Shan Lee Lee từ Audrain County
3.5 stars http://threedollarbillreviews.com/201... An extremely detailed blurb tells you most of what you need to know here. Cade is a demon hunter but he’s also a wolf shifter. This makes him even more proficient as a hunter, since being a shifter makes him more powerful and specifically immune to all demon bites. He has always been a lone wolf, working alone, but after a particularly rough hunt he spontaneously posts an ad on craigslist to find a partner to work with him. After six months he assumes there will be no answer until young David shows up at his door. David is pure human, and only seventeen, but is driven and has a deep desire to hunt and kill as many demons as possible. For years Cade and David work together, side by side, beginning with David’s intense training as the young man becomes Cade’s protégé. Cade quickly comes to care deeply for David, and is determined to keep him safe despite the high level of danger related to their job. When a hunt one night finds them walking into a nest instead of the one or two demons they had expected, David is unable to fight back the attack and ends up covered in bites that immediately begin to poison his soul. Cade is desperate to help David, but must decide to what lengths he is willing to go to save David. I first discovered Evangeline Anderson through her story The Assignment, which I read near the beginning of my foray into m/m fiction. I loved the story and got immediately engrossed in the characters. I have read several of Anderson’s stories and when I wanted to read a werewolf tale I picked this out of my TBR list. What I didn’t know is what this story held in store for me. It’s not a typical werewolf story by any means. The most important thing is that Cade is a demon hunter, and being a shifter is another piece of his arsenal of protection against those he is driven to eliminate. The story has a very fast-paced feel and is constructed like a web. It begins in the present, as Cade is trying to get David to safety and aide. The story jumps to the past, telling the story of how Cade and David met and what they have been through over their years together. The flashbacks are a mixture from Cade’s point of view and others from David so there is a good balance between the two. The flashbacks are all driving to their current predicament in the present and that’s where the ending comes in. I liked that this isn’t your typical shifter story, that there is a detailed paranormal aspect that is integral to the story. Anderson integrates many of the facets that are typical of shifter stories but picks a few to really focus on such as the submission of pack members to the alpha and the connection and bonding among pack members. Cade has for so long been a lone wolf, but the appearance of David in his life creates his own pack. There are intense feelings between Cade and David, ones that neither man is willing to admit to, which is common within Anderson’s stories. Both men have to admit their feelings before they can move forward, which is not an easy task. I enjoyed the story quite a bit and didn’t put it down until I reached the end, but at times I wanted to strangle both men. There is a lot of sexual content in the story well before either of them have admitted how deep their feelings run. And here is where my biggest frustration enters the pictures. This is an issue that I am finding is common to quite a few stories in the m/m genre which is both frustrating and disturbing. He had long ago stopped thinking of his protégé as straight, but he didn’t think of David as gay either. He was simply a lost kid who had come to Cade for guidance and somehow taken hold of his heart. And Cade himself was simply a lone wolf — someone who had never needed anyone. The men care for one another, struggle to admit they love one another. But they aren’t gay. Cade gives David a handjob and a blowjob and makes David submit by inserting the head of his cock into David’s ass. But they aren’t gay. David has found his way into Cade’s heart and David would do anything for his mentor and alpha master. But they aren’t gay. I understand that often it’s hard to pick a label for a character, as labels can be restrictive and too rigid, but I do not understand why an author who writes a story about two men who love each other feels the need to make it abundantly clear that the men are not gay. It’s the “yeah they aren’t straight but they totally aren’t gay” aka “gay for you” mentality that I’ve read often in books and I just don’t understand. And the real problem with this element of stories is that it usually lowers my overall enjoyment of a story. That is what happened here as well, and a story that overall I did enjoy quite a bit was lessened by the author’s insistence that the characters “aren’t gay”. They seem quite gay to me, and the assertion that they aren’t makes it seems that there is something wrong with the characters being perceived as gay and sheds an unfortunate, but unavoidable, homophobic light on the story. I question why an author would include something like this in a book being marketed as LGBT. I understand that the majority of readers of a book like this will be straight women, and I would hope that readers would recognize how derogatory and exclusionary comments like those are. The story would have been perfectly fine without the “don’t forget these boys aren’t gay” insertions, and I argue that it would have in fact been better. It’s very possible that many readers will not stumble over the “gay for you” addition to the plot, and will enjoy the characters and the sex. I did like the story but my overall impression is unavoidably tainted.