This book came from the library, and I will never give you less than an honest review, no matter its source. I do provide informational and purchase links to make it more convenient for you to access the book. I also receive a percentage of the sale if you use one of my links to buy it. And that's not enough money to be less than truthful *grin*.
by Kate Douglas
First in the Chanku [see Note below] erotica paranormal romance series revolving around a group of shapeshifting wolves based in Montana. The couples focus is on Xandi and Stefan and Anton and Keisha.
Note: I have dubbed the combined writings into an overall series name of “Chanku”; the full-length novels are all titled Wolf Tales # while the short story collections are all titled Sexy Beast #.
While this is a full-length novel, it almost reads more like a four-story collection as Douglas is introducing us to the four characters who begin this overall series.
Normally, I like to start at the beginning of a series, but I happened upon this one through various short story collections and am only now starting with the beginning. This beginning does not have the psychological depth of her later stories and, while it does explore each character’s thoughts and feelings, it does not have the same degree of compassion as the later stories. Don’t get me wrong, the compassion is there, but it seems as though the sex has a higher priority.
Most of the story is an excuse for erotica and Douglas does explore the alpha demands of wolves as well as the sexual liberties of male-male, female-female, male-female, and three- and four-person orgies.
Being Chanku is a permission to allow oneself to explore any combination of interactions with other people whether they are of the same or opposite sex. A very open-minded approach, which does raise questions for the characters, and hopefully, for ourselves. Homosexuality has been acceptable and forbidden throughout history even as our human nature is more attuned to a one-to-one relationship than one of sharing, and Douglas’ stories are an exploration of acceptance, joy, and love even as Stefan agonizes over his obsession with Anton! And worries how Xandi will react to it. Just as Xandi worries about her own attraction to two men and how Stefan will react to that!
I’m not really sure what the point was in bringing Carl Burns into the picture except for some gratuitous tension. Balance out all the gratuitous sex, perhaps??
Xandi is going to die when her car goes off the road and the blizzard piles snow up around and on top of her. It just figures this is the way her vacation would start. Jared cheating on her. She’s told her coworkers she’ll be gone for a few weeks and they don’t need to know her plans. But then she’s rescued twice by the same mysterious, very sexual stranger.
Stefan has been in self-exile for five years now, abandoning a brilliant career as a magician after a brutal encounter. With Xandi’s help, he’s finally gotten up the nerve to address the changes he has suffered. Now if only he can accept the punishment Anton will hand out.
The three, Xandi, Stefan, and Anton use their time to become comfortable with each other and with the revelations explained by Anton. It’s Anton who gets a feeling about another possible packmate. A woman raped by a gang, but rescued by either a rival gang or werewolves.
Well, we “know” how likely a werewolf rescue is in the real world, but Keisha Rialto has her doubts. Her nightmares are too realistic, too personal. When Xandi, Stefan, and Anton find her, persuade her as to her true nature, Keisha is relieved on the one hand, but she still cannot bring herself to indulge in the sex act.
The original three are patient and use their psychic abilities, compassion, and love to help Keisha finally embrace both the love and the people.
Alexandria “Xandi” Olanet is miserable. Stefan Aragat was a magician, a fool, and too proud for words. Oliver is both security and chauffeur. Anton Cheval is Stefan’s mentor and sexual obsession. Anton is the man who discovered the truth about his nature while indulging in his studies and has been searching for others like him.
Keisha Rialto is a landscape architect in San Francisco with a design up for a prestigious project in Golden Gate Park. She is also a rape victim struggling to come back from the attack on herself as well as the trauma of the mad beast who tore her attackers apart. What’s worse, in her dreams, it’s herself who has perpetrated the destruction.
Carl Burns is a tabloid reporter determined to out Keisha as a werewolf.
The Cover and Title
The cover is shades of purples with a carefully airbrushed nude couple — mid-thigh to above their heads. A very pale full lilac moon is behind them.
It certainly is Wolf Tales, or at least tales about four wolves and how they came together. Hmmm, I guess that pun is intended…