This novella introduces the paranormal romance series Mystic Wolves. Werewolves are obvious from the title, but we learn the rules the wolves live under, that fae exist, and many other little details to flesh out the world nicely. Things come up in context, too, whether because Cora, our turned human newcomer, asks, or they interact with the element.
I fell in love with Cora from the first time I met her. She’s quick thinking, willing to take a risk to help an animal in trouble, and doesn’t sit back and wait for things to happen to her. It’s not that she’s reckless. Just an active participant in her life.
Zayn was a little more complicated in part because we knew him too well. He understands what’s going on and tries to run from it. At the same time, he wants to do the right thing, an important characteristic, but it’s out of obligation, not character. Okay, it’s half out of fear, too. He doesn’t want to have such a deep bond, but the instinct driving them is hard to resist. His interactions with his nephew are endearing, and how he treats his brother and the other wolves is important, too. These give us a broad picture of him. The relationship situation might be straightforward, but the characters and their situations are far from single note.
Though lust is front and center throughout the beginning, it’s also restrained. I like how Zayn holds back so he doesn’t take advantage of Cora when she’s under an influence she can’t understand. Still, the book might start out all talk and no action, but it doesn’t stay that way for long.
Their romance moves quickly, jumping from first meeting to full intimacy in a few short scenes. This works with fated mates for me because instincts deeper than their consciousness drive them. The wolves have recognized each other, but it takes a bit for the human side of Cora to catch up. Zayn knows what is going on from having seen it in others, including his brother and alpha.
The intimate descriptions, once Zayn stops fighting it, are detailed, but far from mechanical. The humor and their personalities stretch into the most intense of moments.
This story is full of humorous moments, though what do you expect when the story starts with a human accidentally turned by a wolf cub? Then she finds her soul mate while in heat from the beginning of her transformation. The writing becomes awkward at times, but never enough to turn me off when the narrative voice and spot on humor kept me reading.
Don’t think this is all lust, though. The story has depth beyond the romance, both from Cora’s traumatic history and what is happening right now. We meet Cora when she finds a wolf cub caught in a brutal trap designed for an adult. She doesn’t blame him when he bites her out of fear and pain, nor does she know the consequences of that bite until later. The effects become obvious almost immediately, throwing us right into the mix with her fated mate. The trap isn’t a throwaway item, though. It’s part of the greater plot with more for Cora and the wolf pack to deal with before the Cora and Zayn find their happily ever after.
The story has the elements of a romantic thriller, with some scary moments. But the focus is more on the romance than the grim times, and a real dose of humor tips the balance most of the time. That’s not to say the novella doesn’t have a definite dark side, so be prepared. Still, it focuses on finding your person and giving them the space to decide if they feel the same whatever you feel. I loved how Zayn could be a full masculine alpha (not literally as that’s his brother) and considerate at the same time. It’s rare to see that blend of strength without arrogance work so well. I’ve added the next two full-length books to my TBR pile, as if I didn’t have enough to read already.
P.S. I received this novella as a newsletter gift and reviewed it on my own.