A MelanieM Review: Old Loyalty, New Love (L’Ange #1) by Mary Calmes


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Old Loyalty new Love coverJackal shifter Quade Danas has spent decades away from home and pack after his father the Alpha banished Quade for being gay.  Quade vanished into the military, acquiring the skills and mindset he would need when he returned to civilian life as a bodyguard for Roman Howell, the teenage son of a very rich man.

Roman Howell has had two constants in his life.  The L’Ange, the beloved chateau he grew up in and Quade Danas, his bodyguard who is so much more to him than that title implies.  Quade has been there for him through two of the worst times in his life.  The first, being the school accident that cost Roman his good looks, physical well being and almost his life.  The second time was when his parents died, leaving a scarred young man alone to handle his parent’s business empire and estate, alone except for Quade.

Roman has always loved Quade but how to get his bodyguard to see that its the man he loves and not the safety net Quade has always represented to Roman?  Roman is determined to have Quade for his own, because he realizes something that even Quade hasn’t admitted, that Quade loves him back.

Quade has grown to love the young man he has watched over for years.  But he has convinced himself that the large difference in years between them as well as the secrets he hides put Roman out of reach, as his love and mate.  Then a call from his past puts his continued employment and relationship with Roman in jeopardy.  His old pack desperately needs him to return and take over. Quade feels compelled to heed the call, he may be forced to make a choice he never anticipated. But doing so means he must leave Roman behind… unless somehow they find a way to make loyalty and love work together.

I adore Mary Calmes shifters and with her new series, L’Ange, she gives the readers a new cast of shifters to fall in love with.  Old Loyalty, New Love sets the foundation of her series with the setting of the lands and the  “château d’Ange,” or “house of angels,” as it was named,  home of the wealthy Howell family. L’Ange is more than just a huge manor to Roman Howell, the only heir to the Howell fortune and empire.. It is home, full of happy memories of his parents and the only place where he feels safe and content. Calmes brings us into Roman’s life when he is 27.  It’s been six years since his parents have died, and Roman, with Quade’s support and advice, has come to grips with their death and his transfigured face and body as Chapter 1 opens.  And while we have the occasional flashback, it is mostly the adult Roman that we deal with.

I really like how Calmes is introducing new types of main characters into her stories.  In the past the author has been shown to be fond of  two distinct types of “leading men” in her stories.  In a way, those main characters have been a sort of hallmark of hers, and a beloved one at that.  But in Old Loyalty, New Love, a new type of character emerges, one so very different and yet totally appealing in his own right.  Roman Howell’s face now resembles a mask of melted wax, the result of a horrific fire aboard a school bus.  Here is our first glimpse of Roman, seen through Quade’s eyes:

A lot of the guys that Roman’s “friends” brought to meet him were startled by his appearance. Most of his face resembled melted wax, and the skin that didn’t was cratered and thick in some places, stretched thin and reddened in others. At first glance, people were still surprised, but to me, he was simply Roman Howell, my boss, who I had met as a boy of sixteen and watched become a man I both respected and admired. Now, the pictures of him before the accident were what caught me off guard. What could have been an ordinary face had been transformed, to me, into a visage of resilience and power.

There’s certainly nothing cute or adorable about either Roman or Quade, in personality or visage.  Quade is in fact quite a bit older, a bit menacing, and a jackal shifter to boot.  Both characters felt as fresh and fascinating as their personalities and relationship.  As relayed through the synopsis, Quade and Roman has a long, convoluted history together, one overlaid by an employer/employee relationship as well as a protector/protected one.  Mary Calmes then sets about demonstrating how intimate and genuine that relationship has become, changing into something deep-rooted and intense. It’s new depth is one Quade isn’t ready to acknowledge.  Trust me when I say, these two will grab you by the heartstrings, never to let go.

Quade has some aspects of past main characters, but he is so much his own personality.  Older, scarred, loyal to a fault,and a jackal shifter as well.  Quade is as complex and magnetic you could hope for.  I loved their interchanges and interactions with each other.

Aside from Quade and Roman, chateau L’Ange, is home to a fascinating assortment of characters, like the head of security, Arman de Soto, and Linus Hobbes, L’Ange’s manager. They and other shifters will figure largely in the books to come. I did find it a shame that the blurb gave away the fact that Quade was a jackal shifter as that bit of information comes slowly to the reader in small pieces.  At the beginning you arent’ sure what type of shifter Quade is but you see him following wolves at the beginning, so you might have imagined Quade as a wolf to begin with.  But the L’Ange series is full of different types of shifters and you are going to love the surprises that Calmes has in store for her readers.  I know I throughly enjoyed it as one wonderful revelation after another surfaced in the plot.  It made me love this story, along with Roman, and Quade, and all the rest.

The story flows along quickly, and even as new characters arrive to enlarge the cast, it never feels too overcrowded or bogged down.  There is a wonderful resolution and new mysteries set up for the next books to solve.  I can already tell this is going to be a new favorite series of mine.  I think you will feel the same.  Consider Old Loyalty, New Love a highly recommended read! Now on to Fighting Instinct (L’Ange #2). I can hardly wait!

Cover artist:  Anne Cain delivers a lovely cover with it’s gothic overtone but I think I had hoped for a little something more to make it great.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press  eBook & Paperback & Audio           All Romance (ARe)         amazon             buy it here

Book Details:

ebook, 246 pages
Published December 13th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press (first published December 12th 2013)
ISBN 1627984755 (ISBN13: 9781627984751)
edition languageEnglish
Books in the Series Include:

Old Loyalty, New Love (L’Ange #1)
Fighting Instinct (L’Ange #2)

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