I like romance and boys loving boys in my books.
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3.75 rounded up.
I quite liked this story, the first in what seems to become a nice series (#2 is already in the works and teased at the end of this one). I liked the mythology created here with wolf shifters and the rules they have in place, and how they bond/mate. The author did a fine job with her world-building. And it is through that world-building, and the rules in place, that the author creates the conflict between the two MCs.
Tanner is six years older than Finley, who is still underage when they first meet and recognize they are destined mates. While it's not unheard of to mate that young, Tanner has some issues and wants to wait and date Finley until the latter is of age. When that time comes, and Tanner still hesitates, Finley rebels and runs off all the way across the country.
This brings me to the part that I didn't like about this book, and where it lost points. For a good chunk of it (nearly half), Tanner and Finley are separated, physically, and somewhat emotionally. Their bond is not complete, because Tanner is an idiot and hasn't fully claimed his mate (for reasons that, while understandable, could have been cleared up with just one fucking conversation). So while at his hiding place, Finley meets another young man (Jamie) whom he then messes around with a bit, because, you know, hurt feelings and woe is me, because "my mate might not love me", since Tanner never actually said the words.
Okay, so both of them rate a bit high on the stupid scale, and while I can make some excuses for Finley, because of his age, I had a harder time forgiving Tanner because his actions, while possibly noble, almost cost him the best thing that ever happened to him.
But then Tanner gets a rude wake-up call which propels him into action. Their reunion was quite sweet, and hot, because Tanner pulls his head out of his ass for once, and does what he should have done much sooner.
Though, speaking of knotting, someone will have to explain to me how that actually works, if the base of the male organ swells, instead of the head. If the male isn't entirely inserted (balls deep, if you will), how then does swelling at the base prevent him from pulling out? Wouldn't it make more sense if the head of the dick in question swelled up instead? *ponders*
Once the two are reunited, and Tanner makes good on his promises, the rest of the story is basically how they reconnect and finalize their mating bond. There's a great moment during the mating ceremony when Tanner finally realizes how much of an ass he's really been, and the mythology created by this author really made its point. Nicely done, that.
So, yes, I enjoyed this book, and I am looking forward to book 2, where Jamie (poor guy) gets to find his own mate. Who may or may not be human. Judging by the first chapter, it's gonna be a great book indeed.
Told from the 3rd person, switching view points between Tanner and Finley (and Jamie at the very end), we get the full range of thoughts, emotions, and actions. The writing is crisp and fairly straight-forward, descriptive but not purple, and the author made me believe that their romance is true and real.
** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **