Red is supposed to stay on the path when he ventures into the woods to Grandmother’s house. It’s only on the path where she can protect him from the big bad wolf, but Red finds himself tempted to linger, hoping for a glimpse of the mysterious Huntsman he’s met a time or two. The man, with his greying hair and charming smile, makes Red feel butterflies in his stomach. But today, while sneaking a look, Red’s foot slips and he’s suddenly off the path … and running for his life.
This story takes place in a relatively modern world where Red works in a small cafe in Silverdale and rides a motorbike to the edge of the woods where Grandmother and the Huntsman have their cottages. There is magic and shifters, but the world building isn’t the focus of this novella. Instead, the story stays close over Red’s shoulder, watching the confused morass of his emotional turmoil as he struggles to accept himself in a way his parents refused.
When they caught him kissing another boy, Red’s parents sent him to a camp that was supposed to “cure” him; instead, it cursed him. Now, during the full moon, Red has to fight against the need to shift his skin, turning from a young man to a wolf, and as a wolf, to avoid the Huntsman roaming the woods. If it weren’t for his Grandmother — a neighbor who saw what his parents did and invited him into her life and her family — he’d be completely alone. Now, Red has a family (however small it is) and unconditional love.
When the Huntsman starts looking for the wolf in earnest, Red has a choice to make: Reveal himself and hope for the best, or continue to hide who he is and what he is, as he hid for so many years during his childhood. The Huntsman, though, has his own secrets. And he’s met other wolves, other wolves who wore human skin. But none of them made him feel the way Red makes him feel.
This is cute, fast, and comforting story with lots of love, cake, and hugs. And sometimes we could all use a bit of sweetness in our lives. If you’re interested in shifter romances or fairy tale adaptations, consider giving this book a try!