Sunday Book Review:
Stepbrother Wolf by C.A. Taylor
Let’s begin with the blurb.
Paranormal writer Dakota Brooks can’t stop fantasizing about the man he desires most – his sexy and mysterious older stepbrother, Dalton. Ever since his mother married Dalton’s father when Dakota was a geeky teen, Dakota has been yearning to get close to him. He never pursued the hunky Dalton for fear of what it would do to the huge extended family he now has, but beneath the glow of the full moon, sparks begin to fly.
Dalton Summers can’t trust himself around Dakota. He always thought his younger stepbrother was gorgeous and smart, the whole package, but he’s strictly off-limits. Not only is Dakota his stepbrother – and he stubbornly ignores the fact that they barely know each other – but Dakota’s human. He’s always kept his distance to hide his feelings, but finally, fate intervenes at a family reunion.
When Dakota lands himself in trouble in the deep Maine woods, Dalton saves him and is forced to reveal what he truly is. One night of discovery isn’t enough for either of them, but Dalton knows he still isn’t free to pursue Dakota. Older and stronger forces are at work, upheaving their lives as they realize that being stepbrothers is the least of their problems.
I loved the premise of this story. I liked that the main characters, Dalton and Dakota, were stepbrothers because it fulfilled a little kinky joy of the entire “stepbrothers” who fall in love trope. I’m not sure why that gets me every time, but it does. I’ve seen it done well and horribly. I was happy how the author handled the trope for the most part. Dalton and Dakota have great chemistry and I love the entire “years of longing” scenario. A cheeky little part of me in equal turns enjoyed and loathed that Dakota was a writer because I see so many of my own good and bad habits in the character (Why yes, why shouldn’t I marathon a television show this evening instead of working? Yes, please.) including sitting in a corner at Starbucks to write so no one accidentally sees the word “cock” on my screen, enlarged for my reading ease.
Now, the sex: It’s hot. I liked the quick and dirty sex in this book, as well as the longer sex scenes. I’d have liked to have seen more power play, but as it stands it was fun.
It wasn’t hard to guess that Anthony was going to be the god in the machine, clearing up all the problems, for this story. I called it about halfway through (or sooner), and I kept reading because I liked the characters.
I didn’t like that these wolves were able to keep their clothing when they shifted. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s just that I have some very specific ideas about what shifting entails (I’m such a huge geek and my next book out this fall is a shifter story). Anyway, it seemed like a cop out that Dalton got to keep his skin tight leggings, maybe something you would do for a television show when you didn’t want to flash the naughty bits for the audience. The werewolf world didn’t feel like it was developed very well. We’re introduced to a bunch of characters in Dalton’s pack that we don’t interact with much and don’t add anything to the plot line, really, though it might be fun to revisit them in another book. It seemed like maybe the author had a lot of good ideas that didn’t get fully communicated in the writing of the story. C.A. briefly mentions that Anthony is an energy vamp, for example, but doesn’t flesh that out at all. As someone who is intimately familiar with that terminology in relation to people who are energy drains, many books read in the pagan community, it left me wondering what, exactly, the author was doing with that character. I found a few plot holes quickly and easily that weren’t wrapped up to my satisfaction with the story line. For example, why would Dalton allow himself to be controlled for so long? I would have thought someone who is Alpha and highly intelligent might have found a way to assassinate his “master” before now. A single wolf is supposedly stronger than a single vampire according to the rules of this ‘verse. I don’t know. That rubbed me wrong. Also, at the end, when the parents had no problems, what-so-ever, with Dakota and Dalton getting together, it was somewhat unrealistic. It was a happily ever after that may have spoken true to reality for some people, but I think that any parent might have had some cautioning words for their children in that sort of situation, even if they did embrace their right to have the relationship with their step sibling.
I’m reminded of many Jerry Springer “final thoughts” when he does incest episodes. (Yes, daytime television is one of my long term guilty pleasures.) Mr. Springer’s done more than one incest episode and he always talks about how the family should be a safe place, and sleeping your way through it probably isn’t a great idea to make that happen. I know I know, but Jerry’s final commentaries are usually pretty level headed.
Also, the author never made it clear how Dakota was Dalton’s mate or if he ever really was his true mate, once again, in accordance to the rules of this universe. I picked at that endlessly in my mind when I was done reading the book.
And finally, a few editing errors in the book threw me out of one of the sex scenes, which I never appreciate.
I’d give this book a whirl. It’s a short, fun read that has light angst and requires some suspension of disbelief since it’s kind of geared for Happily Ever After and a paranormal romance.
Possible triggers: Step sibling relationship, some violence, discussion of past partner abuse for a side character.