To Tempt the Wolf
Grrr. If you happen to have heard a growl outside your house recently, odds are that it was not a lupus garou (apparently a version of the French for grey werewolf, and the favored term of author Terry Spear), but I, Charlotte, growling in frustration as I waded through this overlong book that falsely advertises itself as a romance. Adding to the horror, this is a paperback reissue of a book from 2009, which means someone went to the trouble of reprinting it over publishing the work of a new author.
Hunter Greymere is a centuries-old alpha werewolf whose pack has been forced north from California as a result of fires destroying their land. He and his sister, Meara, head to Oregon, where their uncle lives. Said uncle heads off to Florida in the time-honored tradition of retirees both human and supernatural, leaving Hunter with a warning about their neighbor, Tessa Anderson.
Tessa is an orphaned nature photographer whose brother has just been convicted of murdering his girlfriend. When Meara runs off with male werewolves (the poor girl is hormonal), Hunter goes after her and ends up in an altercation with other werewolves that results in him washing up on Tessa’s beach, a naked amnesiac. Tessa, meanwhile, is being hunted by what is eventually revealed to be a werewolf, and Hunter ends up basically moving in to protect her and solve the mystery of her brother’s girlfriend’s murder.
This could have been a cozy-winter-fantasy paranormal. The setting is all snow and storms and cabin fireplaces, and Tessa is thrilled rather than freaked out to have a rock-hard stranger in her house (I really had to suspend disbelief to accept that). But this is no steam-fest of werewolf sex. Instead, Ms. Spear keeps moving more people into the house. First comes Tessa’s ex-boyfriend, then comes Tessa’s attempted rapist – you read that right, see below — then a nurse alpha female werewolf (you just know there’s an adult film named that, right?) and finally, Hunter’s sister.
Neither the hero or heroine moved me in any way that wasn’t negative or at least irritating. There’s a whole plot/question of the book that centers on whether Tessa is “alpha enough” to be a werewolf, and I was as doubtful as Hunter was. She’s the sort of girl who gets out of the safety of her car alone in a storm to confront strangers (this is an actual scene). If you want to read a book about a true alpha female who falls in love with a werewolf, read Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series.
Hunter is on an entirely other level. Honestly, I don’t think he even deserves to be called a hero. After he finds out that Tessa was the victim of an attempted sexual assault, he forgives the guy, Ashton, and welcomes him into their pseudo (and eventually real) wolfpack. Why? Because, Ashton was drunk and now wants to help. Hunter’s behavior struck me as a deep betrayal of Tessa. And Ms. Spear doesn’t even address Tessa’s feelings about it other than when, seeing that Ashton is being pursued as a mate by the aforementioned-nurse-alpha-female werewolf, she has the thought that “Ashton definitely deserved some payback after what he had pulled with her”. The worst part of it is, Hunter is a hardliner about rape in the werewolf community, in which the default penalty is death. Hunter’s words of wisdom to Ashton about the nurse-alpha-female-werewolf? “If you don’t want Cara for a mate, just say no. Firmly!” God help us all.
Seeing as Tessa and Hunter are essentially living by choice in Full House: Werewolf Edition, the amount of opportunity for sexy times is, as they say, limited. My introduction to paranormal romance was Lora Leigh’s Breeds series, which is smoking hot and includes sex that is wonderfully creative and equal. The sex in To Tempt the Wolf is brief and astoundingly dull, and Hunter does basically nothing to pleasure Tessa physically. Who knew the favorite position of werewolves was missionary?
I think I’ve spent enough time on To Tempt the Wolf. Hopefully, I’ve spared you having to spend more time on it too, unless you’re looking for material for a thesis project on the topic of romances that shouldn’t have the nerve to include themselves in that wonderful category. Grr.
NOTE: This book has been reissued in print with a different cover to the one shown. It also includes a Bonus Novella that is not available in the digital edition.