Tristan “Trip” Hagan is an out gay male in his tiny husky shifter community. He would have ordinarily been shunned, but he’s the eldest male offspring to the Alpha of his clan. He has a bright, sensitive son, Robbie, who is the next heir to the clan Alpha as Trip is not eligible and Trip’s younger brother is unable to produce any pups. Trip had bowed to his father’s insistence to marry, despite knowing he was gay, but divorced his wife when he learned that she had a true mate within their clan. Trip may be willing to sacrifice his own happiness for clan loyalty, but he won’t ask anyone else to do so. Trip also has a true mate, Boone, his half-wolf/half-husky Enforcer guard. Unfortunately, a mating between a pureblood (Trip) and a half-breed (Boone) is forbidden under clan law. So the men are close confidantes, but never take the next step—sealing their love by making a mating bond.
The story is short but well-rounded with interesting secondary characters. Boone and his brother Hunter are both in love with men they cannot have. Being half-breeds, they are a target for scorn and abuse, despite their valiant hearts. There are also some juicy bits of humor to balance out the heartache. The spiders that were too big for the burly huskie shifters to tackle? I died.
Within the story is a threat from outside the clan. Trip’s father is negotiating an alliance with the nearby wolf pack whose Alpha, Kristoff Trevyn, is indisputably attracted to Trip. Yep. Which is all kinds of awkward, especially as Trip’s dad is a raging homophobe. I really admired Kristoff; he is kind and compassionate and drives Boone bonkers.
Robbie recognizes that Trip and Boone are meant for each other, and does try to orchestrate events to cultivate that. All of Trip’s close comrades do, in fact. When the personal scrutiny of Trip and Boone gets too intense, there are only two choices: inter-clan battle, or separation. The resolution is almost excellent. The only problem becomes the main crux of the heartache that kicks off the sequel.
Note: This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’s “Love Has No Boundaries” event and is available for free through that group or All Romance eBooks.
This is the second book in the Little Bite of Love series, and it is highly recommended to read both in order as they are sequential and share characters and plot elements. Be aware this review may have spoilers for the first story.
Hunter Devin is a fierce Enforcer, a half-wolf/half-husky shifter whose once esteemed position as protector to the husky Alpha has been diminished over the past several generations. Now, he is considered little more than a glorified mutt by the pureblood leaders of his former husky clan. Living in the newly-formed Daegan clan that consists of a few powerful families, Hunter is heartsick over having left his lover, Ari Jannsen, behind.
Ari’s determined to escape his near-captivity. His mother, Skyrah, is determined to ally her family with the Alphas of Hagan clan and is glad to be rid of the half-breed cur who corrupted her precious Ari. Hunter knows if he even approaches Ari’s home he will be attacked, and his diminutive Ari may also be caught in the fray.
Here’s what I loved the most: this book has a tense plot. We have big secrets and double-crosses. We have crazed parents, and others finding their way past homophobia. We have caring and compassionate men and women. We have life-or-death battles that kept me flipping the pages. And, we have (a little) magic. The main heat of this book is told in flashback, with Hunter and Ari lamenting the loss of their clandestine love as distance and circumstance separates them. Because we begin with their separation, reading their lovestory is especially poignant.
Of course, there are skirmishes that nearly wipe out the Daegan clan and their pups. The action here is fast and furious. This is a world on the brink of war, with many players seeking to grasp the leadership of the Hagan clan—not least of which is Trip Hagan’s homophobic father. Trip, Boone, Kristoff, and Robbie are right in the thick of this book, which means that reading the series in order is really important.
I adored the blossoming romance between Ari and Hunter. They are so sweet with each other. As is usual for Cochet’s books, the emphasis is on characterization and relationships. All the players in the book are well-drawn and have unique contributions to the story. I was glad that we saw some resolution of the homophobia from the first book, and restoration of broken relationships. The end is sufficient to complete this story, while leaving the door open to another book (my money is on Kristoff finding love!) in this series.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.