Brandt Malik is a former Bureau of Lupine Affairs agent and an Alaskan wolf who can’t shift. He had no choice about becoming an agent and his training and the drugs they gave him have made it so that he’s lost some of his lupine abilities. He and his brothers, Jaden and Connor, along with a pack of gray wolves, are on the run from the BLA, trying to make it to a rebel camp in order to find shelter from the upcoming winter. When Brandt locates a group of men, he thinks it might be the rebels, but he’s taken unawares and captured before he can really figure it out.
Zayne Sala is one of the men who takes Brandt captive, and there’s no denying the connection between the two men. While Brandt can’t trust his senses because they’ve been messed up by the drugs, Zayne can’t trust what he smells either because Brandt’s scent is off. Zayne and his alpha, Lillian, don’t believe Brandt story, and Zayne is determined to sleep with Brandt once and get the man out of his system. But when they have sex, Zayne’s instincts take over and he delivers the mating bite. Zayne lets Brandt go, intending on taking him back to his encampment so they can capture everyone with Brandt. Zayne and Lillian can see this group as nothing more than a threat.
Despite the way the rebel pack views the outsiders, they still offer them a place to stay until spring arrives. But the rebel pack doesn’t trust the men who are former BLA agents, Zayne is still refusing to fully acknowledge his bond with Brandt, and with a bounty on Jaden’s head, there are mercenaries gunning for them all. The only way they can get through any of this is if they put prejudices aside and accept what they mean to each other.
Okay, first things first, I had no idea this was the second book in the Moonstruck series until I started to read. And I was definitely feeling the lack of knowledge in the very beginning. But then the author gives us an info dump to get us caught up, and after that the story works just fine on its own. After that dump, I knew what had gone on previously and was sufficiently caught up. However, that was only one small problem in a story full of issues.
What I liked about this book was Brandt. He’s not an alpha, and therefore is not overly dominant. But he is fierce and loyal and bound and determined to protect his younger brother’s no matter what. He is honest to a fault, and has a big heart. But he’s had a lot of practice keeping his emotions inside from his time in the BLA and he doesn’t show what he feels unless he wants you to see. Out of all the characters in the book, I thought Brandt was the most well-rounded and layered, and I truly liked him and wanted him to have his happily ever after.
But other than that, the story fell flat for me. The rest of the characters were mostly two dimensional with a few moments of depth. For the most part, the plot moved quickly, but there wasn’t enough transition between scenes, nor was there enough explanation, and it felt like we were just jumping from one event to the next. The plot was occasionally bogged down with long sections of exposition that read exactly like an info dump. We had POV sections from our two MCs, but also from other characters as well, and it didn’t always work for me. There were points that didn’t make sense to me, or where the characters changed their actions and motives too fast without explanation, and it left my head reeling. The sex was, frankly, not that hot, and was repetitive and unimaginative. I don’t want to dissect everything point by point here, as there was too much that had me shaking my head.
Despite all that, I didn’t hate this book, and that was largely due to Brandt. If you’re a big fan of shifter tales, and you like the siren call of fated mates, then I can say you can put this one on your list, though you may want to start with the first. But for everyone else? I’d give it a pass.