Author ~ Meg Harding
Publisher ~ Loose Id
Published ~ 21st March 2017
Genre ~ Paranormal M/M Romance
Marcus “Marc” Lacroix, a red panda shifter, knows who Lucas Grayson is, and up until playing with him during the world cup of hockey, didn’t much care for him. But when he finds out the jaguar shifter with the hot body has a personality to match, he’s a bit blown away. A night of celebration leads the two of them to the bedroom, and they discover that one night might not be enough to finish this thing between them.
Passion grows to love and more than a little kink, and the two make things work despite the obstacles standing in their way. Lucas plays for the Aces and Marc for the Hares, the distance and crazy schedules of a pro-hockey player keeping them apart. Lucas discovers it's harder to let go of things than he'd thought. When ill-fate strikes, Lucas spirals and Marc has to try and hold them together. It's one match Marc doesn't know if he'll win.
Marc, a red panda shifter and goalie for the Arizona Hares and Lucas, a jaguar shifter and player for the Las Vegas Aces, are playing together in the World Cup on the Canadian National hockey team. After the last game they drink, they flirt and hook up. Playing for different teams from different states, a relationship isn’t feasible but why say no to some fun when they can have it. The story jumps from meet up to meet up. They only see each other every few months when their teams play, but are soon regularly texting and spending some time together over the summer. It’s a pretty straightforward romance and covers about three years as their relationship progresses, feelings become involved, and they explore a D/s relationship with Marc needing to give up control and Lucas willing to dominate him. Eventually life happens and the situation changes with Lucas and Marc living together and planning out their futures as individuals and as a couple and hoping things will work out.
There is not much world building (although after reading the story I did find out that there was a previous short story dealing with two of Marc’s teammates, so perhaps some more information was presented there). We are briefly told what we need to know: the hockey league is all shifters, who are known to humans and most humans accept shifters but some still don’t. There is no shifter and human interaction in the stories other than one minor character. There are scenes where Marc is in his shifted form, needing cuddle time and comfort, and there are one or two times where Lucas is in his jaguar form, but I never got a real feel for Lucas’ jaguar side. There actually were times where I forgot these guys were shifters. Their shifts occur with just a sentence telling us they shifted, we see other players in their shifted forms, otters, chipmunks, foxes and are told about the bears, but I wanted to be a bit more immersed in that shifter world. I didn’t feel like there was much of a difference between Lucas having a jaguar nature and Marc being a red panda as the scenes where they are shifted are really about the cuddling. Yes it was cute, but I wanted to feel the shifter vibe a bit more.
To me, it felt like the story was told in two parts. The first half of the book is hot and adorable with Marc and Lucas exploring and enjoying each other and falling in love, Marc figuring out his need to give up control Lucas enjoying the domination (the D/s is fairly light, some spanking and control), navigating a long-distance relationship and hiding it from teammates and friends. This part of the story worked very well for me and I felt like I was experiencing the relationship and the necessary separation the way the men were.
The second part of the story becomes a bit more serious and brings up a lot of issues. Unfortunately it also skirts around a lot of the issues and continues jumping in time from moment to moment. When something is mentioned that was usually the end of it. For instance a discussion between Marc and his friend about dealing with their mates bad habits or about Lucas becoming addicted to video games. They are mentioned and then the story skips ahead a few months and is onto something new. I really wanted to see the two men working a bit more on the ins and outs of the new dynamics of their relationship once they are living together and working through Lucas’ issues.
Overall I enjoyed the story. The first 60 percent or so was a big win for me, the men had great chemistry with just enough kink to heat things up, and their emerging feelings played out well. Marc has a good relationship with his roommate Chris and he has supportive teammates. The scenes where they shift and use their cuteness as a weapon or just to blow off steam were adorable and gave me a taste of a shifter world I’d like to be immersed in. I just wish the later parts of the book had been a bit more focused on working through things and that I had gotten a better feel for the shifter natures of Marc and Lucas. There was enough that I liked here that if there is more to come in this world I would definitely give it another go.
Meet Meg Harding
Meg Harding is a graduate of UCF, and recently completed a masters program for Publishing in the UK. For as long as she can remember, writing has always been her passion, but she had an inability to ever actually finish anything. She’s immensely happy that her inability has fled and looks forward to where her mind will take her next. She’s a sucker for happy endings, the beach, and superheroes. In her dream life she owns a wildlife conservation and is surrounded by puppies. She’s a film buff, voracious reader, and a massive geek.