Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Alpha's Claim by Holley Trent

Jim West, the New York Coyote pack alpha, has successfully defended his territory from external threats for almost fifteen years. Pack politics may be a pain in his ass, but his command has never been doubted, his authority never questioned.

Until Teddy, an argumentative pancake-house server, challenges more than his patience.

The lithe, pretty human calls to Jim's baser instincts. He knows instantly Teddy is his mate—but the timing couldn't be worse. Tension within his pack is growing, and adding a human mate to the mix could spark an uprising, with Teddy as the target.

Teddy's smart mouth may heat Jim's blood, but with a full moon only days away, getting Teddy to let down his guard and accept him—the man and the beast—is his main priority. There's no fighting the pull of a mate, but learning his lover is a literal predator might make Teddy run right into the danger Jim's desperate to control.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

The blurb sounded interesting, so I took a shot on this short novella. It was a good read! I enjoyed the interaction between the main leads, Jim and Teddy. Jim is the alpha of a NY pack of coyotes. Teddy is the waiter at the small diner the pack frequents. Jim is a grade-A jerk and seems to want to annoy Teddy every chance he gets. After nearly stiffing on a tip for the entire table, Teddy confronts Jim in the parking lot. It's just the opening the alpha is looking for, he tells Teddy to come to his house and get his "tip." Intrigued by this annoying man, Teddy does just that, much to his own annoyance. Jim is all male and all alpha and also, he's a moon shifter. He's bossy and domineering and tends to back Teddy into a corner. Teddy is afraid of dogs, let alone something more and has no clue about coyotes or moon shifters. But also, he's wanting to lose himself in yet another bossy boyfriend!

Teddy tries to hold back from falling too fast, but the pull of this man is too much. Not to mention, Jim needs to come clean about what he is! Teddy both loves the dominant side of Jim and hates it. I liked the chemistry the boys had with each other. I also found some of the pack politics being against Jim having a male mate interesting. I hoping to read more about these two!

This feels like a paint by numbers shifter story. There isn’t really any unique world building. Instead, the author strings together a series of tired shifter tropes and just expects readers to understand. I only understood because so many of the ideas in this book appear to have been appropriated from other shifter stories. I know that paranormal romance tends to borrow and recycle ideas, but usually authors at least attempt to personalise the genre tropes.

So – a handsome, muscle bound coyote alpha meets a struggling human waiter. He needs his mate, claims his mate, and defends his pack from usurpers. It’s rags to riches for Teddy and a playmate/personal assistant for Jim. If this were written about a m/f pairing, my inner feminist would be totally annoyed by the reductionist gender roles. As it is written about a m/m pairing, I’m still not comfortable with the fairly emasculating role for Teddy.

As the sex isn’t hot enough or explicit enough for this to be considered erotica, this story desperately needs a central conflict, well developed characters, and some careful world building.

Holley Trent is an award-winning author of dozens of diverse romances that feature down-to-earth characters who often have out-of-this-world problems. She currently resides on the Colorado Front Range with her husband, two kids and two dieting cats.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Alpha's Claim by Holley Trent to read and review.

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