Werewolves are real. Marius enjoys the irony that everyone calls him a dog whisperer, not just because he's a werewolf, but for his work at the local animal shelter.
He has a unique talent for pairing families with their perfect pets upon first meeting them. But he's still looking for acceptance and a forever family of his own.
Then Jack comes into the rescue looking for a big, mean dog. To prevent Jack from making the wrong choice, Marius convinces him to adopt a needy spaniel mix instead. But when Marius learns Jack is tormented by horrible memories while at his apartment, he opens his home to the sweet, scared man.
As their relationship grows, Jack feels comfortable telling Marius about the horrors he suffered. Marius hopes his steady presence, protection, and love can help Jack reclaim the pieces of himself broken on that terrible night.
©2014 Caitlin Ricci (P)2014 Dreamspinner Press
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"Fantastic narration but can't save this story"
Marius runs an animal shelter and Jack comes in one day looking to adopt a dog. Jack is paralyzed with fear then runs away, only to have Marius chase after him. Marius is convinced Jack is scared because Marius is a werewolf. But, that’s not it. Jack is afraid because he was attacked and is now afraid of men.
It takes a long time, Jack has some tremendously deep scars, but Jack realizes he needs a dog and he finds a dog that needs him just as badly. In the meantime, he finds Marius, and Marius has the patience and skills needed to help both Jack and his new dog to heal.
Over time, the two forge the beginnings of a relationship and Missy, the new dog, finds her forever home.
I haven’t read any other books by this author, but I can tell she does a lot of research. The writing she does about the shelter and dog owning and training is spot on. She must have also done some careful research on abuse, because she characterizes Jack’s pain with an equally detailed hand.
People who love animals will undoubtedly enjoy the parallels between Jack and Missy. Missy has been abused and so was Jack. The way they act and the way they heal are closely mirrored in an artful way.
Marius is a friggin’ saint. He helped a girl, who is a friend, through a similar situation in high school, and now he uses those tools on Jack. Each small step forward in their relationship is painstakingly earned, but at the end, there is a real sense that the two might have a chance at something.
There are parts of this story that could have been done differently. Marius’ werewolf never makes much of an entrance, though he does have some non-human skills he uses to help Jack along. I, who LOVE shifter stories, was disappointed by this.
I really liked Marius’ brother and his co-worker Seth. I felt these guys were also under-utilized – perhaps saving up for a sequel?
Jack’s broken-ness got to be a bit tedious for me. I appreciate the need to move slowly, he was really hurt badly, but I kinda wanted to skim through this part of the book and get to the relationship part, but it was well written.
There were some other odd characteristics to the book – Why don’t we ever get to actually know what happened? Why would Jack (who is a nobody) be a victim of blackmail? Why would he have the video of his attack on in his VCR and forget it when he and Marius sit down to watch a movie for the first time? But there were some really well done moments too – the first time they kiss, how Jack relates to Missy, the story Marius tells about his high school friend.
All in all it is a nice book about healing and dogs and the nature of friendship (both with animals and people).
I give it 3 stars of 5.
Tyler Stevens does an excellent job!
I first heard him narrate with Aaron by JP Barnaby and he blew me away. He does another really great job here. His voice is so easy to listen to, and you can tell he “gets” the story he’s telling. His female voices are good and not over the top and I really enjoy his intonation and rhythm.
I would definitely look for his books in the future and give his performance a 5 of 5 stars.
Overall review 4 of 5 stars for the audio version
"Pretty good sort of shifter story."
The way Stevens told Jack's story, the voice he gave him was so fragile and endearing, just like the character.
When One Door Opens by JD Ruskin. The male leads in both stories are very similar.
I have, several in fact. I like the youth he exudes in his voice.
Why mess with perfection?
Marius is a werewolf in a society where shifters have come out into the open. He runs a shelter for throwaway animals, those that are older, abused or otherwise unwanted. Marius uses his talent as a shifter to partner up animals and owners and he’s pretty good at his job. Now if he could just find a partner for himself.
Jack is in a constant downward spiral, afraid of his own shadow after he was violated in the worst possible way, in his own home, just for answering the door. He comes to the shelter looking for a BIG dog, but Marius can sense the fear and knows immediately that what Jack thinks he wants and what he actually needs, are not the same thing.
Patience is a virtue that Marius carries in abundance. He slowly pulls back the layers that Jack hides beneath and learns the horrible truth about what happened to him. And Jack opens up a little more every day as he comes to realize just how kind and gentle Marius is. But there is still the fear that is engrained in Jack’s psyche. What if he can never be comfortable being touched again?
I was drawn into this story from the start with the big, sexy, gentle giant shifter who refuses to be in the closet. He’s a werewolf in a society that doesn’t fully accept his kind and he’s gay, and he wears them both like a badge. And then there was young Jack, so painfully withdrawn because of what happened to him. He doesn’t speak after his screams for them to stop went unanswered. Just the thought of being touched sends him into a full blown panic attack. He retreats from the sound of crickets. So there was just a little bit of predictability as to exactly what they were going to be for each other. Still, I was completely engrossed in this story. Very well written and conveyed.
And the narration was spot on let me say. Tyler Stevens had this confident and understanding tone to his voice when reading Marius, but then he was timid and shy when reading Jack. And when Jack was remembering what happened to him, or telling Marius his story, you could feel the pain in Steven’s voice. Marius’s brother creeped me out though, Stevens made him sound like a serial killer.
Here is my big issue with this story, the ending. Throughout the entire book everything was slow and steady and perfectly timed out. Lots of attention to detail as the relationship between Marius and Jack developed. And then the ending was so abrupt, no details no elaboration, nothing. That was a bit of a letdown. But overall I really enjoyed this audio. Anyone that likes paranormal romance will enjoy it as well.
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