Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a M/M shifter/paranormal romance from Elaine White. A TOUCH OF DANGER is the first book in the Surviving Vihaan series that features some shifters, and other former shifters, making their way on Earth.
About the book:
Drew’s life sucks. Saving money to escape his homophobic family is one thing, but his only paying gig at the moment is playing his father’s “only gay in the village” plus-one to every LGBT friendly business event.
Then his brother comes up with a plan. Sheffield needs someone to go undercover for his police investigation. Drew has all the qualifications: he’s gay, he has experience with exotic animals, and he’s college-aged. And he’s easily bought.
Going undercover to solve the mystery of a college campus smuggling ring was never in his plans. Neither was hot, perfect, house captain Rylee. The inside jokes about cats, animal prints, and talk of a place called Vihaan that forbids same-sex relationships, are just the tip of the suspicious iceberg.
Little does Drew know that he’s about to expose more than an illegal smuggling operation. The truth could be more lethal than he could imagine. And, despite it all, it might be his own secret past that kills him before the truth can be unveiled.
Drew is a mid-20s out gay man who’s been shunned by his homophobic family for years. The only reason a recent reconciliation was made was because his wealthy and powerful father required a token gay attendee at work events. Having supported himself and his education by scraping by–and surviving an abusive D/s relationship–Drew is amenable to a bit of familial support, even if it comes with ties. Right now, he’s earning it going undercover for his brother Sheffield, a detective investigating a college frat for exotic animal smuggling. Drew is the perfect mole to discover if the gay frat brothers are keeping or selling big cats on the black market; he’s worked in zoos rehabilitating abused felines and is seeking a graduate degree in veterinary science.
Drew turns up on the doorstep of the frat and is welcomed on a temporary basis by the house captain, Rylee, who also offers him a spare bed in his own room. It’s a weird night with an inconvenient attraction and a blatant invite for sex from Rylee who manages his attraction to Drew in an awkward display. Yeah. Weird. In the next days, Drew is invited to stay more permanently, especially as Rylee senses that Drew has a secret lurking beneath his skin. Drew’s attempts to uncover the smuggling operation yield more questions than answers–and a tighter bond with his new house mates.
This was meant to be a mystery, I think, with the investigation that Drew is hatching, but his answers don’t make sense–lot many of the plot points. Drew learns that many of his housemates are refugees from a realm called Vihaan, a land where people are cat shifters. These men have arrived in the human realm because they couldn’t conform to mating females, and same-sex matings are illegal in Vihaan. Before escaping Vihaan, Rylee had a male lover, who conveniently turns out to be the same Dom who had kidnapped Drew, kept him in a drug-addled state, and raped him. Now in the human realm, Rylee and his compatriots cannot shift, but they still have cat DNA, which keeps the cops returning to the house looking for animals. Rylee is nervous that Drew’s experience with a Vihaan on Earth will lead to Drew developing cat abilities.
Drew’s afraid that his brother will come into the house and arrest Rylee and the rest of the Vihaan refugees. It’s a likely scenario, even if there isn’t evidence of any smuggling going on. The residents are all aliens, with false documentation and there are some shenanigans with recently arrived Vihaan that is highly incriminating. This also setting aside the Vihaan’s distant relation Foame brethren who live in-house and CAN partially shift.
The story was really confusing, and relied so heavily on convenience that I got distracted easily and wasn’t satisfied with the mystery plot the blurb hinted at. The tension was low, the sexytimes were awkward, and there was a LOT of explanations to sort out the other frat house members and their plights–definitely hinting at future stories way too hard. In all, I found it incomprehensible as either a mystery or a romance. The characters felt stereotypical and the love story forced. Drew found everything way too fast, with little difficulty and zero tension. Rylee was creepy-weird and his antics extra strange. Despite the repetition and over-description issues, I still felt like I didn’t understand the hows and whys of Vihaan, and how these refugees managed to finance the charity work they did to support other Vihaans in this realm. I didn’t think that Drew was touched by danger so much as disaster.
About the Author:
Elaine White is the author of multi-genre MM romance, celebrating ‘love is love’ and offering diversity in both genre and character within her stories. Growing up in a small town and fighting cancer in her early teens taught her that life is short and dreams should be pursued. She lives vicariously through her independent, and often hellion characters, exploring all possibilities within the romantic universe.
The Winner of two Watty Awards – Collector’s Dream (An Unpredictable Life) and Hidden Gem (Faithfully) – and an Honourable Mention in 2016’s Rainbow Awards (A Royal Craving) Elaine is a self-professed geek, reading addict, and a romantic at heart.
Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!