In 1824, Tannerian Wulferic’s parents and sister were murdered by a demon, leaving Tanner and his twin brother, Tobias, alive. The demon left behind a part of himself within Tanner and all these centuries later, Tobias no longer speaks to him. Tanner was also born a wolf shifter and he is now the alpha of his pack. He has also made a name for himself as leader of the Underground and Tanner’s unyielding demeanor and quest for vengeance have made him someone to be feared.
A decade ago, Tanner encountered Alex Jonas, a homeless teen, and while nothing stirs Tanner to compassion, something about the sight of Alex called to him. Alex became Tanner’s lover for one year until Tanner abruptly sent him away, but you can never really get too far away from Tanner Wulfric.
Alex has lived these last few years in relative quiet running a coffee shop. He still has plenty of ties to Tanner behind the scenes, but Alex has not seen the man himself. That is until Tanner calls upon Alex for his help and it’s not as is if Alex has a choice. Tanner’s single focus has always been retribution against the demon, but his feelings for Alex now complicate everything.
As this book opens in 1824, the scene is set for a bloody massacre as most of Tanner’s family is murdered and Tanner begins a long battle against a demon. Then the book catches up present day. The prologue captured my attention, and while the idea of the story here was intriguing, the execution didn’t come together so much.
Tanner is the head of the Underground and perhaps the author thought that the name alone would be enough to describe what exactly Tanner does. All we know is that Tanner breaks in newcomers to be submissive, he deals with pack or turf wars, and he is someone to be feared. That was about as much as was offered as to what Tanner does with the Underground. There is no world building as to where wolf packs fit into the rest of society and there is no indication where demons fit in or why the demon targeted Tanner’s family all of those years ago.
Alex was Tanner’s lover and although Alex fought it, he fell in love with Tanner. This part is all told to us. We are not shown anything about their past other than a recount of their initial meeting and then we are told that Tanner ended his relationship with Alex. Alex is also a fire mage, but that is never explored or further explained and it was an interesting part of his character that was in name only.
The focal point of the book is that Tanner is seeking vengeance against a demon. A demon that killed most of his family and left a piece of himself within Tanner. Tanner is shown as having little humanity left and really cares for no one but himself. The plot for confronting the demon involves Tanner’s twin brother, Tobias, who doesn’t speak to Tanner. There was one passage described of something that happened between the men, but it was never clear if that was the only reason that Tobias cut Tanner from his life. Tobias was spoken about much more than he was on page and his character was not fully formed. The demon storyline also did not advance from the beginning of the book to the end. Tanner is in the exact same place with the demon, maybe even worse, by the end of the book, and I did wonder what exactly was the point.
Now the blurb on this book states that this is not a romance, which is true, and I had no issue with that aspect. Yet, Tanner and Alex are shown to have lots of unfinished business as there is still attraction and Alex is said to be in love with Tanner, although the reason why is really never explored. Then, all of a sudden the men are mating. There is no discussion leading up this and no discussion after. They are simply now mates and how this was done didn’t work for me. The blurb also states that the book is filled with “graphic, erotic scenes.” I would not be discussing this if the blurb didn’t specifically call this out, but many of the scenes fade out. Both Tanner and Alex have other partners during the course of the book and the majority of what would be “graphic” or “erotic” was off page. So if that’s what may appeal to you from the description, that was another area that was lacking.
There were a lot of pieces to this story, but a lot of it didn’t fit together cohesively for me and a lot was not explored in depth. There is no resolution here as this is part one of a series and I’m not sure there is enough of a hook in any of these areas to keep me on the line.