Blurb: One night, Callum is driven into the woods by instinct, an instinct to protect. In the form of wolf, he meets a young human child who he is instantly drawn to in a fierce way he doesn’t quite understand.
Sonia Arlington has lived a lonely life. She has certain abilities that make her strange and she has a rare disease that, if untreated, could kill her. Her father makes her vow that she will never let others discover her abilities. This forces Sonia to stay distant, always guarding against exposure.
Intelligence leaks that Sonia is Callum’s human mate. He is now King of the Werewolves and has war on his hands. He’s forced to claim his mate and integrate Sonia into a world that is strange and frightening.
As Sonia attempts to adjust, Callum attempts to cope with the knowledge that his mate is mortal. He will have her beauty and gentleness only the length of a mortal life making their union unbearably bitter even as Sonia makes it unbelievably sweet.
Review: More often than not, I really enjoy Kristen Ashley, but when I don’t, there are very specific reasons and this book is a classic example of the things I really don’t like about her writing. If anything, this one is probably the worst offender.
What is classic KA is the alpha male. In this case, that is literally as Callum is a werewolf. But there is a gigantic difference between a sexy, bossy alpha male and what essentially amounts to ugly abuse. Sometimes that line can be thin, but there is a definite line. KA likes to skirt that line and when she gets too close to it, I don’t usually like those male characters. For Callum, she went flying over that line with a jet pack.
This book basically states that if you are a female, feel a little different or lonely, that it is okay if the one person that makes you feel less alone treats you like trash and can run roughshod over your feelings, wants and desires. That it is okay to be treated as an object and set aside when you are not currently in need. That it is okay to push you into things that you don’t want, but since they make you feel not alone, that it is a privilege to have to put up with the crap to get the not alone. That is force and coercion and that is not sexy. It is not romantic. It is not sweet. It is ugly.
There is also a very, very thin line when it comes to violent sexual situations. There can be, if it is handled well and carefully, consensual sexual violence, but is should be dealt with carefully, otherwise it is just violence. What happens in this book really isn’t dealt with carefully in any way. It edges in places to being rape, even if Sonia eventually gives in.
It doesn’t matter that there are parts of the romance in this book that are incredibly sweet. It is like telling the abuser that it is okay that he beat the crap out of his wife because he apologized and gave her flowers afterwards. Making the arrogant and controlling attitude seem to be a cultural thing in the werewolf community and that it is just a misunderstanding between the different cultures is just a way make something ugly look not so ugly. You stick flowers in a turd, it is still gong to be a stinking turd.
Unlike so many other KA books, I had a visceral dislike of Callum and found him a truly ugly character, no matter what good parts were tacked onto what is essentially a pretty abuser. So no, I really did not like this book at all.