Caleb is a werewolf, but he lives a solitary existence far from his home pack. He's isolated himself, because ever since he was a teen, he's been attrCaleb is a werewolf, but he lives a solitary existence far from his home pack. He's isolated himself, because ever since he was a teen, he's been attracted to other male Alpha wolves. And that's forbidden. He left home abruptly, and went off to the Civil War, not following the man he wanted, but in some kind of hopeless echo. He still has nightmares from it. The man he might have loved died there, not in his arms, but on some other battlefield, already the wife of a woman back home. And what Caleb did, so as not to die himself, haunts him.
For a long time he's been the only local werewolf, tolerated by most, sometimes employed for his strength and scenting abilities, but mostly living on his isolated homestead, alone except for occasional letters from his older sister. Then the sheriff, who is as close to a friend as he has, shows up with a horrifically injured werewolf in his wagon. Caleb doesn't want to share his space, least of all with another unfamiliar male Alpha, but there's really no place else for the guy to go that he would survive. So Caleb takes Jacob in and tends him as he heals. And discovers that what he thought he knew might be incomplete.
There is interesting world-building in this story. Werewolves are known, sometimes tolerated, sometimes abused (in a bit of an odd mix, given the stated wealth and aggressive potential of werewolf packs.) They have a power structure built on birthright. They seem to tolerate more power for their women than the parallel human society, although we don't meet many of them here. Otherwise the world parallels that of 1870's US.
I enjoyed this book - both Caleb's slow (sometimes very slow) fight to change what he'd believed to be his limits, and the various other characters who come into it. Jacob is a cool guy, although we are still waiting to see what makes him an Alpha since that's not his aspect when around Caleb. There are two kids who are not overly cute, with a plausible backstory. The little bit at the end was perhaps a bit convenient and cutesy, thrown in to give us an extra warm sigh as it finished. I hope in a sequel it will induce some complications and real plot to justify it, and I did smile on that last page. I'll probably read the next one to see how this interesting worldbuilding looks in the more complicated setting of an urban pack, rather than a solitary rural homestead.
This third book finishes off the story of Victor Kalinski - sharp-tongued, short-tempered, without filters, bisexual, and falling deeper in love withThis third book finishes off the story of Victor Kalinski - sharp-tongued, short-tempered, without filters, bisexual, and falling deeper in love with Dan Arou as each day passes. He's a different man from the closed-off loner he was a year ago, but he's still damned lucky he has Dan and his friends to keep him on course through his life.
At the end of the previous novella, Vic and Dan were outed as a couple by a homophobic teammate. In a way, Vic is relieved. Hiding and guarding his tongue has never been his strong point, and he's damned proud to be with Dan. He doesn't mind telling the world. But he's worried about the effect of being out as gay men in hockey, especially what it might do to Dan's promising career. And he knows his hair-trigger temper and sharp tongue may make things worse. And even knowing that, he vows to seriously mess up anyone who gives Dan even a hint of trouble.
Add in a pregnant Heather, Dan's family, a hard-charging hockey style, and Vic's total romantic ineptitude, and you get a story that is fun, sweet, a bit angsty, and full of awww. (view spoiler)[ I really liked the way the baby situation was handled. Not the usual M/M cliche, but realistic and well done. (hide spoiler)] I'm really glad I found these stories - I know I'll read them again soon. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This second of three "Point Shot" novellas doesn't stand alone and the ending is tentative - but it is a wonderful middle piece to the trilogy. Read tThis second of three "Point Shot" novellas doesn't stand alone and the ending is tentative - but it is a wonderful middle piece to the trilogy. Read the first one, meet bisexual hockey player Victor Kalinski and his (current) teammate and boyfriend, Dan Arou. Find out just how much trouble Vic's mouth, his topflight hockey skills and damaged self-image, and the stress of being closeted, get him into. See how much he's willing to try to bend and learn, to keep Dan in his life. And how bad he is at it.
Then come here for the next part. Vic was gutted by the realities of pro hockey, and his own shortcomings, toward the end of the previous book. His dysfunctional coping strategy involved booze and a broad, and although all seemed to end well at the time, the consequences of that are coming home to roost. Dan's a great guy, but he's deeply hurt by Vic's asshattery, and not even ready to try to be understanding. And Vic's childhood as at the hands of his drunken mother, has left him lightyears away from being ready for the next step in his growing up, when the paternity suit paperwork lands in his hand.
Both men are deeper here, more thoughtful, more flawed and yet stronger. There is still plenty of humor over the way Vic's lack of forethought, his temper, and low self-worth get him into trouble. But I was becoming very fond of both men by this point, so there are also moments of heart-felt pain, watching them try to find their way forward. The end is a bit cliff-hangery. Luckily the last novella is already out and waiting to finish the series.
I was caught by surprise with how much I enjoyed this novella - this is the first of 3 that make up a novel arc, but if you're okay with tentative HFNI was caught by surprise with how much I enjoyed this novella - this is the first of 3 that make up a novel arc, but if you're okay with tentative HFN, then this one has a solid enough end to read as a stand-alone. (The second doesn't - read one or all 3; I highly recommend all 3)
The blurb says "Victor Kalinski, all-star forward for the Boston Barracudas, is one of the biggest jerks in professional hockey." and that is totally true. Vic's uncensored mouth comes out with all kinds of crap, not just against opponents on the ice, but directed at his teammates, bosses, the press, and anyone else in range. His inability to control his tongue, and his short temper, get him sent down from Boston to their minor league team despite his hockey skills. He figures a week or two slap on the wrist is all it will be, and sets about alienating everyone on his new team.
Finding out that not only is there no plan to bring him back up soon, but that the Boston franchise is actively looking to dump him, is a reality check. Spotting a teammate with a great ass, great mouth, and odd hints of kindness even in the face of Vic's assholery is the beginning of changes. Dan is gay, but in the big leagues of hockey, closeted, just as Vic hasn't talked about being bi. But they are too hot, and slowly, too sweet, together, not to try to make something work. The question is, what, in a world where a change of cities can happen to either of them at any moment with barely a day's notice, and where coming out could signal the end of a promising career.
They have a bunch still to work through. Not to mention the way Vic buries his heart layers deep under trash talk, defensiveness, and a bit of drinking here and there. This novella, told in Vic's desperately-ducking-introspection voice, is great fun, and the trio taken together are even more so.
Note that this is an Ellora's Cave release - I have not checked with the author to be sure they are receiving their due royalties from these titles. You might choose to do so first....more