Author: J.L. Merrow
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: July 13, 2018
Genre(s): Paranormal; wolf shifter
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
A race to save his lover—by becoming his own worst nightmare.
Dr. Nick Sewell has it all. Good friends, a career as a Cambridge academic… and recently, a tendency to turn into a wolf every full moon. When a new student arrives from Germany, Nick is horrified by his visceral attraction to the troubled youth—not to mention his violent jealousy when he sees Julian with another man. He’s floored to find out Julian is a werewolf too.
Unlike Nick, Julian has spent his life among other wolves, and in this subject, he’s the teacher and Nick the student. Nick struggles to adjust to this reversal of roles, especially since he’s an alpha and Julian a natural submissive. That dynamic just adds to the attraction smoldering between them, whether they’re in human form or wolf.
But Julian’s pack and the abuse he suffered aren’t far behind him. And the pack wants to reclaim him. For Nick to hold on to his lover, he’ll have to come to terms with the violent acts of his past—and embrace the monster within.
This is a reprint from 2011, originally by Samhaim Publishing now with Dreamspinner Press. This was also one of the first books I read when I discovered the genre, so I was curious to see what I would think now, several years and many, many, books later.
This was just as enjoyable as the first time I read it – Ms. Merrow has a way with stories and characters that just resonates with me. I did find a couple subtle updates (at least to my recollection they were updates), but the overall story didn’t change.
Premise of the book is Dr. Nick Sewell was turned into a werewolf, and to his knowledge, his kind and werewolves in general are far and few between. Then he meets Julian, a student and a submissive werewolf.
While Nick struggles with accepting his wolf and the urges and violence it embodies, Julian is comfortable in both skins. Nick finds himself strongly drawn to the student from Germany, but Julian comes with a dark background that Nick has to come to terms with. Nick isn’t certain he can control his jealously and anger around Julian, Julian doesn’t know how to trust.
I think what drew me to this book, was it has a darker theme than many shifter novels and novellas I’ve read. Outwardly, Nick is a good professor, set in his routines both on campus and with the full moon. As the attraction to Julian grows, the reader finds out Nick has a violent side. One that even he doesn’t trust.
Then there is Julian. The reader learns Julian has a very troubled past (trigger alert – book does reference physical abuse). When Julian doesn’t feel taken care of, he seeks physical affection in others and knows how to play mind games, both of which enrages Nick.
So, yeah, this is a plot which has some darker undertones.
All that being said, I will admit that Julian was not a favorite character. I preferred reading about Nick and his struggles with his transformation, I actually liked Tiffany as a best friend, and I would have enjoyed seeing more Crack who was a curious enigma. There was something about Julian – perhaps how he manipulated people, or he was too submissive for my preference – that just didn’t sit entirely well with me. And that was okay, the plot and other characters were strong enough to carry the book.
And it’s set in Cambridge! Loved reading about students having to pick up their mail, the porter at the gate, staying off the grass and cycling everywhere.
So if you like reading about wolf shifters, don’t mind a darker book, and an English setting, you’ll probably enjoy this one.