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Howl At The Moon Series
Zeus loves his job on the Mad Creek Search and Rescue team, and his inner Saint Bernard is finally being used to his full potential. When he sees a mysterious and wild-looking quickened—a dog shifter—at an earthquake site in Alaska, Zeus is compelled to investigate. Zeus falls hard for the primal beauty of Timo and of Alaska itself. Both call to his deep canine soul. But the Qimmig pack’s laws are as harsh as the Alaskan winters, and Timo is out of his reach.
Timo’s pack of dog shifters left their Inuit village generations ago and have lived wild ever since. Not trusting the “one-skinned,” and with their numbers dwindling, the Qimmig are on the verge of extinction. Timo is shocked to discover a whole group of “two-skinned” working as a rescue team, and he is particularly fascinated by Zeus, a gentle giant. He senses what Zeus feels for him… but it’s forbidden.
Can Mad Creek save this lost quickened clan? Perhaps—if they can learn how to run with the wolves.
CHAPTER 12 excerpt
The next morning, Zeus woke again at dawn. He looked at the ceiling of the little hut, knowing today was the day. This morning, in fact. Real life called, and it was time for Zeus’s human, adult side to take the reins.
Timo had hopped into bed with him again last night, both of them so tired they’d fallen asleep immediately. He’d rolled away at some point, too hot to puppy pile, and now he lay on his stomach, face turned away.
The bed was so warm and cozy, with Timo’s radiating heat and the cool morning air in the room. And Zeus’s dog was still sore and tired. But all good things must end. With a sigh, Zeus got up. He put on his clothes and went out to take a piss.
When he came back inside, Timo was sitting up, rubbing his face. “It’s early. Let’s sleep some more.”
Zeus shook his head. “Can you drive me back to Yakatuk this morning? I have to get back to my team.”
Timo’s face fell. He blinked a few times, then looked away, gazing at the wall and yawning casually as if he didn’t care. But Zeus didn’t quite believe it.
“I will come back.” Timo hopped out of bed and moseyed to the door of the hut, rubbing his naked hip as if there was a sore spot there.
Zeus averted his eyes. Eventually.
Dressed, there was nothing else for him to do but wait. So he tossed the blanket back over the bed and sat down on it gingerly. Man, his forearms were crazy sore today! They always got that way when he overdid it on all fours. They weren’t used to being weight-bearing appendages.
From outside, bird tweets filled the air, and sunlight gleamed around the edges of the ill-fitting door. Zeus had a feeling he’d dream about this place—and about Timo—for a very long time to come.
He rubbed his chest. Why did he feel so sad? Ugh. His inner dog would have to be drug away from this place as though on a leash.
Timo came back in. He didn’t look at Zeus but went to his clothes and pulled on a pair of jeans. They fit him so well and he looked particularly good in them with bare feet and bare chest, his long hair brushing his pale yellow skin.
Zeus looked down at his knees, frowning. “Sorry you have to drive me back. I bet we can get some gas in—oof!”
Timo tackled him onto his back on the bed. He tickled Zeus’s stomach, which made Zeus laugh, and then hovered over him, arms straight, elbows locked. He grinned. “Let’s play. Change into your fur. We can run in the woods. There’s a place I want to show you. It’s not far.”
Zeus looked up at Timo’s smile, his stomach doing lazy swoops. Timo’s long hair hung down and brushed the side of Zeus’s face, causing a shivery little flash of electricity.
“Stay one more day? Please?” Timo pouted, his eyes at maximum puppy dog.
Zeus swallowed and dared reach up to rub a long strand of Timo’s hair between his fingers. It was so coarse and strong, yet silky too. He searched Timo’s eyes and found determination there. Maybe even possessiveness. But why? Timo and Yuki both seemed to want Zeus in the pack. Was it just as another male hunter? Did they have too many females? He tried to see more in Timo’s eyes, some sign that he had more than a casual affection for Zeus, but it just wasn’t there.
Zeus sighed. “Timo, I have to go. I’ve got a mother. Father. Friends. A job back home. The Search and Rescue team. I like your camp very much. And you too. But I can’t run away from my life.”
Timo turned his face to the wall as if unable to look at Zeus. He wriggled his nose. “But you love it here. Yesterday—you loved it. This is the best camp. There is game in the valley. And we have shelter here, fire in the winter. And there is another trail that goes to the sea where we can get all the food that swims. We have everything.”
Shit, now Zeus felt guilty, like he was insulting the camp. “It’s a very nice camp. And yesterday was awesome. But my friends will be anxious and worried. They’re probably waiting for me to go home. Please, Timo.”
Without another word, Timo bounded up off the bed and took off out the door.
“Timo!” Zeus called after him, frustrated.
But by the time he got outside and looked around, Timo was gone.
This was a nice addition to Easton's "Howl at the Moon" series, and I liked both Zeus and Timo right from the very beginning, especially once we got to the parts where they were spending a lot of time on-page together, in both their 2-legged and 4-legged forms.
As the book began, Matt's Mad Creek Search and Rescue team had been sent to Anchorage, Alaska to assist with rescue efforts after a major natural disaster, which was how Zeus first caught a glimpse of Timo. Right before he quickly disappeared from Zeus' sight, but not from his mind.
Timo was also fascinated by Zeus, but he'd vowed to keep his distance, at least until a pack member was in danger and Timo needed Zeus' help.
But it wasn't only Timo that needed help. His pack was slowly dying out, and only Mad Creek could help with that much larger problem, and help they did, Jason in particular.
Hearing about all of the severe health problems that the Quimmiq were having due to their very isolating
The story was partially set in Mad Creek, so we got to see a fair bit of Lance, Tim, Matt, Roman and Jason (from the previous books), but Sammy and Simon completely stole the "past characters" show for me. They were both so perky and easily-excited that I couldn't stop smiling.
The plot line with Timo's sick sister, Hitty, was a bit of a snooze-fest for me -- until she met Simon, that is. After that point, I was all in, with my proverbial tail wagging to beat the band.
The many detailed descriptions of Alaska sounded extremely beautiful. AND COLD. So I was much happier when the book shifted back to Mad Creek, with its warm California sunshine, creature comforts, and hundreds upon hundreds of happy dog shifters playing in the park. #FuckTheSnow
This book had a lot of irons in the fire, so for me at least, the romance could've taken slightly more front row center focus, instead of how things went down when Zeus finally let Timo see his true feelings.
Fortunately, there was only a relatively short separation before that conflict was resolve, and even more thankfully, an weak attempt at
However, once The Big Plan to save the Quimmiq was finally enacted, the book seemed to be on a race to the finish line, with at least what *felt* like more telling than showing.
For instance, I would've like more of Timo's brother Yuki's first-hand reaction to Timo taking a same-sex mate "on-page", instead of it being glossed over as a very loud, but private conversation that the brothers had had off-page.
I thoroughly enjoyed the story, which I'd rate around 3.5 stars, but I wasn't 1,000% entirely blown away.
My ARC copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.
Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, and organic farmer, Eli has been a m/m romance author since 2013. She has over 30 books published.
Eli has loved romance since her teens and she particular admires writers who can combine literary merit, genuine humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, bulldogs, cows, a cat, and lots of groundhogs.
In romance, Eli is best known for her Christmas stories because she’s a total Christmas sap. These include “Blame it on the Mistletoe”, “Unwrapping Hank” and “Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles”. Her “Howl at the Moon” series of paranormal romances featuring the town of Mad Creek and its dog shifters has been popular with readers. And her series of Amish-themed romances, Men of Lancaster County, has won genre awards.
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