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Brandt Davis loved being part of his Michigan werewolf pack, until they found his stash of gay porn. He escaped their anger, running in wolf-form into the wilderness, but he can’t live that way forever. And he can’t hide in fur like a coward when an injured man needs his help.
Ethan Sjulstad knows life is making him crazy when a solo hike into the Minnesota Boundary Waters seems reasonable. Then a bad fall leaves him seriously hurt and facing death. Delirious, he hallucinates being rescued by a big grey wolf and a naked woodland godling. For a man who has always loved fantasy, it’s worth surviving just to find out what the hell is going on.
Hidden Wolves is one MM shifter series that I really love – although my loving Kaje Harper’s stories might also contribute to it. Unjustified Claims is the third book in this series, and for me, it’s another solid one.
Slightly different than the previous two books, this story takes place ‘outside’ the pack environment. Since Brandt is a runaway wolf – he left his Michigan pack immediately after they find his stash of gay porn and secret kink – and he is basically ‘stranded’ with Ethan, the human he saves after suffering a bad fall, the story lacks some viciousness of the previous books. I don’t mean that as a bad thing, it just feels different.
Both Brandt and Ethan had this sadness in them and of course I fell for that plot like a moth to a flame. See, Brandt has a kink – he likes to dress in lingerie and garters and corsets and feels the smoothness of the material on his skin. In the eyes of his pack, that is worse than just being a gay wolf. I really loved how Kaje Harper explored this. Being a wolf with its non-human strength, it was easy to picture Brandt as the dominant. However, the truth was, when Brandt wore the lingerie, he always pictured himself being bent over and the one being f*cked. I loved this contrast – the strength and the vulnerability. It made such an intriguing characterization.
Ethan’s sadness came from guilt – there was a back story about him, which included the death of his brother and why he returned to Minnesota. It was good but at the same time I didn’t find Ethan as layered as Brandt. I did like the relationship between Ethan and his sister-in-law. Somehow, Kaje Harper can make bigotry or homophobia not just simply black and white, there’s always shades of grey (oh, except maybe for the wolf pack).
I loved the slow-built relationship. Brandt did keep his identity as wolf a secret – and the fact that he was still connected to the Michigan pack became sort of a ‘threat’ that clouded his relationship to Ethan. It was also part that kept the tension for me as a reader because I wondered what would happen when Ethan found out. And he did find out.
For those loving Aaron’s pack, no worries, they were still here. They become guests at Ethan’s motel and of course, they played an important part in Brandt and Ethan’s life and whether or not they could be together. By the way, if you ever wonder about Cord’s sexuality (was he gay, was he not gay), well, you will get your answer here *laugh*.
There was also a huge progress update on Aaron and Zach’s relationship and it made me so damn happy. And there was quite a twist in the end related to the identity of wolves and the Council’s decision. I figure this will be very important plot should there be more books coming our way. I wish that there are more written here about that, because the epilogue seems, well, jumping in time a little bit. I do hope for sequel *cross fingers*