Rating: 3.5 stars
Buy Link:
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Length: Novella

 

Gideon Everett is a wolf shifter who is full of himself and has a disdain for non-predatory shifters. When he first meets Jyran Pechman, Gideon can’t even look him in the face, because he knows by Jyran’s scent that Jyran is his mate, but there’s no way Gideon will be mated to a squirrel shifter. He dismisses Jyran out of hand.

Jyran has long dreamed of finally meeting his mate. Someone he can come home to and who will protect him. Meeting Gideon is a shock, because Jyran never imagined he’d be mated to a wolf. That shock quickly turns to heartbreak and outrage as Gideon shuns him. For six years, the men don’t even talk, and both try to fill their time with others. But for Jyran, at least, the thought of Gideon is always in the back of his head. Jyran knows that no matter who he dates, they’ll never be Gideon.

When danger threatens Jyran, Gideon is suddenly worried for the man. But even when they come face to face again, the conversation goes sideways. Gideon can’t help but make Jyran angry. Jyran refuses to give in to Gideon. But when Jyran’s life is on the line, Gideon will stop at nothing to get Jyran to safety. Can they put aside their very rocky beginning and find the love fate has decreed for them?

I wanted to like this book more than I did, and that ultimately comes down to Gideon. While I liked the premise of the story, the interesting cast of characters, and particularly Jyran, Gideon was my sticking point, and because of that, my enjoyment of the book went down.

As I said, I really liked Jyran. Not only was he well drawn, but he had a charm about him. He was a contradiction in that he very much liked organization and order, but he’s also a squirrel shifter, so he had a tendency to stash food away and forget where he’d hidden it. He runs his best friend’s career and is so good at what he does. But given his status as a squirrel shifter, his kind has also been hunted, and he’s in a constant state of fear. I found Jyran endearing and wanted nothing more than to wrap him up in a hug.

But Gideon is another matter entirely. While I could understand his initial shock at finding out his fated mate was a squirrel, he doubled down on his assholeishness and would not relent. He pushed Jyran away without a thought and then did nothing to make it up to him. Even after Jyran and Gideon met again, he still continued to be a jerk. It was then compounded by his other behaviors, not the least of which was offering Jyran “one night.” Though Gideon did eventually apologize for his behavior, it did not redeem him in my eyes. And that was my problem with the character. The apology felt almost hollow; the explanation for his actions could have meant something if it were more fleshed out and if he showed real remorse, but I just didn’t feel it. The whole time, I wanted nothing more than for Jyran to find someone better for him. Gideon didn’t earn Jyran’s forgiveness, and he certainly didn’t earn mine.

The major plot points were clever and a twist on what you might expect. I liked the twists in the world, and the ultimate bad guy was a surprise even to me, though it didn’t feel forced or that it came out of left field. I liked the secondary characters quite a bit, especially Adara and Amir. I would have liked to see a bit more world building, but there was enough to make this book cohesive and enjoyable on it’s own.

So while there were parts of this book I really enjoyed, the fact that one of the MCs not only came off as a jerk, but didn’t redeem himself adequately, worked against the book for me. I didn’t like Gideon and I felt Jyran deserved much better. What I liked, I really liked. But what didn’t work was too much. Because of my reaction to Gideon, this clearly wasn’t the book for me.