I like romance and boys loving boys in my books.
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This was a fun, flufftastic M/M shifter romance!
I really liked the mythology the author created/invented for this novella, including Alpha wolves and Alpha Mates, and humans aware of Lycans, witches and warlocks and magic, and KNOTTING! Knotting, people!!
Tanner is at 30 years old still waiting for that elusive Alpha Mate. Meeting him or her will set off his First Shift, and he's been waiting a long time. Shortly after starting a new job at a company in Chicago, Tanner finally finds his mate, except he doesn't quite know who it is. So he makes a list.
I giggled and groaned a lot at Tanner's obliviousness, because it's rather clear to the reader just who the mate is, but Tanner forges ahead with his head up his ass, checking off each potential candidate with a date.
There's a scene early on, during Tanner's first shift, that had me applauding (and slightly cringing) at the inventive use of mashed potatoes. I don't think I'll ever look at taters the same way again.
What stood out for me most was the heavy amount of emotions Nico Jaye infused in this book. Once Tanner figures it out and puts a name with his mate, there's not a single doubt that he's completely head over heels, always putting the needs of his mate first, even denying himself if it means making his mate happy.
There's little conflict between Tanner and Jon, and their relationship develops easily and organically. Even if it takes Tanner some time to see what's right in front of him, and even if Jon keeps his true nature secret.
The side story with Jon's mother and the curse and the evil demon was perhaps a little too far out, but it did cement the message that the mating bond supersedes everything else, and added to the romantic and emotional feel of the story.
Also, KNOTTING!! Need I say more? I'm just fascinated by this special thing. It made the mating bond even more romantic.
While Tanner's solo time was perhaps higher on the hotness scale than the mating scene, it was nowhere near the emotional scale of the latter, something that's more important to me than the act itself. Tanner was solicitous and so aware of Jon's needs and concerns, and I appreciated that. It spoke of his feelings toward his mate, of the need to ensure that Jon was first and foremost getting what he wanted and needed. That's what I expect from a shifter novel, and that's what I got here. I even saw his early feedings of Jon (actual lunch instead of the ever-present Snickers) as an indication of Tanner's devotion, even if Tanner didn't yet realize it. Cleverly done by the author, without making Tanner look like a bumbling fool.
Yeah, it's a little on the fluffy side. So what? This is the kind of novel you read when curled up in your favorite chair. It gives you all the 'awww' moments you need every so often, and it will make you smile when you're done reading.
If I had to niggle about something, I'd mention that comparing a wolf to a feline was probably not the best choice, but that was one sentence, and the only time I actually questioned something in this book. Even the inclusion of Jon's ex didn't feel out of place to me. Can't say more without spoiling things.
It fully met my expectations, and I really liked it. Give it a shot, would ya?
**I received a free ARC from the author. A positive review was not promised in return. **