A big welcome to Eli Easton as part of her tour with Signal Boost Promotions for How to Run With The Wolves, which is book 5 in the series.
I’m reviewing book 1 – How To Howl At The Moon.
Sheriff Lance Beaufort is not going to let trouble into his town, no sir. Tucked away in the California mountains, Mad Creek has secrets to keep, like the fact that half the town consists of ‘quickened’—dogs who have gained the ability to become human. Descended on both sides from Border Collies, Lance is as alert a guardian as they come.
Tim Weston is looking for a safe haven. After learning that his boss patented all of Tim’s work on vegetable hybrids in his own name, Tim quit his old job. A client offers him use of her cabin in Mad Creek, and Tim sees a chance for a new start. But the shy gardener has a way of fumbling and sounding like a liar around strangers, particularly gorgeous alpha men like Sheriff Beaufort.
Lance’s hackles are definitely raised by the lanky young stranger. He’s concerned about marijuana growers moving into Mad Creek, and he’s not satisfied with the boy’s story. Lance decides a bit of undercover work is called for. When Tim hits a beautiful black collie with his car and adopts the dog, its love at first sight for both Tim and Lance’s inner dog. Pretending to be a pet is about to get Sheriff Beaufort in very hot water.
I got hooked on this story very quickly. I love the idea of a town of quickened dogs, especially with the way the quickened still portray their origins, and the breed of their inner dog in their personalities. I also liked how their dog is like a second inner personality and, if motivated by love and loyalty, won’t always stay hidden when their human wants them to be.
The world building is fabulous, and I’m very happy I have the rest of the series to look forward to, and read. I loved the family feel of the pack, and how they protect their own, which includes humans who aren’t quickened.
The characters were very endearing, although I did want to tell Lance to stop being so stubborn, and suspicious of Tim. He’s so in denial, and clueless about relationships and people. I really felt for Tim with his past, his horrible ex-boss, and his family history, and knew Lance posing as ‘Chance’ was going to cause more trouble than solve it. I liked how Tim was just as stubborn as Lance, and wouldn’t take any nonsense from him. His reactions felt very realistic, given his background.
I loved the supporting cast, especially Lance’s mother, Lily. She rocks and has her son completely sussed out. Her plan to ensure him and Tim get together is in equal parts amusing and disturbing, but in a very good way. Bill, the human vet married to a quickened, also deserves a mention. The suggestions he gave Tim about dog care, knowing full well who Chance is, were delightfully evil. I really liked his sense of humour, and how he is able to give Tim an insight into the Mad Creek community from the perspective of someone who was once an outsider and is now part of the pack.
The epilogue was very satisfying, and really shows how far Tim and Lance have both come since the beginning of the story.
I have so much love for this dog shifter story with its wonderfully quirky characters, and I recommend it to readers who enjoy angst and humour in their paranormal romance reads. One of my favourite reads this year. 5 out of 5 stars.
Cover Design: Reese Dante
Howl At The Moon Series
How To Howl At The Moon (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK
How To Walk Like A Man (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK
How To Wish Upon A Star (Book #3) Amazon US | Amazon UK
How To Save A Life (Book #4) – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Zeus loves his job on the Mad Creek Search & Rescue team, and his inner Saint Bernard is finally being used to his full potential. When he sees a mysterious and wild-looking quickened—a dog shifter—at an earthquake site in Alaska, Zeus is compelled to investigate. Zeus falls hard for the primal beauty of Timo and of Alaska itself. Both call to his deep canine soul. But the Qimmig pack’s laws are as harsh as the Alaskan winters, and Timo is out of his reach.
The next morning, Zeus woke again at dawn. He looked at the ceiling of the little hut, knowing today was the day. This morning, in fact. Real life called, and it was time for Zeus’s human, adult side to take the reins.
Timo had hopped into bed with him again last night, both of them so tired they’d fallen asleep immediately. He’d rolled away at some point, too hot to puppy pile, and now he lay on his stomach, face turned away.
The bed was so warm and cozy, with Timo’s radiating heat and the cool morning air in the room. And Zeus’s dog was still sore and tired. But all good things must end. With a sigh, Zeus got up. He put on his clothes and went out to take a piss.
When he came back inside, Timo was sitting up, rubbing his face. “It’s early. Let’s sleep some more.”
Zeus shook his head. “Can you drive me back to Yakatuk this morning? I have to get back to my team.”
Timo’s face fell. He blinked a few times, then looked away, gazing at the wall and yawning casually as if he didn’t care. But Zeus didn’t quite believe it.
“I will come back.” Timo hopped out of bed and moseyed to the door of the hut, rubbing his naked hip as if there was a sore spot there.
Zeus averted his eyes. Eventually.
Dressed, there was nothing else for him to do but wait. So he tossed the blanket back over the bed and sat down on it gingerly. Man, his forearms were crazy sore today! They always got that way when he overdid it on all fours. They weren’t used to being weight-bearing appendages.
From outside, bird tweets filled the air, and sunlight gleamed around the edges of the ill-fitting door. Zeus had a feeling he’d dream about this place—and about Timo—for a very long time to come.
He rubbed his chest. Why did he feel so sad? Ugh. His inner dog would have to be drug away from this place as though on a leash.
Timo came back in. He didn’t look at Zeus but went to his clothes and pulled on a pair of jeans. They fit him so well and he looked particularly good in them with bare feet and bare chest, his long hair brushing his pale yellow skin.
Zeus looked down at his knees, frowning. “Sorry you have to drive me back. I bet we can get some gas in—oof!”
Timo tackled him onto his back on the bed. He tickled Zeus’s stomach, which made Zeus laugh, and then hovered over him, arms straight, elbows locked. He grinned. “Let’s play. Change into your fur. We can run in the woods. There’s a place I want to show you. It’s not far.”
Zeus looked up at Timo’s smile, his stomach doing lazy swoops. Timo’s long hair hung down and brushed the side of Zeus’s face, causing a shivery little flash of electricity.
“Stay one more day? Please?” Timo pouted, his eyes at maximum puppy dog.
Zeus swallowed and dared reach up to rub a long strand of Timo’s hair between his fingers. It was so coarse and strong, yet silky too. He searched Timo’s eyes and found determination there. Maybe even possessiveness. But why? Timo and Yuki both seemed to want Zeus in the pack. Was it just as another male hunter? Did they have too many females? He tried to see more in Timo’s eyes, some sign that he had more than a casual affection for Zeus, but it just wasn’t there.
Zeus sighed. “Timo, I have to go. I’ve got a mother. Father. Friends. A job back home. The Search and Rescue team. I like your camp very much. And you too. But I can’t run away from my life.”
Timo turned his face to the wall as if unable to look at Zeus. He wriggled his nose. “But you love it here. Yesterday—you loved it. This is the best camp. There is game in the valley. And we have shelter here, fire in the winter. And there is another trail that goes to the sea where we can get all the food that swims. We have everything.”
Shit, now Zeus felt guilty, like he was insulting the camp. “It’s a very nice camp. And yesterday was awesome. But my friends will be anxious and worried. They’re probably waiting for me to go home. Please, Timo.”
Without another word, Timo bounded up off the bed and took off out the door.
“Timo!” Zeus called after him, frustrated.
But by the time he got outside and looked around, Timo was gone.
Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, and organic farmer, Eli has been a m/m romance author since 2013. She has over 30 books published.
Eli has loved romance since her teens and she particular admires writers who can combine literary merit, genuine humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, bulldogs, cows, a cat, and lots of groundhogs.
In romance, Eli is best known for her Christmas stories because she’s a total Christmas sap. These include “Blame it on the Mistletoe”, “Unwrapping Hank” and “Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles”. Her “Howl at the Moon” series of paranormal romances featuring the town of Mad Creek and its dog shifters has been popular with readers. And her series of Amish-themed romances, Men of Lancaster County, has won genre awards.
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