two sixteen year-olds, especially Jonah, who is an Alpha wolf and in charge of his own “sub-pack.” It’s like he feels he needs to deal with everything himself when the reality is that he should be going to his alpha, who happens to be his father.
The strain of needing Max and having to keep their relationship as “just friends” is physically and emotionally painful, and I kept thinking that this is the type of situation that could lead to suicide. I actually found the struggle for control, understanding, and relief between Jonah and Max to be very well addressed in the book. As a word of warning, although this is a YA title, there is some sex, both openly discussed between the pack members, but also between our boys where we are privy to sweet, tender lovemaking, filled with caring and an obvious connection between Jonah and Max.
The overall story was good, and taking into account how the pack dynamic frustrated me at times, I would still recommend Loveblood to you werewolf fans if for no other reason than Jonah and Max and the soulbond concept, which was really cool and somewhat unique to me.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.