The New Wolf (Building The Pack #1) – RJ Scott
Length: 25,500 words
Cover: Meredith Russell
A dangerous lone wolf is intent on destroying the beginnings of a pack and when Connor is attacked and near death, there is only one thing that can save him. A wolf shifter’s bite.
After a hate crime leaves one of them near dead, Veterinarian Josh Nolan and Cop Connor Vincent are starting a new life in Black Creek, a remote town on the edge of the Green Mountains range, Vermont. Josh is taking over his grandfather’s practice, and Connor starts a new position with the local sheriff’s office. When Connor becomes curious about unsolved crimes going back fifty years he cant know the kind of secrets he begins to unearth. Or the danger that he puts himself and Josh in.
The smell of coffee woke him and he reached across the bed to check for Josh. When he felt empty sheets, he assumed Josh was the one making coffee. His feet hitting the floor sent a sensation of pain up his legs and he cursed under his breath. He had issued a check with Josh that his body couldn’t cash. Either that or he was getting old. Padding into the kitchen, he blearily rubbed his eyes. It seemed they’d slept through the day and it was after nine in the evening. Josh was wearing sweats that hung from his hipbones and in the soft light from the hall, the dark kitchen was casting weird shadows around his lover. Connor had never seen anything so beautiful as Josh leaning against the counter, waiting for the coffee machine to do its thing.
He yawned widely behind a hand and crossed to Josh, cuddling him from behind. Josh tensed in his arms momentarily in surprise. Evidently, he hadn’t expected Connor out of bed yet. Then he relaxed back into Connor’s hold and finally turned in his arms and pulled Connor closer for a hug.
“How you doing?” he asked gently.
“Aching a bit,” Connor answered truthfully. After five years together, Josh could see through Connor like his mom used to be able to do. According to Josh, he could tell when Connor was lying, joking, or any other ing Connor attempted to pull on him.
“You should probably take some more pain meds.” Josh punctuated that with a kiss and, for a second, they stood close and kissed gentle close-mouthed kisses and simply held each other.
“It’s weird,” Connor started. “My thigh is fine, my chest, fine, but I feel like every muscle in me aches, and my joints, my knees, even my damn elbows. Like I’ve pushed too many weights, or run three marathons back to back.”
Josh tugged back a little and, even without being able to see into Josh’s eyes, Connor knew his other half was probably going to mention the unnecessary sex in the hallway. He wasn’t wrong.
“We shouldn’t have done that this morning,” Josh admonished. “You’re not well enough.”
“I was fine. You weren’t complaining.”
Josh huffed a laugh, then turned back to the coffee. Carrying two mugs into the front room, they sat next to each other on the old wide sofa that had come as part of the house.
“I’ll be complaining tomorrow,” Josh deadpanned. “I’m not saying it wasn’t hot, but jeez, look at this.” He wriggled a little and pushed down his sweats to expose his left hipbone and five perfect crescent dents that were red and sore.
“Shit, babe,” Connor snapped immediately. He placed the coffee down, then touched the marks on Josh’s beautiful unblemished skin. “Did I do that?” He leaned down and pressed a kiss to the marks, then sat back up, not knowing what to say. Should he say sorry? Is that what Josh wanted. Why was it so difficult to read Josh’s expression? Normally he could read Josh as easily as he, himself could be read.
“You just don’t know your own strength,” Josh said without accusation. Then he straddled Connor’s lap and buried his face in Connor’s neck. “I fucking loved it,” Josh mumbled.
Connor held him tight and relished the feel of Josh’s skin against his own. “I love you,” he said gently.
“I love you, too,” Josh murmured. “Don’t ever get attacked in the forest again. Okay?”
Connor moved so that more of Josh’s weight rested on him. The feeling of him was exquisite. Then he cuddled hard and made a mental promise never to go into the trees again.
This is a re-release of the first novella in a three book series written by different authors. Each novella follows the story of two different main characters within the overall story arc.
I enjoyed this fast-paced and compact story. I immediately got a feel for the character dynamics and the set-up. I liked how the paranormal mystery is gradually revealed and the effect it has on the main characters’ romance. Josh and Connor are already an established couple at the start of the story, having recently moved from New York to settle in a small remote town in Vermont. Connor is finding it hard to adjust, but Josh is willing to move back to the city for him. The guys are obviously devoted to each other and their few sex scenes are hot and passionate. However, suspicious goings-on keep them in Black Creek and impact on their relationship with an almost devastating effect.
The writing style, the engaging characters, and the shifter storyline are all compelling and kept me reading swiftly to the end. I particularly liked the world-building, both within the ‘real’ and the paranormal world, and the brief glimpses we get into pack life and its history. I noticed some editing issues, but nothing major that detracted from the overall story.
The ending of the story was wrapped up quite abruptly with the main story arc left unresolved. Book 2 and 3 need to be seen as part of the whole, so this book shouldn’t be read in isolation or seen as the end of the story. Josh and Connor get their HFN, but I’m hoping the other two authors give Josh and Connor a role in their subsequent stories as I’d like to see the impact the shifter revelation has had on their relationship.
RJ Scott is the bestselling romance author of over 100 romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men and women who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.
The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.