Without Reservations
J.L. Langley
ebook (also available in print)
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Sometimes love just catches you by the tail…
Chayton Winston is a veterinarian. He is also a werewolf. Much to his Native American parents chagrin, he has always dreamed of a fair-haired, Caucasian mate. However, he never imagined his mate would be male. As a heterosexual man, he’s not quite sure what to do with a male mate, but more than willing to find out.
Keaton Reynolds wakes up, in wolf form, and finds himself with a mate. He’s instantly attracted, but not so thrilled to find out the man is straight. Having been in a relationship once before where his partner professed to be “Not gay” left a bad taste in his mouth. Keaton wants to make a break for it and pretend he never set eyes on Chay—but Chay is not ready to let him go.
Together the two work to solidify their shaky relationship and battle the prejudices against homosexuals. Chay must deal with not only his mother’s prejudices against gay men but also her hatred of white people. When a power struggle in Keaton’s pack threatens Keaton’s life, the two men learn to depend on one another and their relationship to get them through it.

Top:
This book was published prematurely. That’s the only explanation I can think of for the mistakes, plot holes, and over-enthusiasm I found while reading. All the issues I had (and they were legion) could have been fixed in editing, and somehow weren’t. It made me a bit twitchy, to think that an otherwise good book could have been made that much smoother with just a little more time and effort.
Keaton is a little too good to be true. He’s a genius, comes from money, isn’t just a werewolf but is an Alpha alpha-wolf, has a rare third form, is liked by almost everyone, is only disliked by the other characters when they obviously have issues that have nothing to do with Keaton, claims to be socially retarded and yet shows no signs of being so, and is telepathic as a wolf. I literally rolled my eyes at that last one. Keaton is a mild, male version of a “Mary-Sue,” the character that the author loves and the readers often hate. This could have been easily fixed in editing to make him far more powerful and likable as a character.
There is nothing wrong with Chay. He’s smart, sexy, laid-back, tender-hearted, has a wicked sense of humor, and is basically a very good man. I liked him very much once I got over myself and ignored the fact that I, personally, would never have been able to fall in love with him. After all, the balance of personalities between Chay and Keaton was very smooth, very well-considered. Chay provides a safe harbor for someone like Keaton to take a deep breath, relax, and feel safe. In turn, Keaton provides exactly what Chay needs – a mate who wants to belong to him, but is strong enough, stubborn enough, and insecure enough to force Chay to work for it. Looking at the way the two of them deal with one another, one can easily understand why they are mates.
I didn’t respond strongly to either of the lead men, so it shouldn’t be surprising that I didn’t respond strongly to the sex scenes, either. The scenes are technically graphic, but something didn’t translate between the pages and my libido; I think it was the tenderness of the sex that lost me. Also, I was very disappointed that there was no werewolf sex, which, to my mind, was a gigantic waste of a perfect setup. To be fair, this isn’t a failure on the author’s part. Chalk this up to my own weird kinks, and keep in mind that other readers are better equipped to appreciate a romantic moment.
So why did I find my nose glued to the computer screen from beginning to end? Because, despite the disappointment in editing, I was drawn into the story almost immediately. Langley is a very good story-teller, and the book is surprisingly thick with plot and suspense. I wanted to know what would happen next, who that mysterious wolf was, why these things were happening to Keaton, how the characters were going to resolve their conflicts, and who the villain might be. The fact that there were a few plot-threads that haven’t been tied up yet is okay with me – it makes me hope and anticipate that Langley will publish a sequel to tell Remi’s story. If so, I have every intention of snatching it off the eShelf immediately.
Another thing that kept me reading was the humor. Both men’s sense of humor appealed to me, for different reasons. I laughed out loud in many places, and grinned through many, many more. Despite the fact that I would never desire either Chay or Keaton as a lover, and maybe not as friends, I was still intrigued and amused by their story.
I wouldn’t recommend this book for anyone looking for a sharp edge, but I do recommend it for anyone who wants to relax with a good story – if this book were clothing, I’d say that while it might not be a glamorous evening gown, it definitely makes one damned comfy sweater. I’ll keep this book, and likely re-read it many times in the future when I’m feeling stressed and worn-out. The best thing about this story being an eBook is that I won’t have to worry about the covers falling off.
I just really wish I’d been the one to edit it.

Bottom:
First, the cover is gorgeous. I adore the cover to this book. The models are perfect and the wolves are an excellent touch.
The story, though, needed to be tightened up in the worse way. Information was reiterated several times. There was also a lot of tell and a bit lean on the show. And a lot of “As you know…” type dialog. Very simple things were spelled out when there was just no reason to. Perhaps for the casual reader who read a chapter a night, this repetitiveness would be diluted and even needed. But for the reader who reads it straight through, it is tedious. If most of this excess had been cut away, the story would have been much tighter and smoother.
As for the character of Keaton, I liked him a lot. I adored the character; he is right up my alley as far as characters go. But, like CarvedWood pointed out: He was just a bit too perfect. Though I didn’t have too much issue with his other attributes, the telepathy had my eyes rolling as well. Especially when it was just not needed. The author was able to portray wolf body language just fine, so the addition of this amazing and rare quality was just a way to make Keaton all that much more perfect, which turned out to be a bit irritating.
Chay, in my opinion, was okay. He was your typical nice Boy-Next-Door type. With Keaton’s harder and feistier personality, the combination balanced them out perfectly. They meshed very well. Their interactions were good and very believable. I enjoyed them together; they fit. My only hang-up with these two stems, again, from the excess of repeated information. They found each other sexy. They thought of each other as the other half of themselves. They thought the other was hot. They both thought the other was perfect, cute, sexy, smart, etc. This sentiment was repeated over and over again until I just got tired of reading it.
The positive of this book is that the story is actually very good. I was interested enough in it to keep reading through the repetitions and reiterations to find out more. I genuinely liked the characters and wanted to see them happy. I was excited at the danger and mystery. It was fun. Details were rendered well, making scenes and people very clear in my mental eye. Langley used everyday type scenarios to really sink this story in reality. The climatic point of the book, though, was read with a small edge of irritation on my part due to, in my opinion, a completely superfluous change of location to find the mystery wolf who was obviously in the same place they were to begin with. Why they needed to fly to another state was not answered satisfactorily enough for me to fully immerse myself in the climax and resolve of the story. Was it well written? Yes. But, in my opinion, was only used to introduce other characters and resolve a major conflict in a small way.
I think this story is perfect as something to shove in your bag and carry with you as you go to the post office, doctor’s appointments, and other places where you can open the book and immediately be back where you left off without any confusion. It’s light and tender and sweet with just a bit of mystery. This isn’t a blood-rushing, exciting read, but it is a sweet book with love and softness. If you like fluffy stories, and ones in which you get to immerse yourself in the loving, happy relationship and the cute romantic parts, this is for you. Chay and Keaton are a couple who make you smile and happily sigh.

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