"Blood Wolf" by Helen Hardt
The first 95 pages of this novella Damien tries everything under the sun to mate with Suzanne. I mean literally--words, gifts, caresses you name it and he used the tactic. And three separate times he came just short of succeeding...until Suzanne's cousin Ashley interrupted with what has to be the worse sense of timing ever. It was almost like clockwork, the two would get to a certain part of their kissing and Ashley would knock on the door and demand to talk to Suzanne. Leaving poor Damien to take a cold shower.
Even though Damien is domineering, aggressive, possessive and probably just a step under 'insane' I think the fact that he tries to take it slow (and succeeds...sort of) endeared him to me. No doubt he came on really really strong--his first conversation with Suzanne was little better then “You. Me. Bed. Now”, but about halfway through seducing her he realizes he didn't even learn her name yet! It was those little things that made me like him instead of intense, passionate dislike.
Plus it was his discussion with Suzanne regarding his needing her while in wolf form kind of cracked me up.
The twist on being a werewolf was interesting, though since for the better part of the story no one has any true experience or knowledge of what a Blood Wolf is the facts got jumbled quite often. Damien and his adoptive father Dougal's relationship was really sweet and often hilarious. Dougal would ask something, Damien would shrug with no idea and then completely blindside him with some other comment. There was that genuine affection though.
The entire storyline with the vampires and the demon sort of worked, but the ending result left me supremely dissatisfied. Suffice to say that Ashley makes a questionable decision in regards to one of the vampires (given the history), the ending fight fizzles (literally) and there doesn't feel like anyone really paid for what almost happened.
In all however I left the story intrigued by the Blood Wolf mythos, interested to see what else could happen and still chuckling.
"My Lord Werewolf" by Ria Ellis
I don't want to say that I didn't like this story, because I did. Werewolf, curses, regency era, gothic overtones...there really wasn't anything in it for me not to like. Unfortunately it was just a little too...bland. My favorite parts were often the ones that are mocking gothic novels (in a good-natured way).
Cassandra was interesting enough, but wasn't terribly intriguing. At five-and-twenty she's a spinster, but content enough. Her Uncle is generous; she has friends, enjoys the ton lifestyle and really is only lacking a husband. Unfortunately she's known as the 'Cursed One' because she's been thrice betrothed and all three have wound up dead in some manner. We're given very brief recounting of each of these men and that's all. There doesn't seem to be any social backlash towards her at all.
Connor I didn't like much of the time. If he wasn't brooding about how unlucky his fate, he was busy feeling extreme guilt over an act from a decade ago as well as more recent incidents. He really isn't what you would call a terribly safe guy to be around. If he managed to forget his guilt for a little while, he moved onto all the reasons that Cassandra should never be around him. It grew tiresome after a while.
The ending, and the 'bad guy' revelation came out of left field. Not the romance part of course, but everything else. I'm still not entirely sure of the villain’s motivations (something about being robbed of his rightful place generations ago?) or with how Connor's dangerous presence was resolved. I'm still convinced that's he's dangerous.
Of the two I definitely enjoyed the first story, Blood Wolf, more than the second story. It had a more appealing premise and mythos to it, while My Lord Werewolf felt rather standard and predictable.
Paranormal Black Bouquet
Page Count: 296
When mysterious Damian MacGowan saves Suzanne Wood from a gang of thugs in a small Scotland town, she's beyond grateful. But his possessive need to be near her troubles her. Damian doesn’t understand why he’s drawn to Suzanne. He knows only that he must have her, or he will die. As the two get to know each other, love blossoms. But Damian has a secret, and an enemy, that may keep him from Suzanne forever.
My Lord Werewolf:
A dark tale resides in the heart of England, the Cotswolds. Lord Connor Wolfe, Earl of Wolfhaven, lives in solitude within his ancestral home. Connor, the last of the bloodline, has vowed never to marry and produce an heir, for the earl holds a dark curse. He is a creature of the full moon—a werewolf. Cassandra Hollingsworth is a twenty-five-year-old spinster who has earned the title of “The Cursed One”. On a journey to uncover the mystery of her brother’s disappearance in the Cotswolds, Cassandra never imagined her life would parallel her favorite pastime--A gothic novel!