Spell of the Werewolf
by J.R. Loveless
Publisher: Independently Published
Cover Artist: Doelle Designs
Release Date: May 29, 2020
Genre/s: Paranormal Gay Romance
Trope/s: Enemies to Lovers
Themes: Self-forgiveness, redemption, learning to accept the things you can’t change.
Heat Rating: 3 flames
Length: 124 pages / 34 000 words
It is a standalone story.
Buy Links - Available on Kindle Unlimited
Moonrise will never be the same.
A werewolf with a death wish bargains with a hunter for salvation.
Justin has spent several lifetimes atoning for the violent nature of his curse. A mindless angry beast several nights a month, he carries a burden of blood for past sins. Tired and lonely, he’s seeking an end to his torment.
Vincent bears the curse, though only by half. A hybrid, he hunts those of his brethren who let their monsters take over. And he’s hell bent on destroying them all, until he's forced to deal with one who’s begging for peace. Except deliverance wears many guises.
Their desire for redemption erupts in a fiery passion drawing them closer together.
“Because you are so closed-minded you can’t see anything but what you want to see. Justin is a good person. He didn’t ask to be what he is. We can still find the one who bit him!”
Vincent laughed, a clear cynical sound behind it. “If he can find the one who made him. The number of werewolves grows every day. It’ll be impossible. So, no. He has to die!”
Justin had heard enough. He stepped forward and called, “Vincent.”
Vincent whipped his head around and smiled, harsh and bitter. “So you decided to show. This human means that much to you?”
“Let her go,” Justin snarled, ignoring Vincent’s question. “Then we can fight.”
“I’ll let her go… once you’re dead.”
Justin pulled the sword from his back and moved into the light shining from the fountain. “Let’s do it then.”
“Ah, so the little boy went and got himself a big knife, did he? Do you even know how to use it?” Vincent taunted him.
He did an expert twist of his wrist, sending the blade of the sword spinning around him. Vincent’s eyes narrowed just before he attacked. Their blades clashed against one another as they fought; their movements almost an elegant dance between them. “So you’ve had some training, kid? It’s not enough to save your ass.”
Vincent thrust at him, but Justin cut up with his sword and sent Vincent’s flying into the air. The blade clattered against the ground, landing a few feet from them. Before Justin could strike at him again, Vincent leapt backward, grabbed his sword, and flipped, landing several yards away from Justin. Justin knew it wasn’t going to be an easy fight.
Circling one another, their swords glinted in the moonlight. Justin narrowed his eyes while he waited for Vincent to make the first move. Too impatient to wait for Justin to make his move, Vincent went to strike once more. Justin blocked the blow and attempted a return hit, but Vincent was too fast, crashing his sword into Justin’s. Swords crossed at the blade, Justin thrust upward and managed to nick Vincent’s cheek. Vincent cursed, jumped backward, and touched the small cut. His fingers were dark with a smear of blood when he dropped his hand from his cheek. Justin smiled mockingly at him. “Aw. Did I cut you?”
Vincent curled his lip into a snarl and rushed toward Justin with his sword raised. The fight continued for some time, and eventually they stood facing one another, panting for breath. Justin could see Vincent’s anger reflecting outward from bright violet eyes. He’d never met another person with eyes the shade of amethyst. If he were honest with himself, Vincent would have caught his attention many years ago. The broad shoulders, gorgeous white hair, high cheekbones, and obvious strength rang all of Justin’s bells. Of course, the idea of Vincent ever having an interest in him caused Justin to snort.
The sound set off the next chain of events, flaming Vincent’s rage even higher, or so Justin figured when Vincent struck harder than before. They circled each other. Vincent took the next chance to slice at Justin, but Justin grabbed his wrist and wrenched him forward and over his shoulder, sending Vincent’s sword across the ground to Kara’s feet with a clatter of metal on the cement. Justin immediately pinned Vincent underneath him. Breathing heavily, Justin sat there atop Vincent for several seconds without a word, trying to catch his breath.
“I don’t want to kill you,” Justin rasped.
Vincent looked up at him in skepticism. “Why?” Vincent demanded.
Justin retained eye contact with him. “Because I don’t like hurting someone who hates those monsters just as much as I do.”
Vincent seemed to contemplate Justin’s words, and then something seemed to click inside Vincent. The fight left his body. Justin became aware of Vincent’s hard body against his, their suggestive position, and what it could have meant in another world. Flushing, Justin stood and held his hand out to Vincent, who studied him for several heartbeats before allowing Justin’s help up from the ground. Justin rushed to Kara’s side to untie her hands and massaged them to bring the feeling back into them.
“Don’t think this means I trust you, wolf,” Vincent growled as he retrieved his sword. “If you even so much as look at a human in the wrong way, I won’t hesitate to kill you.”
The sound of his sword bottoming out in its sheath punctuated his promise.
Kara glanced at him and snapped, “How do we know we can trust you?”
“You don’t.” Without another word, he strode off into the darkness.
I liked the idea of the hunter and the hunted falling for each other, and adding the fact that one is a werewolf and the other a hybrid added to my interest in reading this story. Here, instead of werewolves being the good guys the vast majority of them—as in all of them except Justin that we encounter in this story—are the monsters of yore, violently killing and rampaging while changed, unaware of what they are doing while in that state.
To make matters worse, it seems that these not-at-all-good werewolves are actually banding together to become more powerful in their altered state (not going to say anything else since it would be too spoiler-y). Justin is not like the rest. Okay, so he is when it comes to most of the physical attributes…but he is actually disgusted by what happens to him and what he is capable of when changed, and is trying to do something about it.
Enter Vincent, a hybrid werewolf/human who cannot change, but has the physical prowess that full werewolves do in their human form. He’s far beyond disgusted by those pure werewolves, hunting and killing them at every chance. Then Justin enters the picture, and though at first they go at it as hunter against hunted, as you expect that turns into a wary truce, and eventually something totally opposite.
I would have liked to have had more to this story, both in background and resolution. Things are not entirely settled at the end, and Justin himself does not know a lot about what he is so that means as a reader neither did I. This story does lay a foundation, if a bit spotty, if the author plans subsequent books.
Overall, Spell of the Werewolf was around 3.5 stars for me. Adult language and the intimate encounters between Justin and Vincent do mean that this book is meant for readers 18+.
About the Author
Her journey into gay romance began in 2005 when she began posting her original fiction on a forum for feedback and readers’ pleasure. In 2010, a good friend urged her to submit to a publishing company, and the day she received the acceptance and contract was the best day of her life. Since then, she has been noted to be one of the most purchased audio books after Fifty Shades of Grey on Audiobook.com, received best gay romantic fiction for Touch Me Gently in the 2011 TLA Gaybies, and even received an award for Chasing Seth in 2012.
J.R. adores her fans and loves hearing from them.