Clay lives a quiet life. He works at the DMV and spends most of his down time alone. When he wants to hook up, Grindr is available, but he’s hesitant about that as well. Clay can’t believe his luck when Damian responds to his message and the two men spend some time together. Clay is totally gone for how hot Damian is and, in the moment, he bites Damian hard enough to draw blood. Clay isn’t at all reassured when Damian freaks out, but Clay couldn’t even begin to guess what he was in for.
Damian lives in a trailer park in the quiet woods, but he has a secret. He lives with his pack, the Outcasts, and keeping a low profile is vital to their survival. Damian now feels responsible for Clay and is tasked with keeping an eye on him to see if Clay has been infected from biting him. As the full moon arrives, Damian resorts to drastic measures and then has to oversee Clay as he shifts for the first time. His responsibility doesn’t end there as now there is a werewolf pup to teach and watch over. Clay also now needs a mate to tie him to the pack and since he and Damian are at odds, he spends time with Blaine, Damian’s abusive ex. This puts Damian on high alert as he has to navigate his feelings for the pack, as well as his growing feelings for Clay.
This book didn’t much work for me almost from the beginning. Clay was fine when we first meet him as he’s contemplating a Grindr hookup. He’s attracted to Damian, physically, from the start, but the attraction ends there. Damian isn’t interested in repeats, so he acts like a red neck to thwart further interest. The guys hook up during their first meeting and there was no chemistry for me as Damian is rude and makes Clay uncomfortable. But the attraction for Clay was enough to have him biting Damian.
Damian is part of the Outcast pack, a pack without family that has come together. Damian has to now explain to his pack elders that he was bitten. They can’t be sure that Clay is in fact infected, so rather than explain to Clay what might be going on and risk exposure, they have Damian resort to nefarious tactics that were in bad taste. I say Damian, because until they are sure if Clay is infected, the pack leaves Damian completely on his own to deal with this.
So, of course, Clay is infected; it’s in the blurb, it’s out there. Once the pain subsides, Clay takes turning into a puppy extremely well and while Damian looks out for Clay, their relationship is more than a little prickly. Then, if Clay wants to become a member of the pack, it’s stated that he has to find a mate to then tie him to the pack. Enter, Blaine, Damian’s abusive ex.
The pack leaders know Blaine abused Damian, but since he was never brought up on formal charges he’s still a pack member and allowed to pursue Clay. Without calling out all the details, I’ll say that this didn’t work for me, and Blaine’s character was poorly developed, and the loose pack rules and leaders that didn’t protect or back their pack mates didn’t work for me either.
This is the first book in the series and I will not classify this particular book as a romance. While they’re softening towards each other, Clay and Damian have a great disdain for each other even at the end of the book, although they are together in the same location kind of way. The main plot of this book with the pack, the ex, and the lingering contempt was a muddled mess for me and I didn’t enjoy this one.