Dr. Jason Kunik is working on the most earth-shattering genetics project ever, DNA mapping of a new species, the quickened—dogs who can shift into human form. The problem is, no one knows the quickened exist and Jason can’t betray them by publishing his studies. When he moves to Mad Creek to continue his research in a town full of quickened, all he wants is peace, quiet, and to be allowed to bury himself in his work. Perhaps if he figures how out the mutation is activated, he can silence his own inner dog forever.
Milo is a hospice comfort dog who has bonded with, and lost, many beloved patients in his life. He intuitively understands sickness and pain on a spiritual level most can’t see. When he gains the ability to become a man, he thinks he finally has everything he ever wanted. But being a man isn’t the same thing as being loved, and taking shelter in Mad Creek isn’t the same thing as finding a home.
When a mysterious illness hits Mad Creek and threatens all the quickened in town, it’s up to the scientist and the comfort dog to figure out what it is and how to stop it. Along the way they might discover that true love is possible—if you wish upon a star.
This is the third book in the “Howl at the Moon” series, but it can be read as a stand-alone.
Book 2 remains my favorite, because ROMAN. But Milo stole the show in this one!
A labradoodle, Milo is all heart. He's sweetness and JOY and boundless energy. A hospice dog, Milo wished upon a star, and his dream came true. Almost.
Jason is all mind. He's a scientist and keeps his dog (an Alaskan Malamute) in check. He's so reluctant to give in to his animal, he hasn't shifted for several years. He's wound tight and anxious all the time. Only Milo's touch can soothe him.
Jason tries to keep Milo at arm's length, but resistance is futile. Milo, with his empathy, hugs, and big smiles, is too damn charming. Milo likes everyone so much, Jason worries he's nothing special.
How to Wish Upon a Star is about Jason learning to feel and Milo finding a home.
If you counted only school, Milo was not a good mate for Jason. But Milo knew other things, things Jason didn't know. He knew about people's hearts and souls and about what you regret in the end.
He knew about bonds and how they survived age and trouble and pain and even death. He knew sickness. He knew sacrifice. He knew the magical power of touch.
He knew patience and stillness, and he knew how to give those to people even when you didn't feel like being patient or still at all. He knew love.
The main plot line revolves around a virus that appears to attack only the quicken, causing them to revert to their canine forms and lose their human side.
Jason is a geneticist (something I know a thing or two about), and he's the only one to whom the people of Mad Creek can turn to find a "cure" for the virus. I credit Easton with doing her research. The science isn't entirely accurate, but it's believable enough. Some of you may get bored with all the talk of antibodies and blood types, but I ate it up.
To save the quicken, including Lily and Lance (MC; book 1), who've been struck by the virus, Jason, Milo, Tim (Lance's mate; book 1), and Matt (Roman's mate; book 2) travel to a dog sanctuary in Arizona. There they meet a gruff man by the name of Rav (future MC alert!) and discover that something fishy is going on.
Milo comes to the rescue in more ways than one, even as Jason struggles to protect the man he loves (and it takes a lot for Jason to admit that, believe me). Jason's POV dominates the story, but Milo's voice shines through at the end.
I definitely wanted more steam here; two short scenes just weren't enough, especially considering Milo's incredibly enthusiastic approach to human sex.
While the ending is a sparkly HEA for Milo and Jason, some loose ends regarding the mystery of the virus are left unresolved. I anticipated the setup for book 4 from the beginning, but it in no way stopped me from enjoying the story.
This series is addicting, and Eli Easton's writing so effortless, I had a hard time putting this book down.
If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry.
An ARC of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
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