Title: Bayou Loup (Rougaroux Social Club #3)
Author: Lynn Lorenz
Cover Artist: April Martinez
Buy Link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary M/M, Paranormal
Length: 218 pages
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
A guest review by Lasha
Summary Review: The third book in this series gets the franchise back on track, but still has some growing pains.
After spending a hot, no-holds-barred sex-filled weekend at a hotel with a man he only knows as Mark, werewolf Bobby Cotteau isn’t sure but he thinks he’s found a new mate. Problem is he never got his lover’s real name. Or his phone number, or even where he lives. But that’s not Bobby’s only problem.
Mark is Professor Mark Bradford, and he’s spent his career as a zoologist trying to prove there are wolves living in the swamps around St. Jerome. If he can do this, he’ll make a name for himself, restore his reputation and maybe even name them after his father, who was killed by a wolf during a camping trip in the swamp with a teenaged Mark. But after a weekend of the best sex of his life, Mark’s fallen hard for Bobby, but without the man’s real name, he has no hopes of ever seeing him again. And the longer they’re apart, the more desperate he is to find Bobby. It’s like he’s under some kind of spell.
Meanwhile, at the Rougaroux Social Club’s yearly Rugarou Festival, which Bobby is in charge of, everything is falling apart. The forecast is for storms, the Virgin Mary has appeared a tree on the festival grounds at the church, pilgrims are swarming, and beer is being sold…and his new mate is about to expose Bobby’s pack to the world.
This is the third installment in the Rougaroux Social Club series. I reviewed the first book here, and loved the concept that the hero’s wolf was gay, but not the man. This is a theme throughout the books, or: “The wolf wants what the wolf wants.” An interesting twist on the Gay-For-You trope in my opinion.
Bayou Loup is Bobby Cotteau’s story. The former sheriff and alpha of St. Jerome finally finds love a few years after his wife and mate dies. While Bobby always knew he was gay, his wolf fell in love with his wife, they mated and they were happy for many years until her passing. But now Bobby has the chance to explore his homosexuality and first time out, he meets Mark Bradford and they agree to a strings-free weekend fling…that winds up turning into a couple of weekends as their chemistry is off the charts. As Bobby slowly begins to realize that Mark is his true mate, Mark’s past threatens the St. Jerome pack…and Bobby’s very life.
As with the other books, I thought Ms. Lorenz’s take on werewolf bonding/mating was unique. Scott Dupree from the first book (Bobby’s successor as alpha in the pack) was straight, but when he met his mate his wolf wanted the other man and as much as Scott fought it, in the end, the mating bond and love won out. In this version, Bobby knew he was gay, had sexual encounters with other men, but once his wolf met his future wife, that was it. Bobby got married and was very happy until she died. Here comes the second unique concept: an unmated wolf slowly dies, or turns rogue and is put down by the pack. So, when Bobby meets Mark and realizes they are mates, it is life and death for him that his wolf claim Mark. In my estimation, Ms. Lorenz has created a distinctive mythology in the wolves of St. Jerome that bucks the traditional werewolf tropes.
But despite my great love for the world building in this series, there were some issues with characterization that ultimately brought the book’s rating down for me. While readers of the series have a background on Bobby, we get little characterization on Mark until the near end of the book. The first 30% of Bayou Loup is the sex between Mark and Bobby, and while completely hot, I never understood why Bobby’s wolf fell in love with Mark. The men know very little about each other outside of the bedroom. And while I love Instana-Love/Mates as much as the next shifter fanatic, I wanted more interaction that did not involve sex to draw me into Mark and Bobby’s relationship.
Now, my favorite character from the series, Mrs. Dupree (Scott’s mom) is back and causing trouble, plus Scott and his partner Ted make appearances, so fans of those characters will be happy, but overall I was a little disappointed with Bobby’s story. That is not saying I am not recommending this book because I am, but be aware there are still some aspects of the book that failed to live up to book one’s brilliance in my opinion.