Gabby’s brain is like a human fish finder. It comes in handy when she wants to avoid people. Mostly men. They seem to like her a bit too much. It’s lonely being different, but she’s adapted to it. Really. She just wishes she knew why she is different, though.
In her search for answers, she discovers a hidden community of werewolves. She immerses herself in their culture, learning about their world until she meets Clay. He’s unkempt, prone to mood swings, intense without saying a word, and he thinks Gabby is his.
It’s going to take every trick she knows to convince Clay to go away, and every bit of willpower not to fall for him when she discovers the man beneath the rough exterior.
Judgement has begun…
I found this for free on Amazon while browsing around Goodreads and downloaded it on a whim because the synopsis sounded kinda interesting. I have read about werewolves and other paranormal oddities, so this wasn’t anything new for me as I quite enjoy the paranormal world, I just don’t get around to reading them quite often. Melissa Haag is a new author – technically not new but new to me none the less – to me. I have been eye balling some of her contemporary romance books, so I have heard of her before, which I do plan to eventually get around to reading those as well.
“Gabby, what’s wrong?” “Clay is here. In fur,” I said as quietly as possible. After a brief pause, Sam chuckled. “What did you expect, Hun? He scented you as his Mate. He’s probably been following you since. Only, when you were with me, he trusted me to protect you and kept his distance. Moving away…well, you might have forced his hand a bit. Then again, I think he had planned on joining you from the start.” “Right…” I heard a creak of leather and knew Sam had sat in his office chair to get comfortable for a long conversation. “Listen, this isn’t so bad. With him there, you won’t need to worry as much about other men, right?” “Yeah, but what about him?” I went to my dresser to look for clothes. “I told you…he has control. You won’t have to worry about him becoming aggressive with you.” Before I could say anything, Rachel’s muted voice called from the kitchen. “Hey, Gabby?” “I gotta go. Just wanted to tell you he was here. I’ll call if anything stranger pops up.”
I stepped closer to Clay and laid my head against his chest, wrapping my arms around his waist. “Everyone I’ve ever loved this way I’ve lost,” I said, recalling my earliest memories of my mom and grandma. I hugged him close. “Don’t let me down.” “I won’t. You’re stuck with me forever,” he whispered as he held me close. I pulled back enough to meet his eyes and knew without a doubt I’d found the perfect man. He would stand by me. Always.
The book starts out with Gabby, a sixteen year old girl who has a special ability. If she closes her eyes, see can see your light – kinda like your aura, but not quite so. Everyone has one, humans and non humans. She is also bizarrely attractive to the opposite sex and has to practically beat them off with a stick on a daily basis. While passing by a park one night on her way home, she meets a familiar stranger, one that she has seen at the local hospital that she volunteers at suddenly start to change before her eyes, morphing into a huge wolf. Her first initial thought is, no way, werewolves are stuffs of legends. But indeed they do exist because one stands before her very eyes. As the man changes back, he tells her his name – Sam – and of his kind. He also stats that Gabby is different, special and that he would like to talk to her further.
ince Clay sat across from Luke, I moved to Clay and gingerly perched on one of his knees. He held still for a moment then his hands gripped my hips. He pulled back so I fully sat on his lap and turned me so we could both see Luke. Much better than sitting in my own chair. Warmer, too.
Gabby is a foster child and soon has to leave due to her foster parents having their own biological baby. She doesn’t leave because they want her to, she does due to them not having enough room – they still love her as their own. She ends up staying with Sam as she has grown attached to him. What she doesn’t know is that Sam is going to take her to his species compound, where other werewolves exist. She gets introduced further into their world and gets educated on one of their major topics – claiming and finding mates. Gabby finds out that her kind – which I still don’t know exactly what she is other than a human with a special gift – is highly compatible to being mated to werewolves. She doesn’t take this bit of news lightly and has to endure introductions to all the unmated wolves for two whole years.
“Clay, will you keep me warm tonight?” I’d barely whispered the words when he jumped off the bed. A moment later, he pulled back the covers and joined me. He wrapped his arms around me and pulled me to his chest. Bare chest. I sighed, pressed my face against his skin, warming my cold nose, and wrapped my free arm around his waist. Then, I tucked my feet under his calves. He grunted slightly but didn’t loosen his hold. “No more fur at night. Deal?” The blankets and his chest muffled my voice, but I knew he heard me. He kissed the top of my head, the only part exposed. I smiled, figuring it meant yes.
With increasing frequency, I caught myself touching him as if he were a dog. If I didn’t think about him as a guy, petting him comforted me. “Does it bother you when I pet you?” I asked, keeping my eyes on the road. I knew his answer when he contorted his large body to lay down with his head against my leg so I could reach him better. I laughed, feeling lighter than I had in a long while. “Okay. If I start annoying you with it, just move away. I promise I won’t pester you.”
At eighteen, Gabby has successfully dodged the wolves, not finding one that is attracted to her by her scent and her to him, which she is highly grateful for as she doesn’t wanted to be mated or claimed. She just wants to be normal, go to college, and do her own things. On her last day of the introductions, low and behold, the one thing she has been avoiding for two long years has shown up, her intended mate. Her first initial thought is she needs to flee as she doesn’t want this, especially with a crazed man with grungy dirty clothes and unkempt hair. As she tries to hurry up and leave, he throws a curve ball in her plan but dismantling Sam’s truck, literally taking it apart – piece by piece because he doesn’t want her to leave. Frustrated, she tells him she is leaving, going back to the city to go to college, if he wants to come fine, but she is going.
I stood staring at the cake a long time. How could I be so blind? He’d shrugged when I’d asked why he’d gotten his job, but the answer, wrapped in layers of sinful chocolate mousse frosting, sat before my eyes. Thinking back, I identified several of the little things I’d previously overlooked. Things I’d assumed Rachel had purchased, like movies I’d mentioned I wanted to see. He’d gotten his job for me because of my speech the day after we’d met. My heart melted a little as I thought of all the effort he’d put into trying to be what I needed, and I knew I fought a losing battle.
“Clay, were you asking for a kiss?” I had to know for sure. He nodded slowly and reached out to twine his free right hand with mine. His thumb soothed the outside of my hand while he waited for me to decide what to do. “Clay, I can’t even see your mouth to know where to kiss. I hope this bargain includes a shave.” His whiskers twitched, and I guessed he smiled. He appeared laidback, completely calm as if my answer didn’t affect him at all. It bolstered my courage. I let go of his hand and leaned forward, bracing myself on his shoulders. I could see the glint of his eyes as he watched my slow descent. My stomach churned with nerves and anticipation. Despite my teasing comment, I found his lips without any problem and lightly touched mine to them. His warm breath fanned my face, and I pressed closer. Something inside me melted a little. Closing my eyes, I reached a hand up to gently brush against his face, exploring his brow, ear, and jaw. He changed the kiss by tilting his head slightly. His lips began to nibble at mine, slow and easy. My stomach dipped, and my heart started to flutter with desire.
Weeks later as Gabby is getting acquainted with college life and her new roommate, a big – and I kid you not – , huge brown wolf dog shows up at her and Rachel’s (roommate) place with the name tag of ‘Clay’. Gabby freaks out a bit and cannot believe he is there, she honestly thought he gave up. When she told him that he could come to the city, she didn’t actually mean to live with her, but Clay intends to stay. Even though he is in a wolfs body, he still obtains some human traits and can somewhat communicate with Gabby and understands what she says to him. By being in wolf form, he slowly gets her used to him, by being loyally following her around, keeping her company and warming her feet at night while she sleeps. He is also highly jealous and possessive of her when another man shows interest in her or when she does go out on the town with Rachel – he growls, barks, and tries to block her path to try to get her to stay.
According to the Elders, when an unMated male finds his female, he begins a courtship of sorts. The end goal is to Claim his Mate. But Clay hadn’t courted me. He just lived here in his fur. And sometimes cooked for me. And sometimes helped me with chores…and when he wasn’t around, I felt disappointed and missed him. My fearful expression slackened to one of stunned amazement. He had been courting me these last few months. Clever dog.
“How can you know him at all when you two don’t talk?” “You don’t need to talk to get to know someone. You just need to listen,” I said absently, trying to concentrate on my reading. My words rattled in my head for a moment before what I said clicked into place. I froze and looked at Clay. His brown eyes met mine steadily. Damn the patient, clever dog. A smile twitched my lips. I never had a chance…and I didn’t mind. “But that’s what I’m saying. He doesn’t talk. What are you listening to?” I laughed at her and myself. “Actions speak louder than words,” I quoted, finally looking up at Rachel. “He’s there when I need him, he’s kind and caring, he keeps me safe, and as you’ve seen, he cooks and cleans. What’s not to like, Rachel?” She grumbled under her breath but didn’t have anything else to add. Clay walked over to her and lay on some of her dresses, ending her mutterings that I should get out and meet other people. She laughed at him then tried to move him. He laid his head on his paws and winked at me. He wasn’t mad but enjoyed giving Rachel some grief.
Eventually he changes into his human form for certain tasks and needs, but he does not verbally communicate with Gabby other than giving her a shoulder shrug, nod, shake of the head, etc – he didn’t even at the compound. While she doesn’t recognize or realize it, but with his simple kind actions, he is silently courting her – werewolves are given 6 months to court and claim their mate – by spending time with her and doing tasks around the household. When the given 6 months is up, trouble arises with other werewolves wanting to mate with her, which leads them back to the compound. Confused, Gabby uses her powers to see if her and Clay are meant to be together – by this time she has formed feelings for him – , which she ends up shocking him, transferring some of her gift to him, making him highly potent to her, like the biggest, delicious hot fudge sundae you’ve ever seen, and before she knows it, she ends up claiming him.
Panic bloomed in my chest. Before I could scramble off his lap, he reached up and gently stroked my hair. I froze, hands braced on his chest for stability, ready to flee. “I’ve been waiting for that since the moment I saw you,” he said in a deep and husky voice. He sounded like a midnight radio DJ. Hearing his perfect voice ignited my temper. Now, he could talk? I scowled at him. The man had the audacity to laugh then scoop me up in his arms.
Like I said, I have read paranormal books before and watched movies as well with werewolves in it, but to me, this one was slightly different – but in a good interesting way. I really enjoyed Gabby, Clay, and Rachel, all were very interesting characters. I liked how Clay was extremely patient with Gabby, silently courting her in his own ways, and waiting for her to decide the pace of their relationship. Even though he doesn’t verbally communicate with her throughout the book until the very end, his kind actions shows that he cares for her and wants her to choose him. Throughout the book, I kept wondering when he was going to talk, wait can he even talk? And the moment he does, ahhh the first phrase out of his mouth to Gabby was sweet. I loved how protective and possessive – in good way, nothing psycho like some male characters are – he is with Gabby. Plus the scenes when he cuddles her in wolf and human form was just plain cute and due to his species, his blood runs hot, and boy does she use him for a personal furnace, but hey who wouldn’t? Another favorite part of mine is when he would tape her lips with his finger to tell her he’d like a kiss.
He must have seen something in my gaze because he pushed away from the door and moved closer. He stopped in front of me, and without breaking eye contact, reached into my bag and pulled out a pair of jeans. He held them out to me and tapped his lips. I smiled widely. “A kiss for the jeans?” He nodded. I grabbed the jeans from his loose grasp and tossed them on the bed. He watched me, curious, as I stood and placed my hands on his chest for balance. “I don’t need bribes to kiss you, Clay. Come here.” His lips covered mine in a move so fast, my head spun even more. I clutched his shirt in my fists, not sure if it was his kiss or my condition that caused the current wave of dizziness. His arms circled around me. I felt safe. And so desired. I pressed myself closer, and he increased the pressure on my lips. His warm breath fanned my face. One of his hands roamed up to curve around the back of my neck. My heart skipped a beat, and my breathing became more erratic. I knew he’d hear but I didn’t care. Standing on my tiptoes, I loosened my hold on his shirt and slid my hands up and around his neck. I didn’t want him to let go just yet. Tentatively, I opened my mouth and ran my tongue across his bottom lip. He growled, and his hold tightened fractionally. A thrill shot through me, heating my limbs and tickling my stomach. I used my tongue again. His mouth opened in response. He took control of the kiss and turned it from tender-sweet to passionately melting. Our tongues touched. I stopped breathing. My world tilted then steadied. He anchored me. How could I doubt this? Us?
“Why?” My high, strained voice made me sound like a child. I cleared my throat and tried again. “Why wait until now to talk?” Apparently, my curiosity had won. He quietly studied me for a moment then opened his arms. I didn’t hesitate, but stepped right into them. I needed his comfort. He tucked me against his chest and gave me his explanation in a simple, heart-melting way. “If I’d spoken, even just one word, I would have never been able to hold back what I feel for you. You would have run.” I remembered the day he’d plopped down on the towel next to Rachel. Had he arrived any other way, I would have tried to kick him out. If that wouldn’t have worked, I would have…run. Even then, he’d known me.
At the end, I did highly enjoy this book and I was hoping that Luke’s story was next, but as I looked into the other books, he is not the hero, so I don’t think I will continue on as none of the main characters – except Charlene – were talked about in this book, so I felt like my time wasn’t invested in these new ones who wasn’t shown in this one.