Author: R. Cooper
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Narrator: Robert Nieman
Zeki Janowitz has returned to his hometown of Wolf’s Paw to start his wizarding career. Unfortunately, Wolf’s Paw, a werewolf refuge, follows centuries of tradition and shuns human magic and a very human Zeki. He knows he’s in for a struggle, but a part of him has always belonged in the mountain town, or rather belonged to Theo Greenleaf. Years away at school haven’t lessened Zeki’s crush on the quiet werewolf. When town gossip informs him Theo still suffers from his mate’s rejection and does not date, it does little to ease Zeki’s embarrassing feelings. He decides now’s the time to get the man he’s always wanted.
Werewolves usually don’t recover from losing their mates, and Theo barely pulled through by focusing on his love of baking. It’s a daily struggle, and Zeki’s return to Wolf’s Paw shatters his peace. Theo doesn’t know what to think when Zeki attempts to woo him, talking about his wizarding business and settling in town for good. It’s like Zeki doesn’t have a clue how his words years before left Theo a shell of a werewolf.
Beginners in love, Theo and Zeki must seduce each other with a bit of heavenly baking and magic.
This audiobook is difficult to rate. There were so many elements to like: a cute human sorcerer, who was smart and sweet and so in awe of his high school crush; an alpha wolf fireman shifter, who was not only big and brawny, he baked cookies, brownies, and cakes as a way of channeling his sad feelings over having lost his mate five years before; and a narrator who I’ve enjoyed in the past.
But, and it’s a big but, the story was loaded with self-imposed angst and so much introspection and repetitive information that my mind constantly wandered while all the yada yada was going on. And, the narration wasn’t what I expected—the voices weren’t distinct—and I mean the MC voices. Add that to the fact that the author didn’t always use dialogue tags, so there were stretches of bantering during which I easily lost track of who was speaking.
The main thrust of the story is that Zeki returns home after a five-year absence while he pursued his degree and perfected his magic skills, and he learns that his high school crush,Theo, is still unattached, and likely will stay that way because he was rejected by his mate when he approached him (gee coincidentally!) about five years ago. A long string of misunderstandings leads us to the point of understanding that clueless Zeki was Theo’s chosen mate, and when Theo tried to tell him that near Zeki’s locker when they were only teens, Zeki misunderstood and thought Theo was pulling a prank on him like the other werewolf bullies in class were wont to do.
In theory, this could have been a great story, however, between all the things I mentioned earlier and the fact that this was 8 hours long, but should have been no more than 5—and that’s being kind—I can’t see rating it higher than 3 hearts. And no, I don’t recommend it in audio format, unless you want your eyes to glaze over as you’re out driving your car while listening. In that case… Hmm, never mind.