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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mate of the Wolf by Mandy Rosko

Mate of the Wolf by Mandy Rosko
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (79 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Verbena

Shelley just wanted to get out of the city and relax by a campfire. She’s pretty sure that has nothing to do with getting kidnapped by a werewolf, who happens to be getting stalked by a vampire princess who's out to skin him for his rare silver pelt. And they say show business is tough.

Michael Hunter has found his Mate after years of solitude and months of self-induced exile. He's the alpha of his pack, and his duty is their protection. With a vampire hunting him, things have gotten tricky, and it’s not so safe for those he's charged with caring for. But now another person needs him, whether she knows it or not. Shelley is his mate, and he wants to keep her hidden with him. But when the vampire in question finds his hiding place, Michael is forced to make some hard choices.

Is it rape, forced seduction, or something else all together?

That’s what Shelly keeps asking herself when she becomes the unwilling captive of a strangely alluring, albeit frightening, man. While her initial reaction is terror—as it would be for most women—when he doesn’t behave the way a typical kidnapper/rapist/serial killer would, she begins to wonder what it is he wants with her. She’d heard of Stockholm Syndrome—when a hostage develops feelings for their captor—but this is getting ridiculous! The next couple of days of her life are about to take a wild turn, one that may either scar her forever, or give her what she’s always yearned for.

Michael is obviously plagued by some conflicting emotions. Since we never see his point-of-view, we can only gather information about him through Shelly’s perspective. While he can’t deny the part of him that wants to keep her forever, his life is wrought with some dangers that may threaten her as well. Aside from that, keeping her proves difficult. Like any other victim, she’s not going to just wait around for him to decide what to do with her. But when some of his darker secrets come out, her response will shock them both.

Mate of the Wolf is an enjoyable short story. The developing relationship between Shelly and Michael will keep you intrigued. The author’s humor in some scenes had me laughing out loud. Your emotions regarding Shelly’s predicament will likely run the gamut from anger to understanding. While the author spends a good amount of time on Shelly’s character, Michael is left a little bland. By the end, you’ll understand his motives, but it would have been nice to get to know him a bit better.

Grammar, punctuation, and editing were clean, and since this was all in Shelly’s point-of-view, there were no violations there. The sex is minimal, not really fitting a typical erotica, but it serves its purpose in the story. With so much time spent on the interaction between Shelly and Michael during her captivity, it left little time to adequately play out the major dilemma surrounding Michael’s presence in the plot to begin with. The author does leave it open for a possible sequel. Perhaps we’ll see more of these two and the trials they’ll likely encounter ahead.

Forget the bodice rippers of the past, this story provides a whole new twist on what might happen between a kidnapper and his victim. Before reaching the end, you’re bound to wonder just who’s seducing who and you might develop a little Stockholm Syndrome yourself.

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