Living in Plymouth, Massachusetts, Cameron is familiar with the dark and complicated past of the city. What he isn’t familiar with are the two men knocking on his door claiming that someone named Cameron called a pair of paranormal investigators to come take a look at his house. Cameron, who most certainly did not call Jason and Reid, and doesn’t even believe in ghosts, thank you, tells them quite firmly to go away and closes the door in their faces.
And so begins the tumultuous, fraught, and complicated relationship between Cameron and Jason. Because as much as he hates to admit it, Cameron has to acknowledge that there is something going on in his house. The faucets run with blood, there are bloody hand prints inside the mirror, and Cameron is dreaming about a sigil carved into the giant, creepy oak tree in his backyard that wants to be fed his blood.
After Cameron’s sister was killed by his mother, Cameron and his brother were taken away from her and put into the system. While Cameron didn’t have it as badly as some kids did, it certainly wasn’t pleasant and he’s learned to keep the world and everyone in it at arm’s length. Even his job is one he does at home where he isn’t forced into small talk and friendships. He works, he eats, he sleeps and he … exists. He’s lonely, but Cameron isn’t certain if he’s ready for the work and effort being with someone takes.
Cameron’s last boyfriend was a year ago. He hadn’t even let the guy know where he lived. And now here’s Jason, who gets in his face, who snarls at him, who gets into his personal space and won’t back down. Jason who is everything Cameron wants in a wet dream, if only the man didn’t try talking so much. Or at all. And yet, there’s no offer of friendship, no gentle courting with Jason. He’s not asking to be let into Cameron’s life, just his bed. Jason has his own secrets and his own trauma, which keep him from welling on Cameron’s and trying to fix them. It’s almost refreshing.
Jason grew up in a large, loud, and extended family, but things didn’t work out, so he left. And for a werewolf without a pack, it’s a lonely life. Jason and Reid found one another and realized that they made a great pair of friends and investigators. Reid does all the talking; he’s charming, smooth, and can find a common ground with almost anyone. Jason’s the muscle. He growls at things, hits things, and watches Reid’s back. He’s not the one with the answers and he’s not the one who solves the problem.
With Cameron, Jason doesn’t know what to do. Cameron doesn’t back down, has a mean right hook, and isn’t trying to pin Jason down. He doesn’t want to come between Jason and Reid; in fact, he doesn’t seem to want Jason around half the time. The challenge is almost more the point than the conquest. When the two of them get together it’s like watching gunpowder and a match. They don’t belong together, but when the inevitable happens, it’s dramatic and flashy.
Personally. I had issues with this book — and this pairing — that I wasn’t quite able to get past. For one, Cameron ends up punching Jason in two of their three meetings, as well as kneeing him quite sharply in the groin. Not because he was afraid of Jason or feeling threatened, but because he was angry. And Cameron is angry a lot. If it weren’t for Jason’s own strength, he could have been seriously hurt, but — to be fair — he’s just as violent with Cameron. In their first meeting, he threatened him, he’s grabbed him hard enough to bruise, and during a fight he told Cameron that his mother murdered the wrong child. These two may have fun in bed, but they’re terrible as a couple. I can’t even really see them being friends because if it isn’t about sex, or one of them isn’t drugged, they do nothing but cause each other pain.
The plot of this book is scattered and contrived and I honestly think a few scenes are missing because so little is explained. There are jumps in logic and acceptance for the convenience of the plot with no groundwork laid for me to follow along. Cameron is skeptical until he isn’t. He accepts that Reid is a psychic and there is a ghost, but he won’t accept that he has any psychic powers because … he’s a skeptic? But then he isn’t, because he’s proud of himself for figuring things out on his own and proving to himself he has powers? Cameron at times feels more like a puppet being moved this way and that for the convenience of the story, ignoring what might take too much explanation, and just accepting things so that the plot moves along.
It is never explained by Reid or Jason why they think — no, why they know — [spoiler]Cameron’s mother is the ghost haunting his house. They mention it, offhandedly, as a known fact without any evidence. Later, Cameron faces a ghost and of course it’s his mother; he has no doubt at all, but where did he get the idea from? [/spoiler] This ghost thing is presented as a done deal without any set up or proof, and no reaction from Cameron regarding how he feels about this or even how or why he accepts this. Cameron’s been a skeptic up until this point — to the point that he didn’t think the blood in the faucets was paranormal. Just plumbing.
Also, Cameron only starts thinking of Jason as a potential lay, as opposed to just a wet dream, after he finds out Jason’s a werewolf, as if being a werewolf makes him worth consideration. And yet, even when he’s thinking about how long it’s been and, yes, how attractive Jason is, Cameron’s thought isn’t to go after Jason, it’s to go hit a club and find someone else.
However, even with all my problems with the plotting and story telling and lack of believability in many of Cameron’s actions regarding the psychic phenomenon, I will say that the relationship between Jason and Cameron did work for me. Please note, they as a couple do not work for me, but their relationship in this book, how they came together and why, that was well put together. Their first kiss was an impulsive action by Jason, but their second kiss felt real. It felt like something that could actually happen. When the two of them finally come together, it’s more an exploration of what is between them rather than a declaration of undying love via sex. It’s all physical, and — of course — as soon as words are required, they revert back to loathing one another.
There are moments when Cameron is just thinking to himself about what he’s been through, and who is he now, and who he wants to be that did work for me. He is having to come face-to-face with his traumatic past, facing people who had power over him as a child now that he’s an adult and able to defend himself, and being able to take responsibility for both what he had and hadn’t done. Those elements are well written and made me like Cameron more. However, Cameron is still an angry and violent man who has growing to do. Remember, he has twice punched Jason — in the face, trying to cause him harm — because he was angry.
This is not a story that will be for everyone, and this is not a pair that everyone will enjoy. The ending is open, with no happily ever after or even any resolution between Jason and Cameron at this point. For this story, it works. I can’t say I enjoyed the book, but I didn’t not enjoy it.