Title: Reluctant Mate
Author: Eden Cole
Cover Artist: Amanda Kelsey
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary M/M, Paranormal
Length: 17,781 words
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
A guest review by Lasha
Summary Review: Typical werewolf mating story, but this one had an unique twist that I enjoyed.
Protecting his family’s future meant taking a mate, but he never counted on his mate being another man.
When Gray’s father informs him he needs to take a mate, he has no problem with it. He’d been thinking it was time to find a permanent partner to bond with. An alliance with one of the most influential wolf shifter families in New Orleans was a good move to protect his people if ever their secret existence was revealed. However, when his father told him he’d have to mate with the head of the Cain family, Gray drew the line. He would not under any circumstances ever mate with a man!
After glancing back at all my reviews here on Jessewave, it seems a good majority of the books I read have vampires or werewolves in them. Well, Reluctant Mate will not be the exception. This time it’s wolf shifters!
Set in New Orleans, Gray is ordered by his wealthy father to take a mate. Reluctantly Gray agrees, figuring it will be some social butterfly with more family money than sense, but is utterly surprised when his father tells him he’s going to bond with a man to tie their two socially prominent families together! To say Gray is unhappy is an understatement. He’s not gay, has no desire to be with a man and tells his father so. His father ignores him and Gray leaves wondering how he can fulfill his duty to his family line if he’s all but married to a guy.
Enter Lucas Cain, Gray’s future mate. Lucas, on the other hand, has no say in whether he can turn down Gray’s father’s offer. He can’t. With the entire Cain family depending on him to pull them out of poverty and save their ancestral home, Lucas has no choice. However, he’s determined not to be some ‘quivering virginal bride’ on his wedding night, so he seeks out Gray to see if they could be compatible. Here’s where the plot gets interesting and takes the werewolf bonding trope and twists it all up. There is no Instant-Love or immediate bonding. Yes, Gray and Lucas have sex, just to see if they could do it at all, after all they are both straight men, right? And the sex? Nothing Earth shattering.
Yep, you read that right. No bells, whistles or falling in love declarations after their first time together. The sex doesn’t suck, but moonbeams don’t go off either. Gray thinks he’s find an out of their “arranged marriage,” as he tells his father that Lucas and he are not compatible in the sack. Is Gray off the hook? Absolutely not. Dad is too crafty for that. He tells Gray they need more practice! At that pronouncement, I was won over.
The rest of the book is Gray and Lucas “practicing” and coming to terms with their impending bonding.
First, I enjoyed the fact that Reluctant Mate tried something different than the usual bonding/mating/love-you-forever-the-instant-we-hook-up plot. Gray and Lucas have to work on their relationship, inside the bedroom and outside. Second, wolf shifters, first times and arranged marriage are favorite tropes of mine…so that had me right there. My big niggle, and the reason why I did not rate this novella higher, was the ending. It felt rushed and a tad bit clichéd. Everything up to that point was different than the usual tropes, but the end sort of went back to the typical werewolf bonding stories that you’d expect and I was disappointed since the first half of the novel bucked those clichés.
So, recommended, with provisions.
Book is released February 9, 2012.