This review originally appeared on BDSM Book Reviews.
Well, partner, what ya got here is a tale of the old west, about three men who find they have a right powerful hankering for each other. As if a menage wasnâ€™t complicated enough, one of the men is a US Marshall, and a former slave. In the post civil war period, thatâ€™s a big complication. But wait, the author apparently thought, letâ€™s make it even more complicated. Letâ€™s make one of the other men a shape-shifter, able to take the form of a wolf at will.
There are so many potentially big issues that this story could have addressed, or used to dramatic effect, but most of them get short shrift. James is the black US Marshall, and the oldest of the three men. The racial issue gets brought up often, but when it comes to the other two men, thereâ€™s little exploration of how they feel about their attraction to a man of color. This is a constant problem with the story, every issue that should prove a barrier and provide some drama to the story is often simply brushed aside. For more than half the book, weâ€™re told that shifters like Troy, the middle man in the threesome, are feared and hunted down like the animals they become. When Troy decides almost spontaneously to show what he is to his two admirers and shifts into his wolf form, their reaction could easily be summed up as simply, â€œCool!â€ No fear, no suspicion, nothing. Just instant acceptance with few, if any, questions.
Chris is the third and youngest man in the menage. At just 21 years old, heâ€™s probably seen more pain than a young man should, but heâ€™s still anxious to show heâ€™s a full grown man. Chris is something of a catalyst that draws the group together, and both of the older men quickly grow very protective of the younger man, who they see as still innocent, even though, sexually, he is perhaps the most wanton of the three.
When the three finally get some uninterrupted time together, James takes complete control in a very dominant fashion. This could well be an interesting D/s/s story, but itâ€™s just the one scene. Thereâ€™s also some light bondage (restraints and a blindfold). Yet again, weâ€™re given some story elements that could be quite interesting to explore, but theyâ€™re promptly dropped and hardly mentioned again.
The writing is capable, although it telegraphs too much of where the story is headed. There are a few uses of anachronistic words, but I donâ€™t think they would bother the casual reader. Itâ€™s just disappointing to have so many ideas introduced and not developed. Itâ€™s almost like someone sat down and looked at the themes of all the popular romance books and created a shopping list of story elements to be included. It might get a lot of people interested in the book, but itâ€™s not a very satisfying read.