Author: Julia Talbot
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Three hot werewolves, sexual tension thick enough to cut with a knife, an impending Colorado winter, and a rambunctious pack of werewolf pups. Stand back and watch the fur fly.
When Kenneth Marcon loses his nanny to a bite from one of his inherited kids, he knows he needs someone strong to contain five werewolf children. What he finds isn’t a stalwart nanny, but a werewolf manny named Jack. Kenneth and his assistant, Miles, aren’t sure if Jack is what they need, but he’s what they have to work with.
Jack’s got what it takes to keep the kids busy—and attract both Miles’s and Kenneth’s attention. The two old friends have been circling each other for years, but with Jack as the final piece to the puzzle, it’s time to finally act on those urges. When Kenneth is forced to travel instead of solidifying the bond with his new mates, Jack and Miles take desperate measures to get him back, even as they save the kids from one disaster after another. Amidst the chaos, they have to learn how to become not just a pack, but a family
I hate having to review stories that had so much promise but failed to deliver. I usually try to pick ones I’m sure I’ll like, but in this case, despite a very interesting blurb, this one failed to deliver. The first sentence in the blurb is what initially caught my attention: “Three hot werewolves, sexual tension thick enough to cut with a knife, an impending Colorado winter, and a rambunctious pack of werewolf pups.” But—no. There were three adult werewolves, two of whom have been friends from childhood and worked together – the alpha, Kenneth, and his beta and right-hand man, Miles. Enter Jack, the manny hired to handle Kenneth’s inherited family: A teen, a preteen, a nine-year-old and a set of three-year-old twins. There was no sexual tension. The only fulfilled part of the promise was a Colorado winter and winter-related activities. And there were cutesy werewolf pups, but they weren’t really as rambunctious as most human kids I know.
To be honest, I struggled to get through this, thinking it had to get better. Somewhere around the 20 to 30% mark the men got together for sex. It seemed sudden, with no prior indication of expressed desire from any of them, but by the end of the sex romp, they were calling each other mate and love. Um, I didn’t feel it. At all. I thought somewhere in the many, many pages there must be some sexual tension, some emotion, because after all, the blurb said there was. But then Kenneth and Miles went overseas on a business trip that was extended multiple times, so he sent Miles home. Then there was a lot of time and explanation about how his “mates” were missing him, but at least they had each other for some satisfying sex (or so they indicated).
Both men now at home were starting to develop headaches and feel ill, and Kenneth himself became really sick, losing weight and passing out, but of course, he didn’t tell them. And apparently this was all because they hadn’t completed their bond before he left. I don’t know why not. It’s not like they didn’t have time in that initial sex session, but this was never fully explained. But wait, it gets better—they seem to be able to read each other’s thoughts, so shouldn’t readers think the bond was complete? And why become ill when separated if the bond wasn’t completed? Just some of the many reasons I shook my head while reading this. Over and over again.
There were a whole host of secondary characters, all shifters, all different species, making all the disjointed conversations and activities very confusing. And almost the entire story was about the kids and what they did, and what Jack did to keep them busy, and what Kenneth and Miles did with their business. But not much about emotion, not many feelings expressed or explored. To be honest, I also found the writing choppy with so many disconnects that I had to keep going back to reread each paragraph to see who said what and figure out what it meant. And there was a lot of jumping around, inconsistency in motions and activities. There seemed to be missing information in so many places. For example, here’s Jack thoughts during a Skype session while watching Kenneth and Miles having sex in the early days of their overseas trip:
They needed each other on a cellular level. Mated.
“Come home,” Jack murmured. “I need you.”
“Soon. Soon, I swear.” Kenneth had baby-head.
Miles eased them both down to the bed and pulled the laptop, showing Jack a cuddle he wanted to join. “I swear, Jack. We’re gonna come home.”
I still can’t figure out WTH that baby-head comment means, because it seems to be totally out of context, and that’s just one of many examples.
I would recommend the story be edited to about half the length, and the descriptions of the kids and what they did to about 25% of what’s included, and I’d add some sexual attraction between the men early in the story—especially some unrequited love between Kenneth and Miles. And I’d add consistency in dialogue and in the scenes themselves instead of hopping around from one topic to another. Um, I guess that means that the story as is was unfulfilling.
What did I like about it? I liked the concept of a manny who’s a werewolf and comes in to take charge of the family. I also liked the family itself, the potential for sexy MMM action, including the bonding need for each other to be physically near, and I liked the final scenes that occurred around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday when the family expanded (not giving away spoilers).
But overall? There’s no way I can honestly recommend this story to anyone as it stands.