Secret of the Wolf
I am a big monster romance aficionado, and have heard good things about Rebecca Flanders’ werewolf books. So when I learned Silhouette was going to reissue them this year, I was excited. Secret of the Wolf is the first of the three to be released, and, regrettably it tempered some of my excitement about this series. It wasn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t incredibly convincing, compelling reading either.
Newspaper writer Aggie McDonald is driving home through thick fog one creepy night when she hits a dog. Or at least she thinks it’s a dog. When she leaps out of her car to investigate, she realizes she’s hit a man. A strange man. A man with no identification except for an odd-looking medal hanging around his neck.
When he wakes up in the hospital the next morning, Aggie’s victim – who may or may not be called Michael – can’t remember who he is or how he came to be wandering naked through the fog. Propelled by guilt and an interest in his story, Aggie proposes to her editor that she do a continuing story on the subject of identity in general and this man’s in particular. She takes him home with her and installs him in her house with the dual purpose of observing him and helping him get back on his feet.
It is immediately obvious to Aggie that Michael is not exactly normal. He has some strange genetic malformations, very advanced sense perception, and a certain hypnotic aura that affects her profoundly. He also is frightened that someone may be hunting him. He can’t remember why, but he senses he’s in danger. All of this Aggie ignores because he is so fascinating, charming, and attractive. She’s approaching her mid-thirties and starting to hear her biological clock ticking. To all appearances, Michael is a bad bet, but something inside her says he’s the one.
As a werewolf story, this book is fairly interesting. It’s always fun to see what kind of boundaries an author will set for her monsters, to see what their strengths and weaknesses are. In this case because of his amnesia, Michael discovers these things at the same time the reader does. The other werewolves who make appearances are, for the most part, educated, urbane and charming. More werewolf interaction would have made this story better, in fact.
As a romance, however, this book is unconvincing. Aggie’s attraction to Michael is understandable. He has a very magnetic appeal, and it’s obvious that in his previous life he was financially and socially successful. Unfortunately, the reader never learns much more about Michael even when his werewolf-y background is revealed. He’s kind of a monster cipher. Aggie is not even that appealing, and her character is largely undeveloped. She’s a writer who’s tired of focusing on her career. She has maternal instincts. She apparently has little common sense when it comes to strange men of undetermined origin. What Michael sees in her remains a mystery. Choosing her as a mate costs him something, and the love required (by both parties) to make the relationship work never really comes across. That they know each other only a very short time does nothing to make this more believable.
The book finishes with a number of unresolved questions about Aggie and Michael’s future together. The happy ending is there, but the reader is left wondering how the details will be worked out and how Michael and Aggie will relate to his family in the future. Or will they?
Secret of the Wolf isn’t really my kind of werewolf book. I much prefer it when the monsters embrace their darker characteristics, when they revel in their supernatural abilities and their different-ness. Michael is a nice character, but it’s clear he doesn’t really want to be a werewolf or live amongst his kind. To those readers who like more sensitive monsters, he might be more appealing. Overall, this wasn’t a bad read, and I didn’t feel I wasted my time, but more romance and more werewolf interaction would have made this one considerably better.