Hi there! Today I’m sharing a double feature of M/M shifter novels from Tara Lain. Both books are part of the Harker Pack series and feature recurring characters, but can be read as stand-alones.
About the books:
THE PACK OR THE PANTHER:
Cole Harker, son of an alpha werewolf, is bigger and more powerful than most wolves, tongue-tied in groups, and gay. For twenty-four years, he’s lived to please his family and pack—even letting them promise him in marriage to female werewolf Analiese to secure a pack alliance and help save them from a powerful gangster who wants their land. Then Cole meets Analiese’s half-brother, panther shifter Paris Marketo, and for the first time, Cole wants something for himself.
When Analiese runs off to marry a human, Cole finally has a chance with Paris, but the solitary cat rejects him, the pack, and everything it represents. Then Cole discovers the gangster wants Paris too and won’t rest until he has him. What started as a land dispute turns into World War Wolf! But the bigger fight is the battle between cats and dogs.
Cole Harker is a pure blood werewolf, and alphanta (second in command) of the Harker pack in Connecticut. His pack’s territory is recently under attack from a NYC wolf, Nikel Eliazer. They want to control the whole of Connecticut, and the Harker pack is small and vulnerable to a hostile takeover.
The way Cole’s father arranges to strengthen his pack? A marriage alliance between Cole and the alpha daughter of the neighboring Marketo pack. Problem? Cole is an out gay male. For his whole life Cole has heard that there’s no such thing as a gay werewolf, but he begs to differ…he’s very much a werewolf, and just as much gay.
Turns out Annalise Marketo doesn’t want to marry Cole. Which is pretty crushing, actually. Cole was prepared to sacrifice his happiness for his pack, but Annalise? Not so much. Luckily, Cole is comforted by Paris–Anna’s older half-brother who is, well, gay and a panther shifter. Paris is totally attracted to Cole (feeling = mutual) but Paris abhors pack-life. He doesn’t want to be tied down, much like the cat he is…
With the alliance in shambles, Cole endeavors to head off a war with Eliazar’s pack. When he discovers Eliazar has unholy designs on Paris, well, it’s a rumble. Especially when Paris goes missing!
Cole knows that he can’t keep Paris, but he is willing to spend whatever time he can with the alluring cat. Their connection is fast and fierce, though Paris refuses to commit. Cole? Jilted twice. Still, he recognizes Paris as his mate and will protect him to his dying breath. Super glad Paris got that memo before the final exhale.
Good action, a quickie connection that mellowed into a more mature love, and battles with foreign packs, homophobes and fear of public speaking abound. This is a super fast read with an interesting cast and delish sexytimes. I liked how Cole’s parents were sorry for forcing him into marriage–especially with a woman–and appreciated how open they became in the end. I liked Paris’s sassiness, but wished he’d been even a little compassionate to Cole earlier.
WOLF IN GUCCI LOAFERS:
Socialite Lindsey Vanessen wants someone to love who will love him back — an impossibility for a gay, half-human, half-werewolf. Too aggressive for humans, too gay for wolves, and needing to protect the pack from human discovery, Lindsey tries to content himself with life as a successful businessman.
But when someone starts kidnapping members of wealthy families, Lindsey meets tough cop Seth Zakowsky—the hunky embodiment of everything Lindsey wants but can’t have.
Seth has never been attracted to flamboyant men. What would the guys in the department think of Lindsey? But intrigue turns to lust when he discovers Lindsey’s biting, snarling passion more than matches his dominant side. It might mean a chance at love for a cop in black leather and a wolf in Gucci loafers.
I found I liked this book better than the first in the series. Lindsey is a sympathetic character–the socialite with a social conscience. He’s 24, wealthy and lonely. His family is very loving and he’s got close friends in the Harker pack–notably Cole Harker–but he wants a life partner. Wolves are very big on mates, and Lindsey is unapologetically flamboyant, which is just not acceptable to his fellow wolves.
He’d settle for a human, but, well, rules of the pack state that humans can never know of their existence, plus Lindsey always wishes he could be the rough, dominant animal he hungers to unleash in bed and humans are…fragile.
Lindsey’s secret isn’t only that he’s half-werewolf, he’s also a vigilante. Super Granny has been policing the streets saving victims of mugging and attempted rape. Now, there’s a kidnapping ring that’s been ransoming children from Lindsey’s country club and Lindsey isn’t willing to sit on the sidelines–not when Super Granny can save the governor’s daughter!
In the mix of this, Lindsey meets Officer Seth Zakowsky–a rough-and-tumble motorcycle-riding expert on kidnappers. Seth is gay, but not interested in a “queen”–well, not at first. Lindsey is thoroughly attracted and knows full-well that a butch man like Seth would never accept him, yet Lindsey’s throwing of attitude has the opposite effect. Seth sees him as brave and really admires Lindsey’s athleticism and kindness. Seth had been raised in lower class life, and Lindsey’s wealth is kinda off-putting, but the more time they spend the more Seth sees Lindsey’s altruism, and the more he wants that man, despite the neck-kerchiefs and purple Gucci loafers.
“Everything about you weirds me out.” Seth didn’t look up. Those bubbles must be mesmerizing. “Your fucking silk scarves and purple shoes. Your ‘darling’ this and ‘sweetheart’ that. I hate that shit.
Lindsey spoke softly. “It’s not necessary to elaborate.” He downed the champagne in his glass.
“But then you get on that fucking horse as all I see is that ass and those thighs and I wish I was fucking Trigger. You’re pretty as a damned girl, but you command people like the king of something.”
Lindsey’s heart hammered in his chest.
“You’re confusing.” The gold eyes lifted slowly. “But I must fucking love being confused because I think about you all the time. I get horny in the middle of the damned day when somebody says your name. ‘Lindsey Vanessen volunteered to pay the ransom.’ Sprong. ‘Lindsey Vanessen will be attending the governor’s meeting.’ Hard-on. Crap, I may be confused about who you are, but I don’t know me at all.”
He could barely get the words out. “So wh-what are you saying?”
“That if I had my way, I’d be having you for dinner, and they wouldn’t let us back in the country club.”
There’s some complications–not the least of which is Seth uncovering one of Lindsey’s two major secrets–and a rather big kerfuffle. Spoiler: two break-ups here, and both are settled by outside forces.
I loved Lindsey, and really enjoyed the pace and action of this book. Cole was a great friend, and the intervention on Lindsey’s behalf to create the HEA was Pretty-Woman-ish in impact. Plus, the stage is set for the homophobic issues that come up in the next book, WINTER’S WOLF.
About the author:
Anywho, thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!