harvest moon coverRating: 3.75 stars
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Length: Novel

 

Alexis Mena and Ridge Paterson grew up together and always assumed they would one day be mates. Now that Ridge has come home from five years away at college, Alexis hopes it’s time the men can finally be together. But Ridge has returned to an unwelcome surprise as he learns that his family plans to sell their farm to a big corporation. Ridge went to college to better prepare for taking over the family farm and now he is left with an uncertain future. As much as he wants to be with Alexis, Ridge feels lost and doesn’t believe he can be the man for Alexis until he gets his future sorted.

Alexis is crushed by Ridge’s seeming lack of interest in building a future with him, so when he has an opportunity to stay with his cousin and her pack, he seizes it. Claudia is a pregnant omega with a lot of responsibilities to her pack and Alexis worries the stress will be too much for her, especially with so many pregnant omegas afflicted with the Condition. If he can help take care of her while also getting out of town, all the better.

Alexis is surprised by the warm welcome he gets from the Grove pack and begins to consider he could have a long-term future with them. But Ridge is still out of sorts, missing Alexis and worried about him so far away. So when he finds his way to the Grove pack as well, it seems like there could be a chance for the men to reconnect. But with both Ridge and Alexis uncertain about the other’s intentions, things start a bit rocky. However, once they realize that the feelings are still there on both sides, the men finally have a chance to look toward a future together.

Harvest Moon is the second book in Sam Burns and W.M. Fawkes Wolf Moon Rising series and reconnects us with the Grove pack via two newcomers in Alexis and Ridge. The story starts with the men reconnecting and things are rocky as miscommunication means neither recognizes the other’s interest. Alexis just wants to get away from the disappointment and head to the Grove pack where he can help his cousin, Claudia, the pack second. Things then shift to life with the Grove pack, reconnecting us with their pack and various side characters from the first book. There are enough threads here that carry over, both in plot and character, that I think this one is best read as part of the series.

I liked Alexis and Ridge together and there is nice sense of two men meant to be together. They clearly are both longing for each other and trying to overcome the misunderstandings and lack of communication that is keeping them apart when Ridge first returns. I will admit I was frustrated with how quick to judgment both of these men are and how many snap decisions they make. These guys grew up both assuming they would one day be mates. Yet they seem to have barely spoken in the five years Ridge was gone, let alone discussed their interest and intentions with one other. Then Ridge returns home, assumes his lack of clear future prospects is a road block to his relationship with Alexis, and puts him off when Alexis wants to spend time together. So Alexis then immediately assumes Ridge never wanted him in the first place and takes off for the Grove pack. Then Ridge worries Alexis will be in danger at Grove (because Brook was kidnapped) and decides to uproot his whole life and move there too, without talking to Alexis at all. Not just visit and see if Alexis is ok, but up and move to a new place to follow him. Yet still, neither man shares his feelings or talks about their relationship, and they seem to have one misunderstanding after another as they don’t talk to each other. So I found this frustrating as the guys just can’t get it together and the hurdles seemed so artificial between them.

Once Ridge and Alexis get to talking, the story flowed much better for me. Like I said, I really enjoyed these guys together and when they finally get themselves sorted, they exude such a thrill at being together. At that point, the focus of the conflict turns more external, primarily centered around Claudia’s health, fears about the Condition, and ultimately, the first indications at what might be causing the mysterious illness. I think this thread does a nice job advancing the overall series plot and takings things wider than just Ridge and Alexis. I do think the men jump from a slight hint about the cause of the Condition, to assuming the cause is clear, to taking major action, to assigning sinister motives, all without much in the way of evidence. But I do think the set up here provides a nice segue into the next book. The story also provides the foundation for the story for the next two MCs, and I am looking forward to their book.

Overall, I found this a nice installment of the series. I enjoyed Ridge and Alexis together, and I really liked the overall pack story and dynamics. The series has some engaging characters and I’m particularly excited for the next pairing. I think this book relies on too much miscommunication and misunderstanding for the early conflict, but once that settles, things move smoothly.

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