Author ~ Kaje Harper
Publisher ~ MLR Press
Published ~ 7th September 2016
Genre ~ Paranormal M/M Romance, Shifters
Stepping out of the closet as a gay man may be a walk in the park, compared to coming out as a werewolf.
From the moment artist Dylan Shore arrives in Chicago, his life gets twisted like a kaleidoscope. Why does a street gang he's never met want him dead? Why is a hot but odd mathematician stalking him? And how can half the things Alex Corwin says possibly be true, no matter how honest he seems?
Alex has a frightening dilemma. Dylan is attractive, appealing, out and proud. He's also completely unaware that he's a werewolf. It shouldn't be Alex's job to tell him, and warn him that gay wolves usually end up dead. But someone has to, before he finds out in blood and violence.
Chicago's not Alex's home town, but somehow he needs to protect Dylan from the local packs, protect the Packs from being outed by Dylan, and keep his cool around the first man to touch his own deeply-closeted heart.
This is book four in the series and having read only the first book beforehand, I had no trouble jumping right into the story (and will absolutely be going back to read the second and third books). If you are starting here, you should know that in this world, wolves are born and cannot be made by a bite or otherwise, so mating ensures survival. Wolves are always male and the result of mating with a human female and traditionally, gay wolves were executed when they were discovered. This has started to change, but being gay for a wolf is still a potential death sentence. The wolves are hidden from humans, but are aware that with technology and science, they won’t be able to remain that way and are planning for a reveal or being revealed.
Dylan is 24 and oblivious to the fact that he is a werewolf. His father died when he was a child and his mother had him and his half-sister constantly on the run from this father’s “dangerous family”. She never really told him anything else about them before her death. He is in Chicago getting his sister settled at school, with plans to return home to Canada, when he has a run in with a gang at the zoo and is saved from their pursuit by Alex.
Alex immediately knows Dylan is a wolf, but is at a loss how to how Dylan doesn’t know it and how to tell him. Alex is only in Chicago to work for a while and plans to return to his pack in Seattle, where he is happy to be Fourteenth in the pack. He feels no need to rise any further in the pack. He also has no intention to come out to his family or pack and has remained firmly in the closet out of fear. Now Dylan is testing all his resolve.
As Alex tries to figure out how to break the news to Dylan about his wolf side, they are also trying to hide from the Chicago pack since Dylan, in his cluelessness, has not paid due respect. That soon turns out to be the least of their problems however. As they give in to their attraction and Alex finally opens up about his sexuality all kinds of madness breaks out around them. When Alex tries to mate bond Dylan in order to be able to track him, something goes wrong and leads to an interesting situation for the couple.
Kaje Harper does something I’ve never read before when she turns the usual alpha/beta wolf dynamic upside down as Alex, who is naturally more submissive, is thrust into the dominant alpha role with Dylan, who is naturally more dominant in personality, but naïve as far as all things wolf are concerned. In the bedroom, however, the virginal Alex is free to be his more submissive self with Dylan as the dominant partner. With the narrative having dual points of view I ate up all the interactions between these two. There is a lot going on that pushes Alex and Dylan together very quickly, but I never felt that their relationship was rushed. I loved the sort of ebb and flow of their dominance and submission in both their, for lack of a better explanation, wolf and personal lives.
There is definitely a love story here, but there is also a lot of plot that deals with the politics of packs and the eventual coming out of these hidden werewolves. There is also Dylan being forced to face this unknown side of himself under incredibly tense circumstances. I don’t want to spoil anything, but you’re in for plenty of action, danger and surprising, shocking moments. The couples from the prior stories are back and involved, and what little I learned of Aaron and Zach and Ethan and Brandt has me looking forward to going back to read their stories.
Kaje Harper’s writing is always wonderful, with plenty of plot detail to help immerse the reader in this world of Hidden Wolves. I’d love to tell you all about the story, but no spoilers here, suffice to say I’d absolutely recommend this to shifter fans, especially if you’re looking for something that goes beyond the instant “mine” and mating and delves more into the world these characters inhabit and the reality of how it affects all aspects of their lives.
Connect with Kaje Harper
I live in Minnesota, where the two seasons are Snow-removal and Road-repair, the mosquito is the state bird, and where sometimes in winter it can be breathtakingly beautiful. Of course, the deepfreeze chill contributes to the breath-taking, but Minnesota's a kindly, quiet place and it's home to me now. I've been writing for far longer than I care to admit (*whispers - forty years*), mostly for my own entertainment, and currently am focused on M/M romance (with added mystery, fantasy, history, SciFi...) I also have a few Young Adult stories released under the pen name Kira Harp.
My first professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out from MLR Press in May 2011. My husband finally convinced me that after all that time writing, I really should submit something, somewhere. I was thrilled when it was accepted. I have a weakness for closeted cops with honest hearts, and teachers who speak their minds, and I had fun writing the four novels and three freebie short stories in the series. I've been just delighted by the reception Mac and Tony have received.
My first free book became the first story that I actually released - I put it up a month before Life Lessons just for the fun of getting it out there. Lies and Consequences began as a reaction to the November 2010 election. It looked like the repeal of DADT might be derailed by the political shift and I put the insanity of that law into the book. Then as I was finishing the first draft in mid-December the repeal passed. Which was great, but prompted a rewrite to a lighter and more action/romance book. This was a solo effort and I learned a lot from writing and releasing it and from the reviews. Check Smashwords for that one and many of my other freebies.
I now have a decent backlist in ebooks and print, both free and professionally published. A complete list with links can be found on my Books page. This writing thing is addictive. So read, comment, tell me what you like and what you don't, and help me make the upcoming books even better.
You can find me to chat on my author page here on Goodreads most easily - I hang out on Goodreads a lot because I moderate the Goodreads YA LGBT Books group there. I also post free short YA stories on that group, more than 50 of them so far.