Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
For Nicholas Cartwright it was just supposed to be a typical night clubbing. Dancing, hot men, and if he got lucky and hooked up? Even better. Then the man he left the bar with turned out to be his true mate and everything went to hell. His mate rejected him, driving Nick away, demolishing all his dreams and hopes for the future. That was six months ago. Now Nick has tried everything he can to forget that night and the fact that he has a mate that doesn’t want him. But he can’t and he is suffering, swamped with the need for the mate his wolf calls for and the pain and humiliation of knowing he’s been rejected.
Thayne Whitedove has always been a wanderer, a lone wolf who takes comfort in the casual hookups and the rare visit home to his pack’s lands. Then Thayne commits a fatal mistake, one that is following him from place to place in deadly pursuit. The only way to correct his mistake is to accept the one thing he’s never wanted… his mate. Thayne must decide whether to keep running or to stay and fight for Nick’s forgiveness and acceptance.
Burying himself in his work, Nick pushes himself to the point of exhaustion while finding the touch of another unbearable. Suddenly his mate needs his help, and Thayne may be asking for more than Nicholas can find it in himself to give.
Forgiving Thayne is the first story I have read in J.R. Loveless’s True Mates series. The first story, Chasing Seth, dealt with veterinarian Seth Davies and his mate, Kasey Whitedove. This couple figures prominently in this story and the author is careful to include enough information and back history on both of them that I didn’t feel that this story suffered by skipping over book one. In fact, one of the main characters in Forgiving Thayne, Thayne Whitedove, made appearances in that story as he is Kasey’s brother, to set up a foundation for this one.
The only section where the world building might feel a little incomplete (the full history of the shifter natures of Seth and Nick) seems to be explored more fully in book one. My curiosity and interest in this author’s shifter universe will send me to the beginning of this series and Chasing Seth for additional information. Otherwise, I feel that this story can be judged on its own qualities and it has many good ones.
The Whitedove family is part of a Native American shifter tribe that expects a strict adherence to the tribal rules and regulations. Running a foul of the highest of those laws puts Thayne in direct conflict with his family and tribe. In addition, an old promise has kept Thayne moving from place to place with limited connections to home and territory. I loved the richness of Loveless’ setting and shifter lore. This author has built a deep mythology for their shifters and uses it as a framework for Forgiving Thayne. The setting, especially the town of Senaka and the Wolf’s Den bar, lend an authentic tone to the events and characters that appear in this story. Building on this supernatural structure, Loveless creates a key component of the plot and narrative that feels logical, yet still surprising. In fact, I wish more of this aspect of the story had been expanded, to include more details and the reasoning behind it. It was one of the more intriguing elements here and it made the story for me.
I think most of my issues dealt with the main characters, especially that of Thayne. His actions and dialog is that of a gold plated jerk, a judgement that should have been disappeared once his reasoning and back history is revealed. But that aspect of his character remains intact for the majority of the story primarily because the rationale created by the author and the consequences of old actions just never make any sense. Without going into too much detail or spoiler territory, the basis for a promise that has severe implications in adulthood never felt solid and his continued actions and poor judgement calls felt more contrived than believable. To make this element even flimsier, the “aha” moment was diluted by a complete lack of drama that included the reactions of an old friend. That person we believed in. Thayne? Not so much.
What holds up this romance and makes it work is the character of Nicholas Cartwright. He’s lovely, angst ridden, and totally vulnerable in a way that the reader will connect with. He saves the romance and the relationship because no matter how the reader will feel about Thayne, Nicholas is there to pull it all back together.
There is a third story on the horizon, Protecting Kai (True Mates #3). I shall be in line when that one comes out and will pick up and start reading Chasing Seth to complete the back history and make sure I have all the series key components in mind.
Do I recommend this story? Yes, especially to those lovers of shifter romances. J.R. Loveless throws in some fascinating new touches to wolf shifter lore and her characters have a certain sass and depth I find necessary and interesting. So check it out and let me know how you feel, about Chasing Seth or Forgiving Thayne!
Cover Artist: Anne Cain has some nice touches and does a good job of branding the series with the same elements.
amazon Forgiving Thayne
book, 290 pages
Published October 1st 2014 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 163216213X (ISBN13: 9781632162137)
seriesTrue Mates #2
True Mates Series includes:
Chasing Seth (True Mates #1)
Forgiving Thayne (True Mates #2)
Protecting Kai (True Mates #3) coming soon