Title: Sebastian’s Wolves (Among Wolves #1)
Author: Valentina Heart
Cover Artist: Justin James
Buy link: Amazon.com
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Paranormal M/M
Length: Novella / 168 pages
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
A guest review by Raine
Summary Review : Visiting with Sebastian’s wolves was an intense, intimate experience, which involved a real sense of an exciting and different society.
Sebastian Vory was quite happy with his decision to leave his shifter pack to build a life with his mate Tim. But when an accident takes Tim from Sebastian, the lone wolf is thrown into aimless wandering that leads him to a new pack—and another shifter, Eshan Low. But Eshan has a troubled past, and despite his hopes and wishes, that past has a steel grip. Embroiled in a fight for justice, Sebastian is willing to do anything not to lose another mate, and just this once, luck might smile his way.
Among Wolves Series
“Sebastian’s Wolves” is another vivid interpretation of a werewolf society. The new romantic relationship formed in this story is obviously the main priority but the social setting they are part of is of some importance.This is a world were pack life is family, communal and close, at best it is nurturing, at worst viciously abusive. These are werewolves whose passions are animalistic and violent.
The emotional volume of Valentina Heart’s wolves is wound up high. The expression in the first person emphasizes this. Everything is amped up – anger, sex, grief, violence and tenderness.The opening scene explodes with all of these emotions, caused by domestic troubles, expressed in hot make-up sex. Sebastian and Tim’s relationship is shown in some detail which works to heighten the later loss. Sebastian is a creative wood carver, while Tim works in the city. For eight years they have been together, but separated from their original pack, which had been uncomfortable with their relationship. They had to take part in a ritual fight in order to leave the pack.
Following Tim’s sudden death , a heartbroken Sebastian lives solely as a wolf, lost and confused. After a year, in which he could have lost his humanity and become feral, except for the tie of his all too human grief, he comes across a new pack of werewolves who help him to start healing. The description of the Alpha, Donner and his pack is very well done. I really enjoyed the interaction and warmth shown; there is gossip, matchmaking, teasing, and communal beds.Valentina Heart creates a real sense of otherness- a different but vibrant wolf community.
When Sebastian’s new love Eshan, a refuge from a pack led by an abusive Alpha Dewayne, is introduced – seeking a regime change, although the attraction is instant- it is part of the nature of the werewolf. Indeed although Sebastian has dream premonitions of death, there is no magic in connection with these werewolves. It is nature in the raw , blood driven instinct, tooth and claw.
Sebastian’s new relationship does not blur the strength of his love for Tim and I thought this was sensitively handled.
“Eshan was my heart from the moment I marked him….” but Sebastian realizes it is a different bond to the one he shared with Tim when, ” There had been just the two of us, years of solitude and unconditional love.” He recognises that, ” Eshan was the mate made for the new Sebastian, and Eshan was perfect in every way.”
Sebastian’s relationship with Tim had to involve compromise with the instinctive, communal nature of the wolf . They lived apart from the warmth of a family pack. Within Donner’s pack Eshan and Sebastian can embrace their wolves’ need to be part of a group.
They have to deal within the relationship with the results of Dewayne’s abuse of Eshan. There is mutual healing here.
Sex between the wolves seems to often involve fighting for positions of dominance. The violence of the sex between Sebastian and Eshan is nicely balanced by the tender intimate aftermath, which goes beyond the usual damp towel, and a few kind words.
I liked that Sebastian and Eshen weren’t Alpha wolves or exceptionally strong, just part of the pack. The contrast between Donner, a great character, and an exceptional paternalistic Alpha and Dewayne, the abusive , destructive Alpha is well drawn.
There is a joint campaign of Alphas and Betas from the other territory packs to replace Dewayne. Sebastian is included as he knows the layout of the land and because Eshan had to return to his original pack until the fight starts. This action part of the book is fast moving and dramatic and reinforces Sebastian’s bond to Eshan. The complications from the campaign are eventually and violently resolved to finally give Sebastian’s new life a real chance of success.
I wasn’t always comfortable with the full in your face sexual intensity of Sebastian’s Wolves, but it was tempered with real affection and some humour. I felt the real success of the novel was the creation of Donner’s pack and Sebastian’s chance for a new happy relationship within it.
Very striking cover too.