Last year, Nathan Roberts learned about the existence of werewolves. His best friend, Deanna, was attacked and she is now dating a wolf. And when a group called the Huntsmen was after the pack, they hid away in Nathan’s apartment, leading to Nathan’s relationship with Cole, the pack leader’s brother. Nathan never expected to find himself in a serious relationship, but things are good between him and Cole. However, emotionally Nathan is still reeling from not only learning about the existance of wolves, but from the life threatening danger he experienced. He has nightmares and anxieties, but Nathan really can’t talk to anyone else about his fears because no one can know about the wolves’ existence.
When Nathan stumbles upon a dead body in his apartment building, he immediately becomes suspicious of the strange death. Nathan figures if werewolves are real, there is reason to believe that other supernatural creatures exist too. He is certain that the murdered man must have been some sort of supernatural being given the way he was killed, and Nathan is determined to find out what. Even as Cole and Nathan’s friends assure him that werewolves are the only mythical beings out there, Nathan becomes more and more obsessed with finding out what else could be real. As he digs further, Nathan begins pushing away Cole and his friends, determined to find the answers he seeks and refusing to believe what they are telling him. Now Nathan might lose his friends and his boyfriend if he can’t find a way to trust.
Moon Illusion is the third book in the Better to Kiss You With series. I didn’t read the first two books, but was told that this one would stand alone, and for the most part I would say that is true, with some caveats. While Nathan and Cole are new MCs, they directly connect with characters from the other books in the series. Nathan is Deanna’s best friend and Cole is Jamie’s cousin from The Better to Kiss You With, and Kiara from Huntsmen is Cole’s sister. All four of the other MCs appear here in this book as secondary characters. The biggest issue is the plot connections, however. Nathan is still very much emotionally scarred from events in the past two books. I think Osgood does a really nice job bringing new readers up to speed and between that and reading the blurbs for the other two books, I was able to follow along here with no confusion. But I still did feel like I was missing something not having read the earlier books, particularly Huntsmen as that is where Nathan is attacked. Also, Nathan and Cole meet in that second book and that is where their relationship begins. Since it wasn’t their story, I am not sure how much of that we see on page, but I wish I had more of a sense of their early relationship and how their connection developed. That said, I do think you can jump in here as I did and still really enjoy this book.
I think what I liked most here are the characters. There is a sense of camaraderie about this group that I found really appealing. Even jumping in partway through the series, I could feel the connection among these friends and lovers and it was obvious how much they cared about one another. I particularly liked all the strong, tough women who can hold their own. And I really loved Cole and Nathan together. There is a tenderness between them and a real sense of support and understanding. Even without seeing the early part of their relationship, I could still feel their connection and the warmth between them, the sense of rightness they each feel when they are together. Nathan is polyamorous (we see him on a date with another couple as well) and Cole is very understanding and accepting of Nathan’s need for space. I did feel like I was missing a bit understanding some of Nathan’s issues with commitment and relationships because we are told about them but don’t really get the background. I am not sure if that is covered in the previous book or just not addressed at all.
The story takes an interesting approach in that we see Nathan’s obsession with finding other supernatural beings, but as a reader, I didn’t really know whether to believe he was right about their existence, or if he was just caught up in his own head. It is clear that Nathan’s past is affecting him here as he is obviously still dealing with his fears and anxieties after the attacks. But we never quite know if he is on to something with his quest or not. Either way, we can see that Nathan is slowly falling apart, fighting with Cole and Deanna, lying to his friends, avoiding his other partners, not eating or sleeping, and just sinking into this hole. So I really enjoyed seeing how it all resolved, particularly between Nathan and Cole, and how it left their relationship strengthened and solid.
So I found this story really intriguing and loved these characters. I enjoyed Nathan and Cole as a couple and found myself really engaged in this world Osgood has built. I would definitely follow along with any future books in this series, and may try to go back and pick up the first two books to catch up on the other stories.