soulmates coverRating: 4.5 stars
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Length: Novel

Note: Soulmates is a menage/polyamorous story featuring a wolf, vampire, and a third character who is not revealed in the blurb. I think most readers will figure it out fairly early in the book, but to avoid spoiling anything, some parts of this review will be necessarily vague.

Trajan Gall is a vampire who has lived many years, and his last two have not been particularly good ones. After his boyfriend died, Trajan hasn’t had much enthusiasm for life; he even contemplates what it might be like to just walk into the sun. But when he gets a call from his maker to babysit a wolf shifter in LA for the week, Trajan can’t refuse the request.

David Collins is the son of the country’s most powerful werewolf, and an alpha in his own right. He knows his responsibilities are waiting for him when he returns to Seattle, so he is looking to make the most of his time in LA, and that includes a lot of partying, hot clothes, and plenty of sex. But from almost the second David steps off the plane, his life is threatened.

Trajan and David find themselves immediately on the run, trying to stay ahead of the bad guys and figure out just which of them is the target. No matter where they go, they keep being found and knowing who to trust is impossible. While getting involved with one  another in the midst of all this is probably a bad idea, the attraction between David and Trajan is strong and they can’t help but give in to their feelings. When they are joined by someone whom they aren’t quite sure is a friend or enemy, things become even more complicated, though neither man can deny their desire for the third. However, if there is any hope for a future for the men, they must find a way to stop those who are out to destroy them.

Oooh, I really liked this one. I am a fan of vampire/shifter pairings and have been on a major urban fantasy kick lately, so this story grabbed my attention. And with interesting characters, lots of thrills and excitement, and plenty of heat, it kept me engaged throughout the book.

Liv Rancourt has created a supernatural world filled with all sorts of creatures. In addition to our vampire and wolf, we meet an Amazon, a troll, pixies, and more. It is a world where the paranormal is known (there are special “vampire safe” rooms in hotels, for example) and where it seems that humans and supernaturals co-exist fairly easily. The conflict here comes from within the paranormal world, as the attacks risk tension between the vampires and wolves. Trajan knows if anything happens to David on his watch, it will mean war between the groups (not to mention if the wolves harm a vampire, there will be equal trouble). On top of that, there is tension among the wolves as not everyone is happy about David taking over as pack alpha — the fact that he is gay and often enjoys a traditionally feminine style doesn’t endear him to everyone.

The overall world building isn’t particularly detailed here, but I think that there is enough provided to give a foundation for the supernatural world. I also think it works because the real tension comes from the suspense of David and Trajan trying to figure out who is after them and how to stay one step ahead. The story is fast paced and exciting from almost the start and Rancourt keeps things moving at a brisk pace. There is lots of tension and thrills and I enjoyed the suspense side of things a lot. I do think that we could have used a little more clarity on the final resolution here. There isn’t quite the straight line explanation for who is after them and why as I would have liked. I kind of feel like we get about 90% of the way there, but things don’t quite resolve as tightly as I wanted in terms of the bad guy’s motivation. We also see David get betrayed by quite a number of those close to him, and again, I wanted to see it clarified a little more as to why. But overall, I found the suspense side of things exciting and fun.

The story is told in three POVs representing each of our main characters, with each one getting a long section of the book to narrate and then some smaller sections later. So we start with Trajan, then David, then the third hero. I think it works well because not only do we get inside each of these men’s heads, but we also get to see solely their reactions to certain events, which keeps the tension and suspense high. It did take a bit of mental orientation to shift from one to the other, but I think the style worked well.

From a romance end, the focus is on Trajan and David for most of the book. The story starts with somewhat of an enemies-to-lovers vibe, as neither man is particularly happy about being stuck with one another. But they soon start to fall for each other and there is a lot of sexy heat here. I loved the balance between them, each being strong in their own way. Even as David appears more young and fragile, he is actually incredibly strong and it makes a nice dynamic between the pair. The third character doesn’t get brought in romantically for a while, but I feel like it works, mostly because this one has a pretty solid HFN ending. This is the first of a series, so there is room for things to grow, but I never doubted that the three men could work together.

I think Rancourt leaves these guys in a good place and ready to explore something serious together. And while the story ties up most of the plot, there are a lot of things to potentially develop in future books (particularly about our third character and his history). So I am really excited about this one and found it to be a lot of suspenseful, sexy fun. I am really looking forward to more.