Rating: 4.25 stars
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Length: Novel

Warlock Nate Hawthorne finds himself barely surviving as he crawls onto Armitage pack land looking for sanctuary. He was kidnapped and cursed by a rival wolf pack and he is hoping the Armitages will be willing to help him. The curse is draining Nate’s magical power, and it turns the only way he is going to survive is by forming a mate bond with an alpha wolf. With Matthew, the pack leader, not an option, Nate is left with no choice but to mate with Ian Armitage, Matthew’s brother. Ian has hated Nate for years, ever since Nate dated Ian’s cousin. But with his life on the line, Nate has little choice but to complete the mating bond with Ian.

The men are at odds right from the start. Ian seems to want nothing to do with him, and Nate feels badly that his situation has tied Ian to him for life. Nate’s father used him all his life, controlling Nate and draining his power for his own use. Nate’s father was a shady character and everyone assumed that Nate working with him voluntarily, so he doesn’t have the greatest of reputations. But he is also not so sure he wants to reveal to everyone just how badly he had been used and abused by his father. Now that he is mated to Ian, Nate once again is subject to the potential for Ian to control his magic, something that terrifies him. With the Ian clearly hating him, Nate is fearful about what will happen if Ian tries to exert his control over him. With time, the men slowly are able to put aside their preconceptions about one another, however, and realize that there may be a chance for a real connection between them.

However, even as things are going better between the men, there is still the problem of who kidnapped Nate, what they wanted, and how it all connects to the Armitage pack. While Nate’s life may have been saved by the mating, that doesn’t mean that those who wanted to harm him have given up and Nate’s life is still on the line. Now that Nate and Ian have found their way to one another, they are going to have to stand up against powerful shifters and dark magic if they are going to get to the bottom of the fight and come out with their lives.

The Alpha’s Warlock is the first book in Eliot Grayson’s new Mismatched Mates series and I really loved it. The book jumps right into the action with Nate near death and things keep up a high level of excitement throughout the story. Slowly we discover more about what is really going on, who wants to capture Nate, and their ultimate goal. There is a nice twistiness to the story that keeps things interesting and I really enjoyed following along as the mystery is slowly revealed. We get a nice resolution here, but also this story lays the groundwork for upcoming books in the series.

I am a big enemies to lovers fan so I loved the dynamic between Ian and Nate. It is pretty easy to read between the lines that Ian has feelings for Nate that he is trying to brush aside, and his gruffness is just a cover. Ian is big and gorgeous and Nate pretty much wants to climb him like a tree, but he also thinks Ian hates him. The two of them push each other’s buttons right from the start and there is some fun banter and clever exchange between the two as they work their way towards a real connection. There is also some nice exploration here of the power dynamic as Nate’s background makes him particularly vulnerable to the idea of someone having control over him. With Ian the alpha wolf in their relationship, he could exert control if he chose, and it freaks Nate out. The two of them have to work through things, and Nate needs to really open up about his past for them to be able to move forward.

I found this one really a lot of fun and a nice mix of great relationship development, interesting world building, and lots of excitement. I was drawn in right away by Grayson’s story and I am definitely all in for this series. I enjoyed this one quite a lot and am very much looking forward to more.