Pride and Joey by Devon Rhodes
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (37 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play, Forced Seduction, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Peppermint
Vance thought his pride meant everything to him...until fate sent Joey into his lair and into his heart.
Vance grew up the odd one out in a macho and very insular pride of lion shifters. Differences like enjoying the cool fall weather are bad enough-his pridemates would kill him if they learned he was gay. Still, his pride is all he knows. He'd never even met a shifter of another type...until he discovers an unconscious cougar male in his lair.
Joey is on the run and wants to keep Vance at arm’s length, especially since someone very close to the lion is the root of all his troubles. But there is something irresistible about Vance, something which has Joey wanting more than he ever dared to dream.
When their lives are threatened, Joey must choose whether to sacrifice himself, or try to live and keep Vance close...for the very short remainder of his life.
For such a short story, it was sure packed with a lot of great characters and a strong plot. I couldn’t believe how thorough of a job the author did with this story in such a compact space. I usually expect a certain amount of missing detail, plot development, and characterization when reading stories less than 100+ pages. Had I not know the page count no one could have told me this was not a larger story because it was so complete.
Vance may not have had what it takes to be considered an alpha in his pack but as far as I am concerned he has all the alpha qualities I love in a shifter, one of which is his committment to protect Joey, even if he doesn’t know much about the man. When having to choose between Joey and his pride Vance does what he thinks is right, even if it means sacrificing what he holds dear.
Joey, poor innocent Joey. The guy wakes up and finds himself thrown into problems he didn’t even know existed let alone wanted to be part of. What he does know is that Vance a lion-shifter claiming to want to help and Vance feels comforting. With everything going on around him, comfort is something he can truly use, but may not want to get used to. Joey is truly a victim in every way, yet he still wants to try and protect Vance, even if it means walking away from the only happiness he may ever experience. To be so self sacrificing really shows what a pure heart this cougar has.
For those who do not like forced seduction scenes, please do not let that minor detail turn you away from this story. This is very mild and done extremely tastefully.
The plot in this story is astonishing. From beginning to end it pulled me in and held me by my throat until the last page. The twist the author was able to incorporate worked perfectly and left me holding my breath. If this is not intended to be the beginning of a series, the author should really reconsider because this is a precious gem that I can only see getting brighter and would love to get more of.