Author: Caitlin Ricci & A.J. Marcus
Cover Artist: unknown
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 05/15/2016
Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)
Genre: Gay Romance, Paranormal
Morris intends to stay in his arranged mating for a month, but his new mate has other ideas.
Since he was seventeen, Morris has been working as an escort for Critters on Call. It was the best way for him to get away from his abusive father, but going all over the world for his clients has kept him away from his brother who hasn’t been the same since the last beating their father gave him. His brother, Jeremy, is in one of the best care centers in the world. But that level of care is expensive, and their uncle, who is in charge of paying for Jeremy’s bills, has come for Morris. For years he was allowed to live his life with the knowledge that Jeremy was being taken care of, but now unless Morris agrees to an arranged mating to an elk in Washington, and pretends to be a virgin on top of it all, their uncle is threatening to move Jeremy out of the care center and into somewhere horrible.
Harrison isn’t sure why the African shifters are seeking mates within the Washington elk herd, and he doesn’t much care, either. All he wants is to make his family happy, and that means being mated to an elephant he’s never met. Having his own modified version of virginity has always been fine with him, up until he realizes that being with Morris for the first time could have been great. But Morris is nothing like he expected either, and once they get the initial awkwardness out of the way, Harrison is excited to spend his life with his new mate.
But Morris has other plans. The deal he made with his uncle was to be mated for a month, and he’s counting down the days. Then control over Jeremy’s life will transfer to him and they can finally be free of their family’s abuse. It would have been a good plan, too, and one he could have lived with, if his past as an escort hadn’t come back at the worst possible time.
I recently (okay not so recently… unless your definition of recent is pretty loose) reviewed the first two books in the Ricci/Marcus collaboration Signed, Sealed, Delivered. I was curious as I finished book two where they were going to take the series since the obvious pairings were both exhausted in books one and two.
In book three we revisit a rent boy, Morris, who was kind to Leo as he was living in abuse hell. Don’t worry we get to see the two couples from the first book as well.
I have mixed feelings on this installment of the story. The whole arranged mates trope is getting a little old, because there are only so many ways you can pair a mostly unwilling mate with one who is clueless of the customs of the other one. On the other hand, I am more intrigued by WHY these American elk/African shifter matings are happening. As we have seen from Patching Up and Watchers (two stories set in the same universe as SSD, but not strictly related), forced matings are not typical in the American shifter groups. I am also now interested in Morris’ brother’s story. In why he was kept in his state as long as he was.
In short, I never connected with Morris and Harrison as a couple, but they are means to further the overall story arc. I am interested enough to continue the series when the next installment is available.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
One random commenter with thoughtful, relevant comments will win a $25 gift certificate each month in 2016.
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