Rating: 4,25 stars
Dylan Warner was quiet, shy, a milquetoast kind of guy that no one noticed. An architect, he normally stayed home with his plans until one impulsive night out changed his life forever. Dylan can’t believe his luck when a hot guy in leathers, Andy, picks him up and takes him home for an evening of hot sex. One evening stretches into many with Dylan hardly coming up for a breath. Then one night he awakes to hear growling in the living room and opens the door to see a wolf in the middle of his carpet. Before he knows what is happening, the wolf attacks him, biting him viciously and then bounds out the door. Dylan has been bitten by a werewolf and his life changed in an instant.
Now Dylan lives by the phases of the moon, dreading the nights he will have to lock himself away in the steel reinforced room in his condo. Only his brother and sister in law know what has happened to him. In an wry turnaround, Dylan now finds himself bulked up, gorgeous, and a sexual magnet as a side effect of his new status as a werewolf. Everyone wants him and Dylan won’t let anyone close for fear of hurting them, an irony he is well aware of. Living in the city is choking him and his wolf so when his brother suggests buying a place in the country and telecommuting, he is all over it. Dylan purchases a former Christmas tree farm and begins renovations.
But Dylan’s new country farmhouse comes with an attractive neighbor, Chris Nock, with tons of his own baggage. Then Andy shows up again, determined to keep Dylan a part of his pack. Everything that Dylan worked so hard to achieve, his peace of mind, his friendship with Chris, everything is in jeopardy unless Dylan can deal with his inner wolf and the alpha that has come to claim him.
I am a sucker for a shifter story and look forward to the details each author adds to the shifter lore and any new twists added to the werewolf genre. Some authors go for the seamless shift from human to wolf and back. Others get into the nitty-gritty physicalities of body transformation including vivid descriptions of bone breaking and accompanying pain. Some authors go the whole mate route, you know “wolves mate for life” with instant mate recognition path while others go for the human romance “harum scarum” route. In some books, the wolves shift by the moon and others shift on command. That’s what I love about this genre, there are no hard and fast rules. I love watching each author come to a werewolf or shifter story from their own perspective and Kim Fielding is no different, giving us some new twists on a popular character in m/m fiction.
In Dylan Warner, we have a mild mannered “grey” sort of man who is transformed into a sexy “beast” after being bitten by a werewolf. Fielding gives us a Kent Clark/Superman persona but substituting werewolf for Superman, an intriguing notion. Then Fielding takes it one further with an ironic twist in that now a very sexy Dylan refuses to act on his new status because he fears the very thing that has made him so attractive. Instead of becoming big man on the town, Dylan withdraws into his shell, isolating himself from others in a way he never was before his transformation. Indeed, Dylan separates the “human” from the “wolf” inside, a duality not as common in other shifter fiction. Usually the human mind is aware and active inside their wolf body, not entirely so here, a problem when it comes to hunting. Another reason Dylan barricades himself inside a fortified room. Hunt humans or hunt animals? He has seen Andy kill a person and wants to make sure he does not do the same.
Fielding’s other characters aren’t given the same amount of depth that Dylan has. Chris Nock, the attractive neighbor next door to Dylan’s farmhouse has a troubled history that is only referred to on a couple of occasions. As he is so much of the story here, I would have preferred to learn more about Chris’ past. He calls himself a “whore”, mentions bouncing around the foster system and then nothing more. Chris came across as extremely judgmental in the beginning but where is the basis for that? Especially given the events that follow? I would have loved to have seen Chris given a better foundation for his character and his actions throughout the story. I liked Chris, more information would have made me love him.
Andy, the werewolf who instigated all the events here engendered mixed feelings from me. I could understand his desperation to have a pack or his need for companionship, but in a sort of throw away line, we find out Andy has become a serial killer in his attempts to recreate a Dylan to an almost absolute lack of horror from Dylan. Why didn’t Dylan react more to that fact when he hears it? Not sure, given his reaction to an earlier kill Andy made. In fact while I could see what Fielding was trying to achieve with the relationship dynamics between Andy and Dylan, I am not sure I ever bought it. Dylan’s reactions to Andy fluctuate dramatically, so much so he is telling him to get lost and then having sex with him, albeit in an animalistic manner. One such moment left an acrid taste in my mouth, considering the events that happened just prior. I don’t want to include any spoilers but it just seems to me that the author could have gotten the same point across in another fashion. Wolf vs human actions, how to handle the dichotomy. Got it, don’t hit me in the face with it, though.
I really enjoyed Good Bones and Kim Fielding’s take on werewolves. I found only some minor editing errors. A “close guy” instead of closest guy but on the whole, it is very well done. This is the first book of hers I have read and it won’t be the last. This is a wonderful addition to the werewolf genre, don’t hesitate to pick it up. You won’t be sorry.
Cover: Christine Griffin was the cover artist and I think she did a terrific job conveying the subjects within with a darkly moody cover and great graphics.
Book available at Dreamspinner Press. All Romance Ebooks, Fictionwise and Amazon.