wolves always bite coverRating: 4.25 stars
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Length: Novel

 

Jeremy loves the idea of magic, supernatural creatures, and sweeping loves stories. It’s part of why he wants to be a romance author. Unfortunately, Jeremy’s actual life is not nearly that exciting. He is mostly broke and has taken a job helping sell items at flea markets. It is boring, but doesn’t seem particularly dangerous… that is, until his boss turns out to be a goblin selling black-market magical objects. When Jeremy gets caught in the middle of a conflict between his boss and those sent to stop her, he suddenly finds himself thrust into a magical world he didn’t realize exists.

Adrian and his team have been tracking some stolen artifacts and have followed the leads to the goblin. Adrian realizes that her cute assistant now knows enough that he is in danger, so he brings Jeremy along to try to get him to safety. Jeremy finds the hunky werewolf the stuff of his fantasies and wastes no time asking all his questions about the supernatural world. Unfortunately, the goblin is more determined and dangerous than they realized, and Jeremy is going to need to stick with Adrian and his team for longer than planned while they figure out a way to stop her. Jeremy and Adrian head to the supernatural haven of Willow Lake to lay low, which also happens to be the town where Jeremy’s best friend, Ash, lives with his new partner.

As Adrian and Jeremy spend more time together, the men find themselves falling hard for one another. However, with Jeremy a human and Adrian a werewolf, making a relationship work won’t be easy, especially with their very different life spans. Adrian has also dedicated his life to his team, and his team leader in particular, which means he has has obligations he must fulfill. As Jeremy’s goblin boss increases her threats and they learn more about her plans, it becomes clear that the situation is more serious than they even dreamed. Now, Jeremy, Adrian, and Adrian’s team find themselves in the middle of a magical crisis that will take all of them to unravel.

Wolves Always Bite is the second installment in Lori Ames’ engaging Willow Lake Supernaturals series. This story features a new couple in Jeremy and Adrian, but the larger series arc follows the events of Hellhounds Never Lie and this story has some spoilers for events of that book. You could start the series here, but if you want to read them all, they are best read in order. I think the way the stories connect makes for some fun moments here, as we see Jeremy learning about the stolen artifacts and some events from the first book from his own point of view. It is particularly clever as Jeremy doesn’t necessarily understand what he is seeing, since he is human and totally unfamiliar with this world, and I enjoyed figuring out how his encounters tied into events in the previous book. For example, he encounters Robbie’s wolf pack, but doesn’t know who they are, or that they are even wolves, but series readers will likely figure out who he is meeting. There is also sort of an ongoing joke that Jeremy is worried how he will tell Ash about everything that has happened since he has been drawn into this supernatural world, without realizing, of course, that Ash is a magical being of his own. So I liked how these two books worked together and think Ames does a nice job with some of these series elements.

As things develop with this story, we learn more about some of the big picture issues, including Adrian and his team, who are sort of magical law enforcement adjacent. They are brought in to help out on various situations and, in this case, are tasked with tracking the stolen artifacts. The excitement builds nicely as the group begins to learn more about what is going on and the threats grow. The story does resolve some of the conflict here, but it appears the larger plot will continue on into future books.

I enjoyed Jeremy and Adrian together and found them an appealing couple. Jeremy is new to this world and so he serves as a good window for the reader as he tries to learn more about the supernaturals. There is more silly humor here than the first book or the prequel story, which threw me a little because it felt like such a shift in tone. That settles down as we get more into the high intensity portions of the story and I noticed it less as we went along. I also will note that Ames uses some romance land references here that I found distracting. I know some readers love the little easter eggs when authors mention real-world authors and books, or have the characters talk about romance tropes, but I found it kept pulling me out of the story. As an example, Jeremy mentions reading a series about “omegas who were irresistible,” which I assume is a reference to Nora Phoenix’s Irresistible Omegas series, and later comments about “fantasizing about certain amethyst dragons” (presumably those in the Forbidden Desires series). As I said, I know a lot of readers love that kind of thing, but having real world books and tropes mentioned pulled me out of the story in a way that was distracting.

Overall, I am really enjoying this series and this world. I think the world building is a lot of fun and I like the way Ames is tying together the larger series arc within the individual books. The next couple looks super interesting and I am very eager to continue on with the series.

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