Today, I’m reviewing Awakening by author JJ Harper, book one in the Wild Oak series, a contemporary, m/m shifter romance. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
Series: Wild Oak, Book 1
Author: JJ Harper
Release Date: November 26, 2019
Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance, MM shifter romance
Trope/s: Wolf shifter, mild fantasy, mention of Mpreg
Heat Rating: 3.5 flames
Length: 60 000 words/ 240 approx. pages
A prophecy, a True Alpha, and fates mates. Can Ascha accept that his life has changed forever?
Blurb: At twenty-one, Ascha Stanton has it all: a wonderful family, great friends, a long-term girlfriend, and a promising career as an NFL star.
The appearance of three unknown men in his small town changes everything. Not only his life and future but also what he always thought himself to be: straight. Why then is he attracted to the handsome auburn-haired Thaddeus? How can Ascha hear his thoughts? And even more intriguing, what does the mark on both their chests mean?
Thaddeus explains a new path has been paved for him, one with the Wild Oak pack, who has been waiting for seventy years for the True Alpha to show himself and fulfill the prophecy.
Will Ascha accept that Thaddeus is the man he’s destined to be with, and will the rival pack accept him as their new leader?
Note: Awakening is an MM wolf shifter book with elements of fantasy and mention of Mpreg. It includes some sexual content and is suitable for adult readers.
I stomp through the house, dodging my friends, and out to my truck. I slow down as I get closer. The dark-haired guy with the cold eyes I saw earlier is here, leaning against the side of the flatbed.
“Nice truck,” he says and rights himself. He’s taller than my six foot, but not by too much.
“Thanks. Do you mind moving away? I like to get going.” The guy gives me the creeps, and I remember Jared’s words. In my head, I try to reach out to Thaddeus, although I don’t why. Why would I trust him? I don’t even know if I can. “He’s here,” I tell him. I feel dumb, but it’s done. I reach for the handle of the cab.
“Hey, Ascha, you forgot your coat,” a voice behind me calls out. I look over my shoulder. Thaddeus is running toward me, holding a leather jacket I’ve never seen before. The dark-haired guy lets out a hiss and curses under his breath.
“Thanks, man.” As I take it from him, my fingers graze over his, and fireworks shoot up my arm. “Get out of here. I’ll get rid of him.”
“Sure, no problem. See you around,” Thaddeus says.
I drive straight home and park in my usual spot next to Dad’s BMW. Mom’s Prius is parked closer to the house. I climb out, but instead of hurrying inside, I stand still for a minute. I’m not alone. Someone is watching me. I can’t see anything in the pitch black surrounding me, but I know it, sense it. Tiny pinpricks are piercing my skin. The clammy feeling is all over me again. I’m burning up. I stagger inside and stumble through the kitchen. I need to get to my bedroom and my bed. If I lie down, I’ll feel better.
“Ascha? Are you okay?” It’s my dad, but I can’t see him properly. My vision is cloudy.
“No, it hurts. Every-fucking-thing hurts. I’m so hot.” I pant.
My mom lays her hand on me. I pull my arm away. Her touch is soft but still painful on my burning skin. “It’s happening, Tom. Dear lord, it’s happening to Ascha. I thought it was too late, that it had passed him by. What should we do?” Her voice is laced with worry, and tears fill her eyes. I wobble past them and make it to my bedroom, where I tear my clothes off. My T-shirt weighs too much on my skin, and I rip it from my chest. My jeans are next. They are too thick, too coarse, hurting me. Then another wave of pain overwhelms me. The pressure on my chest is like a branding iron, stamping marks on my skin, so hot, so deep, but it’s coming from inside me.
What’s happening? What the fuck is happening? I cry out, but it sounds more like a howl. My throat tightens. Too much pain, too much… my legs buckle, and I collapse, landing on my hands and knees. I cry out again. “Thaddeus.”
This is the second wolf-shifter paranormal novel that I read and I really enjoyed it. The world building is wonderfully executed, introducing readers to the Wild Oak pack and their nemesis the Black Tors. Since it’s the first book in the series, there is a slight cliff-hanger (or more like a “promise”) of what’s to come next.
JJ Harper is a new author to me, and her writing is excellent. She did a great job developing the two male protagonists: Ascha and Thaddeus.
Ascha, as stated in the blurb, has it all before his world comes crashing down. I must say he handled himself well to the changes in his life, especially when he had so much to lose. As for Thaddeus, he’s been waiting for his fated mate and can’t wait to connect with Ascha.
Their romance was well written, and quite believable. The chemistry was present, and the way they quickly came to care about each other.
Since they were at war with the Black Tors, the tension between the two packs was suspenseful. You knew something was going to happen, and what I guessed would happen did happen.
I enjoyed the secondary characters of Caleb and Cassian. I’m wondering what will become of them in the next book.
This is a great start to the series. There is still much left unsaid. I recommend giving JJ Harper a try. She’s a talented author and creates wonderful worlds and characters.
You will normally find her in the living room—typing away—with her dogs, Maud and Siddiqi. As a hopeless romantic, JJ dives into her stories, always falling in love with her men, making sure they get the happy ever after they deserve, even if they do have to work hard for it.
As a bona fide bookaholic, coffee-addicted, wine-drinking and swear-like-a-sailor type of girl, she has yet to work out how to act her age!! LOL. And she has no intentions of growing up or growing old gracefully.
JJ lives in a small, very quiet, village in Lincolnshire, UK, with her husband and dogs, and spends all day dreaming up stories full of really hot men.
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