SERIES: Alpha’s Warlock – Book One
AUTHOR: Kris Sawyer
COVER ARTIST: Sidney Lowell
LENGTH: 15000 words approx
GENRE: M/M, Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal
BLURB: Clyde Barrington is a werewolf with a curse on his head. Every night, he shifts from human to wolf and lives the life of a lonely predator, never fully accepted by his pack. When he saves a handsome stranger from a fire, everything changes.
In a world divided by the ancient feud between werewolves and warlocks, Clyde and Terry must learn to trust each other. When wolves start to disappear, their bond is tested by the fear of a pack now balanced on the edge of destruction.
Amidst a web of lies, deceits and betrayals, Clyde must decide where his loyalties lie, and choose between a forbidden love and the ties that bind him to his brothers. Is Terry an enemy to the pack, or the saviour that will lead them out of the darkness?
The feeling of creeping heat, pleasant at first, began at Terry’s feet. He was dreaming of summer in Mississippi, where his boyhood had been spent in the sultry air of the southern bayou. The sheet that clung to his naked chest felt clammy and damp, but in sleep was no more than the humid brush of a vine against his forearms. He was unconscious by the time the exterior propane tank blew a hole, clear through his kitchen wall.
The alarm from the volunteer fire department called the villagers to action, but the house was fully engulfed by the time they gathered and hooked the canvas hoses to the hydrant. Being a member of the crew gave each volunteer a tax deduction and some pocket change, but the frightened group had always hoped never to be called to a genuine blaze. The real thing was so different from the annual training, which simply involved setting someone’s decrepit barn on fire and laughing about it later over a beer. They turned their hoses on the inferno and bent their backs to ensure it didn’t spread to the nearby barn. None made any attempt to enter the house, and few believed anyone inside could be left alive.
So focused were the men on their labors that they didn’t notice the shadow that crept quickly from the edge of the pine forest. The figure bounded on soundless paws, a sliver of moon catching gray fur as it paused before a shattered window, smoke belching from the jagged opening. In seconds, the shadow had disappeared over the sill.
Terry was oblivious to the powerful jaws that tore away the bedding, and did not feel himself being clutched by two sinewy forearms to the beast’s massive chest. It leapt from the window as the structural beams began to crumble, leaving a trail of blood against the broken pane that ripped at the animal’s side. Running on its hind paws, the animal carried its prize to the edge of the forest and laid the unconscious form gently on the ground.
As he slowly regained consciousness, all Terry could feel was a raw burning in his lungs and he gasped at the pain of each breath. Rolling to his side, he pushed himself to sit, bewildered at his surroundings. He was wearing only his boxers, and began to shiver uncontrollably in the cool of the autumn air. In the distance, he could see the flames licking at the roof of his house, and a dozen frantic forms scurrying like ants around its glowing perimeter.
A scuffling to his left brought Terry’s attention abruptly to the shaggy form that stood immobile between the towering lodge pines. The wolf’s eyes were fixed on his own, and fear shot down Terry’s spine as he scrambled to get to his feet. The wolf remained unmoving, staring intently at the man he had rescued but content to keep his distance. Smears of blood spread across Terry’s thighs but he could find no injury to account for their presence. It was only when the wolf bent to lick his wound that Terry could fathom a connection between his sudden awakening and the animal’s presence. He knew without comprehending that the wolf meant him no harm.
When it was clear that the man had recovered his senses, the wolf rose on his hind legs and gave an unearthly howl, shattering the silence between them. A distant voice returned the call and it was taken up by a dozen others, echoing through the trees and filling Terry with a blind terror. Closing his jaws, the wolf turned abruptly and was gone, lost to the darkness which was quiet once more.
Terry began his slow and painful return to a house that was now a steaming mound of embers.
Overall, this was a great little book. The premise wasn’t new, with a werewolf falling for a warlock who was not welcome among the pack due to a cruel war that was over but not forgotten. There was, however, quite a bit that was new – like the wicked witch with a penchant for torturing werewolves, and the warlock himself, who isn’t what he seems.
The writing is fluid and the characters have depth and colour, but I found that the story stuttered a little and suffered from the shortness of the book. There were some leaps that left me shocked and unconvinced. If the story were extended and more time taken over unfolding the paranormal elements, especially in the last battle, it would be nudging an extra .5*.
Apart from that my only complaint is that the dialogue had a tendency to slip into preachiness at times of high tension, such as Terry’s speech to the pack and Beatrice’s speech at the end. It wasn’t a huge deal, but I think it distracts from the impact. On the other hand, there were some absolutely beautiful descriptions, like this one which describes what it feels like to go through the change.
Coming back to human form sucks the joy right out of your soul like your best friend just died or your lover walked out on you and you know he isn’t coming back.
I don’t intend the criticisms to be seen as huge flaws. A novella is what it is and the story is never going to be as full and fluid as a full novel, but there is a lot going on here for the amount of words. One thing I can guarantee, is that you won’t be bored. The book is full of action, with plenty of surprises. If you like shifter/paranormal stories you’ll love this little gem
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kris Sawyer is the pseudonym of Sid Love, who has written several books in the M/M Romance genre but with the Alpha’s Warlock series, he intends to introduce a new world of supernatural beings that will intrigue the readers.
Sawyer grew up in one of busiest cities in the world, Mumbai, listening to the excerpts of Indian epics from his father every night. He is a Potter-head and loves a good mystery in the books he reads.
Alpha’s Warlock is Sawyer’s dream project that he’s been working on forever!