We read and review for the love and joy of books.
Genre: M/M Paranormal
In the world of Axel’s Pup, werewolves are recognized by humans, but they have to abide by Anti-Pack Laws, laws that were created by humans to keep wolves under control. One such law is that no more than two wolves can reside in any one location, thereby eliminating the possibility of a pack forming. Another law is that every wolf will have the surname Wolf, and it will be clearly stated on their driver’s licenses so anyone asking for ID will automatically know. Another affects how a wolf can handle himself with humans who challenge him. Wolves are allowed to take bets, an exchange of funds on a dare by a human to a wolf. But a wolf has no rights if a human harms him. In short, wolves exist but have no voice.
Bayden Wolf is familiar with all these laws, and as the story opens we see him come into the Dragon’s Lair, a biker club bar where he’s actually hoping to take on some bets to raise much-needed money to help support his mother and dying grandfather. There he meets Axel Carmichael, a gorgeous man who Bayden immediately identifies as more dominant than any other man in the room, and from the moment he meets Axel’s eyes, he’s a goner. He’d love nothing better than to submit to this man, and though he doesn’t know it at the time, Axel wants him just as badly.
The Dom sees Bayden as much more than a wolf. He sees a submissive in need of a Dom, but he’s a submissive who happens to be a dominant wolf and it will take kid gloves to bring this pup to heel. Slowly, in a very careful and well thought-out process, Axel begins to build Bayden’s trust, but it’s a difficult road for both men to follow when outside forces constantly interfere, and though Axel wants to claim Bayden as his submissive, he’s willing to wait until Bayden can fully understand the concepts of a full time D/s relationship and be willing to surrender complete control to Axel.
Bayden’s ability to be truthful with Axel is hampered by his distrust of humans, a distrust well-earned as we see when he’s stopped by cops as he’s driving with the biker club through his hometown. And, he’s hiding a few major secrets, among them the fact that he’s not the spoiled rich boy Axel assumed him to be. He’s also the sole support of his mother and dying grandfather, and he’ll do anything to earn enough money to be sure they are okay, including taking bets and doing dangerous scenes with would-be Doms.
With extreme care and patience, Axel learns how a dominant wolf would behave and emulates that behavior every time he needs to make a decision on how to give Bayden praise, penance, or punishment. He goes so far as to eventually meet Bayden’s mother and confirm his commitment to Bayden in her presence. As he grows to love Bayden deeply, he realizes his ultimate goal is to have Bayden as his collared submissive for a lifetime together. The journey toward this goal is long and arduous, but the author captured my attention very early in the story and kept me interested as Axel worked to claim his pup one step at a time.
I enjoyed the fact that the author did not rush this process at all, and thankfully, there was no insta-love or insta-sex. Instead, there was patience and restraint, healing and nurturing, give and take, and both inside and outside conflict and resolution. In addition, the secondary characters were engaging and interesting, lending support to the story without overpowering it, and at least four of them could potentially return in a future story. I hope!
One downside that I hate to even mention is the editing, but since this is self-published, it may help the author in the future—an additional proofread before publication would have improved the book. There were more typos than I expected, and at least two cases of character confusion. It was not only the simple use of “through” instead of “though”, it was phrases like “he turned his hand and let the tiny mental points catch the light” (should have been metal) which pulled me out of the scene. There were quite a few, and they dropped the story from a 5 to 4.5 for me because they disrupted my reading enjoyment.
However, overall, I do highly recommend this book. Over and above the fact that this is a very intriguing shifter and BDSM story, it is a beautiful love story, one that all lovers of M/M romance should check out. If Ms. Dare creates sequels in this shifter world, they’ll be right at the top of my wish list for sure.