Title: Bayou’s End (Rougaroux Social Club #2)
Author: Lynn Lorenz
Publisher: Hartwood Publishing
Buy Link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary M/M, Paranormal
Length: 170 PDF pages
Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5
Summary Review: Second book in series was a little bit of a let down for various reasons.
Peter Graham’s pack threw him out when they discovered he was gay. Ever since then, Peter’s been adrift. Denying his wolf and being the boy toy of a string of older men is all Peter knows. But when his lover brings another man to their bed, and that man abuses Peter, there’s nothing left for Peter but to run, all the way back to St. Jerome, a small town on the edge of the bayou, where he once painted. He meets Billy Trosclair, a deputy and a werewolf, and discovers the town’s secret — the Rougaroux wolf pack. They have a gay man as their alpha who is mated to a gay man. To Peter this looks like home, but he’s not the type of man either Billy or the pack would want.
Not everyone in the pack is happy about the inclusion of gay werewolves, and Peter joining the pack is seen by some as a threat. Can Billy keep his mate safe until he claims Peter in front of the pack?
Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: male/male sexual practices, sex in shifted form, violence (date rape, beating).
I reviewed the first book in this series, Bayou Dreams here. I found that book to be a unique take on the werewolf trope with the MC being straight, but his wolf leaning towards being gay because his mate was. The story of Scott and Ted was interesting and hit all my werewolf kinks of bonding, claiming and shifters in love. While I did enjoy the second book in this series, Bayou’s End, this book had a completely different tone — it dealt with rape recovery — and so this was a far more serious novel than book one. Now that is not a bad thing, but readers should be aware of it.
The book starts out with Peter Graham, who was introduced in book one as someone who pursued Ted, as he’s running away from his lover, Darcy (another character from book one). From what Peter can remember, Darcy and he were in a club and next thing he knew he was tied up in a hotel room and another man was raping him — with Darcy being present. Broken and hurt, Peter decides to run to New Orleans and find Ted, who he thinks can help him. Little does Peter know that Ted and Scott have become bonded mates and moved to Scott’s hometown, St. Jerome. When he finds this out, Peter goes there only to learn Ted and Scott are out of town. Alone and utterly depressed, Peter meets Billy Trosclair, the acting sheriff and their first meeting sets up the premise that they are mates and belong together. Throw in some homophobia, town folks wanting to kill Peter and a crime that could pull apart Billy and Peter and you have a rollercoaster ride of angst and mystery.
My problem with Bayou’s End was not the sex in shifted form (as wolves they mate) or even the time one is shifted and the other is in human form, but the lack of continuity in the plot. I will explain.
First, the book starts out with Peter as a traumatized rape victim, who is running away from an abusive boyfriend who gave him to some other guy to be raped and beaten. That is some heavy stuff, but instead of following up the rape storyline with Peter learning to cope after his ordeal, Ms. Lorenz has Peter and Billy immediately falling in love and having sex, then bonding. Personally, I found this aspect of the story to be rather unrealistic. I did not care that both Peter and Billy were werewolves and could heal quickly. Yes, Peter’s wounds healed, but mentally? That was never really addressed. It was all Insta-Love and bonding and healing sex without any of the hard worked involved that many rape victims, especially men who under-report the crime most of all, need. I wanted Billy to woo Peter and for them to take their time getting together as Peter recovered, so the Wham-Bam, Thank You, Ma’am tone of their relationship did not work for me. (Which is abnormal, as normally I love a good Insta-Love werewolf book, but in the case of a rape recovery novel, it just did not compute.)
Second, there plotline of Peter’s ex is never again explored. From the set-up of the beginning of the novel, I fully expected Darcy and the rapist to show up in town and that play out. However, Darcy and the guy and what happened in that hotel are seen in a flashback (people who have triggers should avoid that scene), but then that subplot is completely ignored in the rest of the book. There is no justice, no resolution for Peter. In essence he finds Billy and all is well, they fall in love, and the rape is forgotten for the real crux of the book: homophobia within werewolf society.
I do realize that my concerns may not be other readers concerns. And other people may choose to ignore the niggles I had with this book, and that is fine. On the other side, I did enjoy the typical werewolf tropes that were in this book. I liked learning more about Billy’s pack and the people in it. (I especially hope Bobby, the former sheriff and pack Alpha before Scott took over, will get his own book next. His sounds like a fascinating tale.) And for those, who like me, loved Scott’s mother, Mrs. Dupree in book one…she is back! Yes, the Cajun yenta is at work again, casting spells in the swamp and talking to her cat all the while wearing her pink ‘Princess’ slippers. I absolutely adore this character and she is used beautifully in this book for some well needed humor.
Overall, I found Bayou’s End to be an appealing sequel in the werewolf genre. I would have liked to have seen Ted and Scott get a cameo (they are “out of town” for the entire novel), but Billy and Peter’s relationship was interesting enough to pull me into the plot. Despite my concerns about some parts of the plot, Lynn Lorenz delivers a gripping tale of the power of love and redemption. I will be looking forward to book three.