As Justin comes back to himself, locked in a silver-barred cage, he knows two things. One, the woman who unlocks the door, Kara, is a saint and he doesn’t deserve her love and, two, he cannot live like this anymore. But right now he needs to go to work, then be locked away again until the full moon wanes. Only then can he have a reprieve for another month until the vicious cycle repeats itself and he turns once more into the slathering feral beast he hates.
Justin must find the man who made him into the wolf beast he despises, but for over two hundred years, he has remained a step ahead of Justin’s wrath and silver sword. Ever since waking to find he killed a stranger in the night, tore him apart, and bathed in his blood, Justin has forsaken all he loves in pursuit of the one who bit him in order to kill the man and rid himself of the curse. In the meantime, he is hunting his own kind to rid the world of them and find some sort of redemption for himself. Now, in Japan, he is closer to his quarry, but a hunter is on his trail and determined to end Justin’s life. They strike a bargain after Justin discovers a cult-like group of wolves who seem both stronger and are able to turn into their beasts in broad daylight without the aid of the full moon. Sorcery is afoot and Justin and the monster hunter, Vincent, must team up to figure out how to stop it.
Spell of the Werewolf by J.R. Loveless is a paranormal romance that screams to be made into a longer novel or given a sequel. It’s not that the story ends abruptly or on a cliffhanger, but there is some unfinished business that is pretty crucial to the overall plot that is left dangling by the end of the short novel. Either way, the book is good until the end when I feel the author chose to quickly wrap things up and, in my opinion, create a somewhat unrealistic end to a fairly even story to that point.
The idea that Justin is hunting his own kind out of a sense of guilt and need for forgiveness for old crimes against humanity is not new ground but, nonetheless, the story is quite compelling and interesting to read. Add in the angry and single-minded hunter, Vincent, whose motives are made clear near the end of the story and you have a duo who both hunt for similar reasons—to put to rest a bloody and murderous past. When these two come together, the attraction is instant and explosive, as there is often a fine line between hate and love. The way they fight off their feelings for each other is done quite well; add in the aspect that Kara is in love with Justin, who cannot return her affections, and you have an interesting triangle of characters all motivated by either lust or love.
This novel works on many levels. The hunt of the cult-like group of wolves keeps the action moving. The growing feelings between Vincent and Justin make for sizzling scenes of intimacy when they can no longer stave off their lust for each other, and the idea that Justin is bent on ending his life gives the whole thing a sense of urgency. I think my only complaint with this story is the ending. First, Kara’s reaction to what eventually happens with Justin and Vincent just rings hollow and false. I can’t get into why without giving away a major plot point, but suffice it to say she rolls over to easily and much too quickly to be realistic. Then there is the ending, which is not really an ending, but leaves a major element unfinished. These two things really left me with an unsatisfied feeling.
Spell of the Werewolf is a solid action adventure romance that needs a sequel. I think if the author had indicated that then my review would have been a bit more positive.