Linden Grove has no desire to be alpha of the Grove pack, nor does he ever plan to have the job. His father is the current alpha and his older brother, Aspen, was groomed to be next in line before leaving for the military. His father and brother were always clear to Linden that he is not the right kind of alpha wolf for the position. But when a neighboring pack kidnaps one of the Grove omegas and disaster strikes, the pack is left without an alpha and eyes turn toward Linden. He cares deeply for his pack and for his town, and will sacrifice anything to care for them, but he is not sure he is the right alpha to lead.
Colt Doherty grew up an omega in a family of stereotypical alphas. His father is a senator and Colt’s life has been all about PR and public appearances. His family has never been warm and loving and they are clear that Colt being an omega means his role is to support them. Colt is a journalist and when he gets an assignment to write a story on the Grove pack, he finds himself arriving in the middle of the crisis of the kidnapped omega. It gives Colt a chance to see the pack dynamics in action, particularly Linden’s leadership. Colt is from a city pack and the way those wolves interact is very different from the Grove’s rural pack environment, and Colt finds himself really drawn to the group.
As Colt spends more time with the Grove pack, he also gets to spend more time with Linden. The doctor is quiet and unassuming, but at the same time has an inner strength that makes people listen to him. Colt knows Linden would be a perfect choice to lead the pack, but Linden has some competition for the job from a young alpha who wants to shake things up in the pack. Colt and Linden are also falling for one another and both starting to imagine what life could be like if Colt found a way to stay, rather than returning to his life in the city. But between Colt’s family demands and the threats from the neighboring pack, not to mention that the men need to open up about how they feel, there is a lot to untangle before they can have their happily ever after.
Black Moon is the first book in the new Wolf Moon Rising series by Sam Burns and W.M. Fawkes. It features a non-mpreg omegaverse world and the authors give it a nice twist in the world building. We learn that about 20 years ago, omegas started being afflicted by what they call the Condition, a mysterious disorder that weakens and kills many omegas. No one knows why, or how to stop it, but it has left many packs decimated by the loss of their omegas. As a doctor, Linden has been treating one of their younger afflicted omegas for years and their pack has had unusual success in keeping their omegas healthy. So this set up builds nicely into the story both in that it gives a reason for Colt to come to the Grove pack to learn more about them, as well as setting up the conflict with the neighboring Reid pack who kidnap the omega, Brook. I do wish more had been done with this idea, however, because while early on there is a focus on what is happening at the Grove pack and why they are doing so well, the plot thread is pretty much dropped as the book goes on. Hopefully, as the series continues, the story will focus back on this because I think it is an interesting twist to the series.
The journey here for our characters is really about coming to accept themselves and believe that they are perfect as they are. Linden has always thought himself the wrong kind of alpha, while Colt has always been treated like “just an omega” and it has affected both of them. So here we see them really come into their own. Linden realizes how much support he has in the pack to be the alpha and how his type of quiet, calm, and steady leadership is exactly what they need. He may not be big and aggressive and dominant, but he has the strength the pack needs and he comes to accept that he is worthy of the role of alpha. For Colt, he has always chafed at the way his family looks at omegas and so he gets a new perspective when he comes to the Grove pack and sees how different it is there. Colt also is able to figure out how to be an omega on his terms, how with a man like Linden he will never be thought of as lesser. The guys are super sweet together, and Linden is such a gentle soul. They have a really nice dynamic and I enjoyed them together.
This is a fairly long book and I think there was just not enough story to tell to fill all these pages. The first part of the book is pretty busy as we get the introduction to the characters, the pack, and the situation with the omegas. So a lot is happening at the start and it was a bit overwhelming meeting all these characters, particularly since many have similar names. But once things settle, the book keeps a pretty even pace throughout and much of the story seemed to be showcasing how nice and lovely Linden is as a man and a leader. And he totally is and I loved him, but that wasn’t really enough to carry such a long book. There are some more intense moments, such as rescuing the kidnapped omega and the final conflict with the Reid pack. But even those are resolved very quickly. The things that seem to be set up as big issues, like how to respond to the Reids after the kidnapping, or the alpha vote, or even the Condition, never really develop into significant storylines. So I feel like this was a story that could have been told in far fewer pages, or I wanted to see some of these bigger areas get more focus.
Despite some issues, however, I am really looking forward to future books. The authors introduce us to some really interesting characters and I feel like there is so much room for some great stories to be told. So I enjoyed my introduction to the Grove pack and am definitely eager to continue with the series.