Release Date: February 19, 2017
Length: Novel (154 pages)
Genre: Paranormal M/M romance
Cover Art: Lou Harper
Blurb: When Nox was fourteen, his brother Joth murdered their older brother, their mother, and a human girl. Nox survived, but the attack wrecked his womb. Shattered, Nox rejected the pack who fumbled helping a barren, grief-stricken omega cope. He built a new purpose for himself as a master craftsman. Mating? No thanks. He’s better off alone.
Humans studied Joth in prison until his father’s death ended the weekly visits. Joth demands Nox in their father’s stead in exchange for resuming therapy and tests… thereby risking the destruction of Nox’s carefully ordered world. Again.
The pack drafts alpha fixer Dio to untangle the mess. One sniff of the wary omega convinces him Nox is his mate. New medical treatments offer a slim possibility Nox could bear children, but if the past years taught shifters anything, it is an omega’s value is greater than his fertility. Reconciling Nox with his pack is more important. Laying to rest the ghosts haunting Nox is too. Learning to trust? Vital.
Dio just needs to coax Nox into one last try.
Content Warning: Omega mpreg and fertility themes, dubious consent, shifter knotting, an omega who rejects labels, and a bewildered alpha who wouldn’t have it any other way
A broken Omega wolf shifter finds some measure of peace and falls for his Alpha mate. Sounds pretty typical, doesn’t it? But it’s not. Kari Gregg has a way of twisting what readers expect from a shifter book and delivering something that feels new and fresh every time. And that’s certainly true here. This is in no way a fluffy, insta-love, shifter romance. The tone and themes are a lot darker but are ultimately hopeful.
This book will put you off balance. It’s meant to. Readers have to infer and assemble the world-building on their own. Nothing is spoon fed or neatly packaged, you just have to figure things out as you go. It perfectly mimics how Nox feels as the story unfolds. He’s perpetually confused and anxious even in his own little world, which is not surprising considering the trauma he’s survived. But over the course of the story, his understanding of himself and the world around him continues to grow.
Because the book is only told from Nox’s view, Dio starts out as something of an enigma. And again I think readers are meant to feel the way Nox does. He doesn’t get Dio either at first but as the story moves forward more and more pieces of the puzzle fall into place until Dio becomes more three dimensional. Both of these heroes are flawed and make mistakes, but they work hard to get better at the relationship thing. Shifters in couples therapy talking about their problems and learning better coping strategies was great to see. Love wasn’t a magical panacea and they were both works-in-progress to the end.
My major criticism of the book is the lack of actual romance. Readers never see enough moments of connection and understanding that make a romance satisfying, except during sex. We’re told about a few after the fact, but we don’t witness them first-hand and that’s a shame. In that respect, it kept me from connecting to these characters as much as I wanted.
Please note that the Mpreg in this book is theoretical, tho it does deal with infertility, sort of, in the context of the effects of Joth’s attack.
The cover is quite good with just the right balance between beauty and creepy. Yes, there’s probably a little too much going on, but I like it even so.
FWIW – After I write a review, I take a minute to scan through the existing Goodreads reviews to make sure I haven’t missed something important. To the folks asking for a Joth book… No. Just no. Joth isn’t a misunderstood kid rebelling against the constraints of shifter society. He is a true psychopath with no empathy or conscience. He murdered his mother, brother and a human girl then maimed Nox when he was THIRTEEN. There’s no happy ending for someone like him, there can’t be. Some characters and some people are beyond redemption.