Rating 4.25 stars
When werewolf Bobby Cotteau’s wife died, two things happened. One was that Bobby could finally start to live his life as he had always wanted to before his inner wolf chose Carol as his mate, live and love as a gay man. The second thing that started to happen? Bobby started to die. Without his mate, a werewolf will slowly waste away, and the only thing that can stop it if the shifter finds another mate, a rare occurrence. But before Bobby dies, he wants to experience the life he always wanted for himself. Not comfortable being out in St. Jerome parish where he used to be the Sheriff, Bobby heads out to neighboring towns to visit gay clubs and meet strangers for anonymous sex.
During one of his weekend stays at a Lake Charles hotel, Bobby meets Mark, a handsome man closer to Bobby’s fifty years of age and the sparks fly. A weekend of wild sex leaves both men satiated, physically and emotionally, something that surprises them both. Bobby leaves to return home and neither man has each others phone number or last name to their mutual regret.
Professor Mark Bradford teaches zoology at the local college, his specialty is wolves. Due to traumatic incident from his past, Mark has made it his life mission to prove the existence of wolves in the Louisiana bayou and now he thinks he has found the location of the wolves in a place called St. Jerome. The small parish even had a Rougaroux Social Club which put on a yearly Rugarou Festival about their swamp wolf. Now he is off with camera and recorder in hand to get the final bit of proof he needs to make his colleagues believe in him. Once he has done this, perhaps he can finally start his life fresh, maybe even with the man he has meet in Lake George.
Bobby has the responsibility of running their Rugarou Festival this year but all he wants to do is find Mark. Bobby has finally realized what his emotions have been telling him, that Mark is his true mate but he doesn’t know where to find him. Then there is a Jesus sighting in the bark of the old tree in the church parking lot, a band cancels and he has to find a replacement while hiding from the widow determined to get Bobby to marry her. Things are falling apart faster than Bobby can fix them, but he has no idea that the worst is yet to come. His true mate coming to town to expose his pack. It will take all of his years experience, all of his wiles and major mojo if Bobby can save Mark, himself, his pack and the festival.
What a wild and wonderful sexy romp this book turned out to be. I fell in love with this series with the first book, Bayou Dreams which introduced us to St. Jerome, Sheriff Scott Dupree, his mate Ted and all the other colorful characters of the parish. Scott was the first shifter in his conservative, Catholic pack to come out as gay and bring in his human mate as a pack member. Scott did it with the backing of Bobby Cotteau, a man who is not only his mentor but has acted as his father figure since the death of his dad. Bobby, even as a secondary character, still managed to grab my attention. Then in the second book, Bayou ‘s End (Billy and Peter’s story), it comes out that Bobby is gay but he buried that fact about himself when he married Carol all those years ago. That was a truly heartbreaking and unexpected element of that book and it further endeared the character of Bobby Cotteau to all the readers.
Now Lynn Lorenz uses all her wonderful gifts of characterization and vivid portraits of the Louisiana towns and countryside to bring Bobby’s story to life in Technicolor (google it) terms and lusty joy. The first part of the story is consumed with bobby and Mark’s first encounter in Lake Charles. And while it might seem one continuous sexual encounter (love that shifter stamina), it really shows the slow turn around in the attitude and thoughts of both men as the weekend progresses. As physical satisfaction evolves to an emotionally happy state of mind, Bobby and Mark start to realize that this weekend is becoming more than just a quick sexual fix and the sex changes to reflect that. And while Bobby realizes that Mark is his true mate there is not a case of instant love going on here, just a meshing of individuals.
And as with the previous books, there are quite a few humorous elements here to offset the angst, mostly supplied by that wonderful character of Darlene Dupree, Scott’s mother and her black cat, which just might be her familiar. She has her own peculiar way of looking at religion that Father Peder, the parish priest would not approve of or even her son, the object of several of her spells gone awry. She cracks me up every time and as she is such a lively, fleshed out riot of a person, you can’t wait to see what escapade she will cause next.
But Bobby and Mark, especially Bobby are the reasons to read this book. Bobby is such a wonderful character, older and yet more vulnerable than he should be at his age, finally able to be himself for the first time in his life and yet looking at such a small time in which to experience everything he has denied himself unless a miracle happens and then it does. I loved him. I love St. Jerome and can’t wait to see who and what will come up next in this small bayou town. Mama Dupree is making noise about grandchildren that should leave the reader laughing in anticipation and her son and mate quaking in their boots. Either way, you know it will be memorable and that is why this series continues to be a must read for me. I think it will be yours too.
But start at the beginning and catch up with all the parish going ons and relationships. Here are the books in the order they were written and need to be read to understand the characters and their relationships:
Bayou Dreams (Rougaroux Social Club #1)
Bayou’s End (Rougaroux Social Club #2)
Bayou Loup (Rougaroux Social Club #3)