Title: Alpha’s Claim: Manlove Edition
Author: Multi-Authored Anthology
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
POV: 1st, 3rd
Sub-Genre: Paranormal, Werewolves/Shifters, Contemporary, Action/Suspense, Erotic Romance
Strength. Power. Domination.
The shifters in our Alpha’s Claim: Manlove Edition anthology have one thing in common—they won’t take “no” for an answer. Whether they lead packs of their own, or whether they walk a solitary path, these alphas won’t let anyone stop them from claiming their men.
Lose yourself in these ten sinfully delicious love stories. After all, who could deny an Alpha’s claim?
Be Warned: m/m sex
The Becoming by Tyler Robbins
Josh and Braden are two young men about to undergo the Becoming, when new male wolves get mated by the wolf spirits. The two boys couldn’t be more different. Josh is the son of the pack alpha, with big expectations resting on his shoulders. Braden is the son an exiled wolf who killed another pack member, and he’s hoping to be a part of a family again. But there are secrets, huge ones, and the boys becoming mated wreaks havoc come dawn.
What I found interesting here is that the shift into wolves comes from a concoction these young males drink at the ritual. That was new. The coming out theme was strong and painful here. Also, there’s a big plot, and I think they could have been dealt with in a longer novel. The cost of denying who you are brings a bitter edge to the story, and past becomes prologue. All that said, this was a very good start to the anthology. 4.5 stars.
Bite Harder by Avril Ashton
Rory is trying to protect his cousin, Brie, who was given as compensation to a powerful alpha, Moyer, for a crime their dickhead of an uncle committed. To save Brie, Rory offers himself for Moyer, not knowing that is exactly what the alpha prefers. Hot sex solves a lot of aches, it would seem. Rory wants to fight for his right to choose but ends up falling for the alpha’s sexy touch every time.
This story began with a brutal murder which kind of threw me for a loop. I instantly disliked Moyer for showing his alpha qualities in this manner. Also, the pack’s treatment of women is downright misogynistic. As is, the story is riveting and erotic and probably staying with you for a while, but as I didn’t care for the characters one bit, I didn’t care for the story, either. Not my cup of tea, sorry. 3.5 stars.
Bad Moon Rising by Pelaam
Marcus is a bear shifter who had been bitten by a werewolf during an attack. As a result, he’s been sleepwalking during the full moon. On one such night, he encounters lynx shifters attacking a smaller one, and he saves him. The runt, Kody, is alone and being hunted by an alpha of a rogue lynx pack. Marcus mates with Kody to save him, but trouble is brewing, not only among the lynx pack, but within Marcus’s own sleuth.
I’ve never read about one kind of shifter being bitten by another kind and having changed as a result. Intriguing notion, but not developed much. Also, a word of warning: This ends abruptly, with both the lynx problem and the sleuth problem unresolved. And there’s that annoying cliché of a rival woman who doesn’t seem to understand the meaning of gay. 3.5 stars.
Waking Up Wolf by Nikka Michaels
The apocalypse has happened. Only in this case, a kind of feral outbreak has caused some humans to go mad and kill or be killed without conscience, and others have shifted into half-human, half-animal hybrids. After a year, Adam is feeling the change coming, living alone in a ghost town, in the house where he used to be happy. In his dreams he’s called by a wolf, and then the same wolf appears in real life. He’s Grady, an alpha who used to be Adam’s friend, telling Adam they’re destined to be mates. Embrace the wolf within or go mad and die alone?
For a dystopia, this is unusual, a return to nature in every sense of the word. Fascinating setup. The change Adam undergoes is shown well, and there are exciting moments here. I felt like the story was just beginning when it ended. A shame. Interesting world-building with a captivating main hero. Grady remained a bit more unknowable but Adam was sweet and kind. 4 stars.
Laid Claim by JC Holly
A man walks into a bar… well, a shifter bar. Michael meets Craig who may or may not be a shifter. Nonetheless, he’s dominant and hung and more than willing, so a hot night in the backroom sounds just about right. What happens after climax?
This is pretty much straightforward paranormal erotica, and it’s done well. Michael’s need and urgency are described to the fullest, and the sex is immediate and blazing hot. BDSM themes here. This wasn’t a full-on romance, per se, but I liked this one a lot. It delivers on its promise of a sexy quickie. 4.75 stars.
Out in the Cold by Lucy Felthouse
Kane goes out on a jog, only to find a beaten unconscious man, Paul, close to the wall of his estate. He takes the man in because they’re both shifters, and of a special kind too. They’re both lonely for different reasons, and a bond of friendship and attraction forms. But what happens when Paul heals and leaves? The only way to keep him safe might mean Kane has to form a bond for the first time in his life.
It was curious to read about shifters who can change into anything, and yet not daring to because they’re alone, without protection, or in public. I was hoping this would be implemented in the plot some more, but alas not this time. The story is like a slice of life piece, with no clear beginning or end. I was simply hoping for more. Nonetheless, a good character-driven piece, plus the bonding scene was quite intense. 3.75 stars.
His Great Dane by Karly Germain
Hudson is a detective of the paranormal world, part vampire, part shifter. One night, after leaving a bar, he sees a man kicking a big white dog. He intervenes, the man runs away, and the injured dog follows Hudson home. Days go by and Hudson gets used to the dog being a part of his life. Then one day he comes home to find a white-haired guy in his hot tub, the dog nowhere to be seen. The attraction is instantaneous, the sex hot—and their troubles are just beginning.
The world-building is intricate and well thought out. An Umbra, a cop of the paranormal world; a Canis, a rare dog shifter; and illegal breeding of said dogs—who are in fact human, with human sentience, thoughts and feelings. To be used to breed new bloodlines, to be treated like an animal with no worth beyond the ones they can sire? Rough stuff. Dane is sweet where Hudson is grouchy. They complement each other well. I really wish this had been a bigger story, to give all the details about the paranormal world and the personalities of the men time to cement and grow into a rich tapestry. A well worthwhile read. 4.25 stars.
Claiming Ayden by Eileen Griffin
Thane is the alpha of his small pack, at war with another pack living up in the mountains. He has found his mate, Ayden, who is a young pup, so as advised by his beta, Thane has held off on claiming Ayden as his. Then the other pack attacks, leaving a trail of corpses behind, and takes the pups. The hunt begins, and a battle to end the war becomes a necessity.
This was very action-packed, quick-paced tale. These are wolves, beasts and predators, and their territorial struggles are bloody. I liked this, but the drawback was that Ayden is nothing but a pretty face, the goal of the chase. We don’t get his POV and we don’t really get to know him. I was disappointed by that because as such I didn’t get Thane’s attraction, other than the obvious beauty. The battle scenes are rough and deadly, the best parts of the story. The romance, not so much. 3.75 stars.
One Mate by Tamsin Baker
It’s Lucas’s first night as an alpha, the night when a chase of all the eligible wolves in the pack will give him his mate. Scent is his only guide. Lucas is expecting a female, having only slept with them. But chasing the alluring scent of his mate leads him to Jasper. Only… Jasper fights him, not wanting to be with a wolf who would have preferred a female to give him pups. But Lucas is willing to fight for his mate. And considering the reactions of his pack, he just might have to.
I liked the willingness of Lucas to try out new things and I loved Jasper’s vulnerability and sacrifice. Jasper would let Lucas sire pups with a woman since he can’t produce any, but Lucas is stronger and understands that beta wolves can continue the pack line just fine. This story has a simple plot of chasing a mate, actual mating, and coming out on top, so to speak. Simple and effective. 4 stars.
Be the Boss by Giselle Renarde
Desmond and Markus are regular joes who have been together for years, and their relationships is straining. Neither man wants to be the boss in and out of bed, their sex has dried up, and they’re not really talking to each other anymore. Then, one night, they see a man rummaging their trash, but the man disappears. They argue over the raccoon in the attic. Then Desmond has a dream about a raccoon-man who orders him around and fucks him through the mattress. In the morning he learns it wasn’t a dream. Azeban comes and goes as he pleases, and shows both men they need a strong hand to remember why they love each other.
A raccoon shifter? That’s a first for me. Plus, he has some awesome magical powers. Sex sure becomes interesting. The couple in need of a fresh injection of blood is described well, how they argue over nothing, talk about irrelevant things, and don’t listen to one another anymore. Very realistic and kind of sad how love can turn into constant bickering and forgetting why you fell in love in the first place. The new “boss” was like a finger of Mother Earth, a potent force to be reckoned with. No wonder Des and Mark go on a sex binge. A good, imaginative end to the anthology. 4 stars.
Reviewed By: Susan