Title: Hidden Wolves Series
Author: Kaje Harper
Publisher: MLR Press
Cover Artist: Winterheart Designs
Rating: 4.75 of 5 Stars
Simon Conley was born a werewolf, making him one of a tiny minority in a sea of vanilla humans. The safety of the pack lies in absolute secrecy, sometimes violently enforced. In a species where pack-members are born and not made, being gay is considered a perversion. So when Simon falls in love with a human man, he’s twice damned. Even his Alpha’s grudging tolerance may not be enough to shield him from the hatred of the other top wolves. Then his lover Paul stumbles across pack secrets Simon was sworn to keep, and if the pack finds out, they may both end up dead.
*Contains Spoilers for Unacceptable Risk – Hidden Wolves book 1
Paul Hunter just spent two days as a captive to werewolves, his life hanging in the balance, a witness to crimes and craziness. Now he’s back in his regular life, and living with Simon, the man he’s been falling for. And he’s part of a werewolf pack. He needs his brain to somehow catch up with all of that.
Simon thought saving his human mate from his own pack would be the hardest thing he’d face with Paul, but he’s beginning to realize that was just the beginning. He has to figure out how their future will work, and convince his skittish lover that staying with the pack is better than leaving it, while hints of threats to Paul’s safety keep him awake at night. Fortunately Simon is up for the challenge.
Becoming Alpha made Aaron responsible for protecting his new pack against outside threats, but fighting his own desires might pose an even bigger challenge.
When Aaron took down a crazy dominant wolf and inherited half a pack, he knew the Alpha job wasn’t going to be easy. A week later, he’s finding out what an understatement that was. Having a gay wolf in his pack brings lethal threats from other werewolves. Then humans locate his wolves and move in to try to capture and exploit one of them. Aaron has enough pressure and demands without letting his long-suppressed sexuality escape his rigid control. But keeping his distance from a young man who appeals to all his senses could be Aaron’s biggest challenge.
This story follows, and contains spoilers for, Unexpected Demands – Hidden Wolves Book 2.
Werewolf packs traditionally stay aloof from one another, but gossip still spreads like wildfire. Whispers and rumors about Simon and his mate-bonded male lover, and the pack’s experiences with human were-hunters, are still making the rounds. Aaron, the Alpha of Minneapolis West, would love to see his pack’s fame fade into the past. But the arrival of two strange wolves makes it clear that for some outsiders, his pack is still considered a pariah, or a threat. For others, it has unwanted appeal.
I am not a huge connoisseur of shifter books. As such, when I encounter one, I don’t have a lot of others to which to compare and am, therefore, free to simply read and enjoy the story for what it is. I have been on a bit of a werewolf kick as of late and have read a number of different takes on the shifter and werewolf mythos. I know many people have very strong opinions about how things “should” work in the world of shifters, but I enjoy seeing the different ways each author can make the trope his or her own.
I have had Unacceptable Risk and Unexpected Demands on my TBR for a while. First my lack of affection for shifter stories kept me from reading them. Then, I just forgot about them. However, after reading the Tameness of the Wolf series from Kendal McKenna, I have been on a bit of a tear to read every shifter book I have. Well maybe not everyone, but a lot of them.
I have enjoyed other offerings from Kaje Harper and the Hidden Wolves series is no different, in that respect. She creates a rich, full world that keeps me wanting more from the first words until the end of the last page. I could certainly see continuing this series, but I respect that she has ended it where she has, specifically staying away from making the West pack the “Gay” pack for the nation.
There are some aspects of the world that I really enjoyed. First of all, I loved that the mates were chosen, not fated. I loved that everything was not pretty and tied up in a bow just because the storyline was coming to a close. I loved that Paul is never completely comfortable with all aspects of the shifter pack, even though he is mated to Simon. I loved that Megan and Paul stand up for themselves as mates and pack members.
All around, there was a lot to love in these stories.
Unacceptable Risk introduces us to Paul and Simon. They meet as Wolf and Veterinarian, become friends as humans, and become more as pack. Simon is a wolf, he can’t get around that, he also can’t get around the fact that he has feeling for Paul, a human. There is just that little problem that Paul can never find out about the little wolf thing. Of course, Paul, being too smart and curious for anyone’s own good, find out and all hell breaks loose.
I went into this series expecting only to review the main works in the series, but quickly decided to include the (free) minor works as well, as I fell they truly add to the world Harper has created.
Unsettled Interlude is where we see some of the struggles Paul and Simon face after their rushed mating and life and death struggle. We also begin to see the dynamics of the new pack. While it does not stand on its own, I highly recommend reading it between Risk and Demands to better understand the characters going into Unexpected Demands.
I am always curious how the author is going to handle additional gay characters when they build an uber-masculine world to begin with. Harper does an admirable job in making be believe that there is not one but two gay werewolves in the newly formed West Pack. There is a bit of lust and longing that takes place off screen and we are made to believe without proof, but that is a minor thing as the tension between Aaron and his soon to be love interest ratchets up. Of course will the aforementioned hell breaking loose, how will Aaron be able to handle his own closeted status.
Unwanted Appeal is not simple long epilogue to Unexpected Demands, we watch the pack grow together, Aaron grow and struggle as Alpha, and Aaron and Zach grow as a couple in this installment.
This review is based on a copy purchased by the reviewer independent of any review copies offered.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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