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Martin and the Wolf
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Martin and the Wolf

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Martin and the Wolf by Anne Brooke is a gracefully written paranormal novelette that takes a fresh perspective on the werewolf legend. Usually, werewolf stories are filled with angst as the werewolf laments his cursed existence, fights vampires in an ancient feud, or commits evil acts either on his own or as part of a pack. Here, Lucas the werewolf fits into society with nonchalant competence as a highly skilled designer.

The story’s appeal lies in those fascinating disconnects where Lucas’s aggressive wolf personality causes him to stand out from the camouflage of his courteous and reserved British countrymen. Even better is the first-person narrator Martin’s puzzled but unflappable acceptance of Lucas, which also seems very British. Take this interaction between Lucas and Martin on their second meeting:

“‘I’ve tried mating with other men,’ [Lucas] said, ‘but they’re not you. They’re never you. I need to mate with you again.’ Hell, those weren’t the best chat-up lines I’d ever heard, but, for some strange reason, they were surely the most effective. [...] I thought they were probably the height of romance in Lucas’ eyes. It was obvious he and I were very different.”

The story begins in a secluded area at a garden party as the hostess introduces Martin to Lucas who is a colleague of her husband. As soon as she leaves, Lucas states his immediate attraction to Martin and bluntly asks if he’d be willing to mate with him – as in right there, right now. Martin is taken aback but even more excited, and he complies. In the weeks to come, they move from sex-buddies to an understated courtship with Lucas setting the pace and Martin making a place for Lucas in his life even while he wonders about such things as Lucas’s dislike for Martin’s one or two pieces of silver jewelry, which Lucas starts replacing, item by item, in gold.

As their courtship progresses, not only does Martin figure out what Lucas is, he also realizes that Lucas might be in danger. Lucas is reluctant to explain any of this, leaving it up to Martin to follow Lucas into his secret world to try to help him. It will draw upon all of Martin’s unselfish love and reserves of inner strength to face a threat that would cause even an alpha wolf like Lucas to tread carefully.

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