This is a mesmerizing introduction to a complex society that has very rigid rules which are sometimes unfathomable to humans as well as objectionable to some of its members. The gradual development of a relationship between two apparently different men, one who is a mild-mannered yet very determined person and one who is used to hiding his very nature from those around him, is delightful to watch unfold, especially after the complications engendered by their first meeting. The struggle on multiple levels, as Simon tries to deal with attempts on his life while convincing the man who has become his mate to accept him and yet stay safe, even as the pack is undergoing stresses from within, makes this a great combination of mystery, character study, and paranormal romance. I think that an excellent framework is set up that introduces a well-thought out world, intriguing characters, ethical concerns, and a compelling romance that definitely has its challenges, and this has become one of my favorite shapeshifters series. I am fortunate, because there are several tales already written in this world and I definitely hope there will be many more to come.
“Unacceptable Risk” by Kaje Harper is the first book in the “Hidden Wolves” series and centers on veterinarian Paul Harper and the remarkable world he gets drawn into when he rescues a severely injured canid. Simon Conley has struggled since his youth to conceal his preferences for male lovers, given that the penalty in his homophobic pack would be death, but the discovery that his mate is human doubles his risk of fatal punishment. Will there be a way for the two of them to be together, or will their romance be over before it can truly begin?
Simon Conley was born a werewolf, making him one of a tiny minority in a sea of vanilla humans. The safety of the pack lies in absolute secrecy, sometimes violently enforced. In a species where pack-members are born and not made, being gay is considered a perversion. So when Simon falls in love with a human man, he's twice damned. Even his Alpha's grudging tolerance may not be enough to shield him from the hatred of the other top wolves. Then his lover Paul stumbles across pack secrets Simon was sworn to keep, and if the pack finds out, they may both end up dead.