When Gabe Ryan was 16, he turned into a werewolf and had no choice but to leave his family and his boyfriend behind. Forbidden to have any contact with them, Gabe let them think he was dead. But as his 30th birthday looms, Gabe is drawn home again and a fight with a werewolf assassin leaves him injured. Losing blood, Gabe has no choice but to go to the ER. There he comes face to face with his teenage boyfriend, Ethan Dunn, who happens to be a doctor.
Ethan is understandably pissed at seeing Gabe again, since he’d thought the man he loved was dead. And he’s in no mood to forgive Gabe, even knowing he turned into a werewolf. But Gabe can’t let Ethan go now that they’ve found each other again. And to prove that Ethan can trust him, Gabe submits to Ethan in the bedroom. Though their chemistry is as explosive as ever, it’s not all perfect. Both men have to figure out how they can move forward. But their connection is strong, and they know they have to be together. But Ethan has done some things he’s not proud of. And he confesses to Gabe what he did when he was young and in need of money.
Gabe’s alpha is pissed when he finds out that Gabe is with Ethan, and the only reason he doesn’t kill Ethan is because he believes Ethan can be useful. Based on Ethan’s information, Gabe’s pack goes after a cell of assassins in order to take them down. But when they arrive, all the find are dying werewolves and a few guards. And one person who is barely alive, but might be their key to getting answers about just exactly what the assassins are up to. In the aftermath, though Gabe and Ethan are stronger than ever, the pack is having trouble. And the only thing Gabe is sure of is his love for Ethan.
A reunion romance with shifters? Sign me up. I was eager to read this one, and I definitely enjoyed it, though I had a few small issues with it. Cates created a truly unique world here, and since I’m such a big fan of world building, this really drew me in. Here the supernatural and paranormal is known to the world at large, but it’s still separate and apart. It’s governed by it’s own set of rules. Werewolves are born, not made, but it’s a gene mutation that causes the change and it can happen to anyone. Packs are formed by choice, and alphas are badass protectors. The whole set up for the world was very creative and there were a lot of new twists on classic themes. While there were a few things I’d like to have seen better explained, I was totally digging the world Cates presents and found it easy to get absorbed into it.
The author also gave us characters that were engaging and easy to relate to. For all this was a paranormal story, Gabe and Ethan’s relationship was grounded in the contemporary. Gabe had valid reasons for leaving all those years ago, but he’s still struggled with it. And once he reconnects with Ethan, the draw is so strong that he can’t stay away. I liked his internal struggle, and watching him accept himself and his desires and do whatever he had to in order to keep Ethan was great. Ethan had his own issues. He overcame a rough childhood to be something, but I liked that he was believably flawed. Ethan could have easily read as too good to be true, but he’d made his mistakes. I really liked both MCs and their chemistry was insane together. The author also created some fantastic secondary characters that really served to enhance the story.
So I really liked this story, but I definitely had a few small issues with it as well. Ethan and Gabe, when they were first sorting themselves out and figuring out how to get back together, read as a bit inconsistent. Over the course of a chapter or so, they both said one thing, then changed their mind to something else, and then back again. Essentially, it was something like: Ethan would say they could make it work, Gabe would say they can’t, and then Ethan would say Gabe was right, and Gabe would say he wasn’t giving up. So I felt like it was a bit of a ping-pong match, where nothing got resolved. And then suddenly, they were both on board. I needed a little bit more to bridge between the two, because as it was, I just had to go along with it even though I really didn’t have enough to feel it.
And weirdly, I felt the same when it came to their leap from reuniting to being in love. Their amazing chemistry helped to ease the way, and there was something to be said about the whole mates aspect. These guys are drawn together, and that definitely helps. But suddenly their declaring their love and I felt like I’d missed a step in their romance. It felt a bit like it jumped to the end, and I wanted more to really feel it. But these guys do work together so even though I wanted a bit more from them, I definitely liked what was there.
Ultimately, I enjoyed the story even if I wished for a little bit more in some of aspects to flesh out the story a bit more. The characters were great, the pacing smooth, and the world creative and imaginative. I’m definitely hoping for more in this series, as the ending seems like it an opening for a lot of possibilities. If you’re looking for the same, then you should definitely check this one out.