by Rien Gray
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: October 19, 2021
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
The Hounds of God MC live outside the law and protect their own. They only have three rules:
(1) look out for each other
(2) obey the club president
(3) never show a human your werewolf form.
Christiana Arjean needs to get out. She tried to fix her relationship, but making a break for it is her only shot. She almost doesn’t make it, until a butch biker with a shock of white hair tosses Christiana on the back of her bike. Micah is as mysterious as she is attractive, and Christiana wants to know what’s under that tough exterior.
Micah Nubilo knows a little bit about keeping secrets. Rescuing Christiana is a bad idea, and letting her hang around is even worse. But there’s something calling to Micah: an impossible bond no werewolf should ever feel for a human, even one as beautiful as Christiana.
Their growing intimacy is threatened when they realize their pasts are connected in ways they never could have imagined. Christiana and Micah must fight against threats both outside the pack and inside themselves for a chance at putting it all behind them and finding a way forward—together.
I’m going to be honest: I’m not a big fan of motorcycle club romances. But when I saw this was sapphic werewolf fated-mates MC romance? Sold!
When Christiana’s car breaks down on a long desert highway while running from her abusive cop boyfriend, Micah stops to pick her up, and then, inexplicably, offers to let her stay with her motorcycle club while she gets back on her feet. Despite all the reasons she shouldn’t stay with a stranger, Christiana feels drawn to Micah and can’t help but trust her, even if her club seems a bit incredulous to begin with. But they have good reason to be wary of an outsider: their club is actually a werewolf pack, and revealing themselves to humans is a death sentence. Micah can’t help but want to protect Christiana, though the reason why would probably scare her off forever.
“Baby, we’re the monsters that go bump in the night. You don’t have to be apologizing to us.”
“I only have one monster in my life,” Christiana insists, with far more force than I expect, “and Micah said she’d keep me safe from him.”
Micah’s the alpha of their little pack. She thinks, she plans, and she doesn’t act impulsively – except for one incident she deeply regrets and, now, Christiana. Her pack is happy to camp in the woods in a national park, catching their own meat and bathing in a local lake. For some of them, the pack is their only hope of survival – Connor, for instance, struggles to control his shift, so would’ve been put to death in another pack. Sheltering Christiana may mean bringing more police attention to the pack, the last thing they need. For her part, Christiana thinks there’s something not quite right with how kind Micah is, but the last thing she expects is that they’d turn out to be werewolves.
“My throat tightens as Christiana lays her head against my shoulder. Why would she want eternity after what he’s done to her, what he’s doing now? How would it feel like anything but a trap, escaping one person only to be bound by another?”
Despite the fated mates insta-love, it’s a slow burn romance in terms of their physical relationship, which is shown through their dual first person POVs. For one thing, Micah is hesitant to push Christiana into anything considering she’s just getting out of an abusive relationship, though Micah has other reasons for going slow.
I thought the use of the motorcycle club as a pack was interesting. There’s a bit about the werewolf politics in the book, mostly in regards to the cruel and violent way Micah’s mother controls the northwestern packs. Considering the pack consists of another f/f fated mates couple plus an ace (and possible trans?) and nonbinary characters, it’s definitely got a lot of queer found family feels. Their interactions with each other and with Christiana were one of my favorite parts of the book.
As for cons, a lot of the conflict with the toxic ex didn’t work for me. He knew what bar she worked at, so I was confused as to why she felt safe going back to work and why he never looked for her there. The way that plot line wrapped up at the end also strained my suspense of disbelief.
Overall, I’d give it around 3.5 stars. While I had some issues with the plot around Christiana’s ex, I liked the queer werewolf pack and the development of the relationship between Christiana and Micah. This feels like the start of a new series, and if so, I’ll definitely pick up the next book in the series.
Content notes: View Spoiler »violence (including gun violence), police brutality/harassment, intimate partner violence (physical – up to threats of murder, verbal, emotional),stalking, kidnapping, hunting of animals, mention of biphobia, alcohol « Hide Spoiler