If you’re like me, there’s just something delicious about a man whose animal nature is so close to the surface, he can actually change into one. So long as he’s loving and caring while he’s doing it, anyway. Thus began my love affair with the werewolf, as portrayed by the romance novelist. The fact the they tend to be fine male specimens who are willing to do what it takes to get the woman they desire—and that they play for keeps—is icing on the cake.
Many of these romances follow the fated mates trope, in which this magnificent, powerful creature is helpless when it comes to love, and must find his one true mate. Now, that scenario does have its appeal, but for me it’s the ‘helpless in the face of their attraction’ that I find so interesting, particularly when that attraction is not based on looks--so much as on some indefinable element that embodies the essence of the person, often signified by scent.
Okay, yeah. Now I’m hooked.
This Halloween I decided to put together a list of my favorite werewolf romances for those of you who enjoy that very same thing. So here it is, with a brief description of the series, in no particular order. And, naturally, I have included my series The Rabbit River Saga, for any who might not be familiar with my work.
A WEREWOLF IN MAHATTAN by Vickie Lewis Thompson
I feel compelled to begin with Vickie Lewis Thompson’s series because it represents the best of the classic romantic comedy/worlds collide, style of paranormal romance, which is a real favorite for me. The entire series is funny and light and just delightful. The books strike a nice balance between humor and danger, and will warm your heart with their feel-good, opposites attract appeal.
A Werewolf in Manhattan beings this series with the story of Emma Gavin, a paranormal author who—quite naturally—believes werewolves are merely folklore. She never imagined that anyone would take her books seriously; after all, they are completely made up fiction. When the local Manhattan pack thinks that Emma’s stories are just a little too close to the truth, they are determined to find out her secret source. Enter Aiden Wallace, who is sent to find out just how she is getting her information. But something about Emma seems to bring out the wolf in him, and when he starts sprouting fur, Emma has to reevaluate her previous assumptions. She never realized writing fiction could be so dangerous!
Okay, I don’t want to give away too much, but this is a fun one, I love the classic approach, and the series is free on Kindle Unlimited and Audible.com if you have the romance (Audible Escapes) package. As I recall, the narrator is quite good.
MOON CALLED by Patricia Briggs
And then we have Patricia Briggs’s Mercedes Thompson series, which is another approach entirely. This series starts with Moon Called and is the story of Mercy Thompson, coyote shifter, raised by wolves. For those of you who like a strong female lead, this is your girl. Mercy is not a werewolf herself, but a rare coyote shifter, and all around kick-ass kind of girl. For one thing, she is a mechanic and runs her own garage. And for another, she is not afraid to do what she must, even if it might piss off the local Alpha, who is a werewolf—and one scary dude. And she has a vampire side-kick, which is actually kind of adorable.
Now, for those die-hard romance readers, be warned, this one is a slow burn, with no happily ever after at the end of the first book. But certainly the possibility of one… And so beautifully crafted, with excellent world building, exceptional character development and impeccable pacing, it is definitely worth the time investment. It’s truly a fabulous read, and you will be looking for book two as soon as you finish the first one.
There is definitely some violence, this is the visceral side of werewolf romance, so I will just put a little warning in about that.
I haven’t heard this one on Audible so I can’t critique the recorded version, but if anyone wants to chime in with a review of that in the comments, that would be appreciated.
THE ALPHA’S MATE by Jacqueline Rhoades
This book had me cracking up from practically the first paragraph. And what can I say? Brilliant minds must think alike because she sets her pack in Rabbit Creek (as opposed to the Rabbit River) and she also has a main character named Elizabeth. But that is where the stories diverge.
In The Alpha’s Mate, Book 1 of the Wolver’s Series, Elizabeth is looking for some peace and quiet in small town Appalachia, and finds a secret werewolf pack instead. Oh, and can we just say, a hunky chief of police/Alpha too? In her underwear? Covered in mud?
Yes people, that is the opening. This is truly a delightful read. Well written and developed and laugh out loud funny in places. And for those of you who appreciate a little spice with your sweet, this one really brings the heat. Plus it has a very satisfying happily ever after. And there’s a wonderful cabin in the woods. For those of you who’ve read my books, you know how much the concept of home appeals to me.
I don’t think this series gets the recognition it deserves, and I highly recommend you check it out. It’s available on audio too. I’m not a wild fan of the narrator, but the series is free on Kindle Unlimited and you can get the audio for $7.49 if you have KU and first get it on Kindle and then add the audio.
But one warning, as I recall, it’s a tiny bit on the gory side of werewolf romance, rather than the romantic comedy side, in spite some truly hysterical passages.
MOONRISE OVER RABBIT RIVER by Elyce de Reefe
Okay, now we get to my series, The Rabbit River Saga. It’s the story of a new werewolf pack struggling to survive during difficult times. With the dreaded Sickness threatening to make a comeback, combined with the fact that so few females are being born to the People these days, tensions are running high. Mates are scarce and competition is fierce. I call it a Saga because it’s really one continuous story tracing the development of the whole pack, and although it can be read out of order—with each book having its own standalone romance—it’s much more enjoyable read in order.
Book 1, Moonrise Over Rabbit River, opens with reluctant new Alpha, Lucas, trying to find his missing sister before rival Alpha, Marten, can capture her and claim her against her will. And somehow he has to uphold the Law and still keep Mari, the mysterious human he found beaten in the woods, safe, without revealing the pack’s secret. When another human, Elizabeth, accidentally witnesses the pack shift, his hands are tied. Someone must claim her or she will be killed.
The story is a blend of romantic comedy and suspense, as human Elizabeth tries to come to terms with the fact that she’s been captured by werewolves, and wolf shifter Cray tries to come to terms with the fact that—yes—he did just claim a human, and she is driving him crazy! Meanwhile the mystery of just what had Elizabeth running through the snowy woods in the middle of the night continues...
For anyone who likes their romance both hot and sweet, this one fills the bill, with plenty of action and suspense, as well as good old fashioned romance. Umm… maybe make that slightly new-fashioned romance. But still fun and sweet. And hot. Did I mention hot?
Also, there is some violence, and while it is visceral, I tried not to make it too gory—because, really—who needs that in their romance? But it is integral to the story, so I couldn't leave it out.
A WOLF AT THE DOOR by NJ Walters
This book was one of the first werewolf romances I ever read, and so it has a special place in my heart. I remember reading the first few chapters and thinking, oh, that’s sexy.
So this starts out with a familiar theme— Gwen is a writer and she produces paranormal articles for various tabloids. Not that she believe the stuff. She just reports on what others have claimed to witness. Still, she does a good job and she’s proud of her work. Everything is going along fine until someone gives her a flash drive that is supposed to prove that werewolves really do exist. Unfortunately, it kind of does, and now she knows too much to live. And suddenly—there is A Wolf at the Door.
But actually, no they don’t really want to kill her, just contain the threat, and so they take her captive. This is a familiar theme in werewolf romance, because it works so well— in fact I use it in my own stories.
And it turns out that this is a splinter pack trying to forge a way for themselves to live peacefully away from the brutality of their old existence. And they attempt to do this is a place called Sanctuary. This series follows the fated mates theory and wouldn’t know, the new Alpha discovers that this pesky human reporter is his. Now he has to woo her, and somehow convince her to accept him. There is a lot of delicious sexual chemistry in this one.
Yup. She ticked off all my favorite boxes with this story. One caveat though, they are fighting another wolf pack, so there is some violence in this series. But it’s still one of my favorites.
Also, what’s up with the new cover, NJ? I really preferred the old one with the bare-chested guy in the long leather coat. Just saying…
So that’s my list. There are many other fine werewolf romances out there. Please feel free to list some of your own favorites in the comments section, and what in particular you like about them. But we can say with assurance that any one of these five series above will keep you warm on these blustery fall days as we head into winter. Happy reading!
Elyce de Reefe
So this blog is a little different. Smile. What else is new? As an author, I don't think it's appropriate for me to criticizes other writers' work. However, I do want to bring attention to those authors I think are doing something great with Romance. So here you will find only Rave Reviews. It's a safe place to look for your next great read - 100% snark free.