Fox shifter Cam is from Morocco, but he is now in Washington for his arranged marriage to Jenner, an elk shifter. Cam’s feelings about his forced mating are clear as he says the life he has known is “ending.” To Cam this marriage is an obligation that must be fulfilled to honor his father and clan, although he is unhappy that his intellect and virginity have secured a higher price for him.
Cam and Jenner are opposite personalities. Cam is a virgin, whilst Jenner is sexually experienced; Jenner’s clan is liberal and Cam’s is very traditional; Jenner is fun, whilst Cam is serious. However, the real issue they have to overcome is the different way in which they perceive the mating process. The two men have clearly been raised with contrasting attitudes, including about giving each other permission to touch and be touched, by others. Jenner does not understand Cam’s traditionalist views – and from this arose the main issue that I had with Caitlin Ricci and A.J. Marcus’ story.
Obviously Jenner and Cam are expected to immediately consummate their mating and whilst Cam is keen to complete this act, Jenner feels uncomfortable about being intimate with a virgin. During this scene the extent of their different opinions fully emerges and the fact that Cam thinks it is normal for couples to have several lovers upsets Jenner. The reader clearly understands that this is a cultural divide. but it is Jenner’s reaction which made me uncomfortable for the remainder of the book:
Jenner felt like doing a lot of things that had nothing to do with having sex with Cam right then, including calling Taruk up and complaining about having such a backward mate.
Jenner bases his appraisal of Cam entirely on the views Cam expresses about their mating because they have only known each other for a few hours by this point. To me, the word “backward” is disrespectful towards Cam, Cam’s clan, and his culture. It also indicates that Jenner thinks he, and his upbringing, is in some way superior to Cam, though obviously it is not – just different.
Sealed with Honor is the first shifter book I have read in which the two mates have come from different species, but though Ricci and Marcus concentrate on developing the relationship between Cam and Jenner, I felt unable to connect with their story. In part this was due to Jenner’s arrogance, but I also would have preferred to know a little more about who the characters were before they met.
Sealed with Honor is short and the authors have set up what I feel will be the next story in the Signed, Sealed, and Delivered series with Leo and Taruk, Cam and Jenner’s best friends. However, this is not a series I will be continuing to read.