The Wolf at Bay, by Charlie Adhara
Series: Big Bad Wolf, Book 2
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: September 24, 2018
Going home digs up bad memories, so it’s something Bureau of Special Investigations agent Cooper Dayton tries to avoid. When he’s guilted into a visit, Cooper brings along Oliver Park, his hot new werewolf partner, in the hopes the trip will help clarify their status as a couple…or not.
When Park’s keen shifter nose uncovers a body in the yard and Cooper’s father is the prime suspect, Cooper knows they’re on their own. Familial involvement means no sanctioned investigation. They’ll need to go rogue and solve the mystery quietly or risk seeing Cooper’s dad put behind bars.
The case may be cold, but Park and Cooper’s relationship heats up as they work. And yet if Cooper can’t figure out what’s going on between them outside of the bedroom, he’ll lose someone he… Well, he can’t quite put into words how he feels about Park. He knows one thing for sure: he’s not ready to say goodbye, though with the real killer inching ever closer…he may not have a choice.
Back in February, I called The Wolf at the Door (review) an early favourite for my best book of 2018, so I was very hopeful that it’s sequel would impress me just as much. I’m here to say that not only was The Wolf at Bay an absolute delight, I think I even liked it slightly more than its predecessor!
This book finds Cooper and Oliver still struggling to define their relationship. While they’ve got chemistry galore in the bedroom, things are slightly more awkward outside of it. Neither is particularly good at verbalizing what they need and want from each other, either because they think they don’t deserve to be happy (Cooper) or they’re afraid of coming across as too overbearing (Oliver). So, naturally, this would be the perfect time for Cooper to bring Oliver home to meet his family, right? What could possibly go wrong?
When a backyard excavation project turns up the skeleton of a former neighbor who was thought to have walked out on his wife years earlier, Cooper’s dad becomes a suspect in the man’s murder. Cooper and Oliver find themselves drawn into an unofficial investigation to clear Cooper’s dad’s name and to uncover the real story behind the disappearance. And they’ll both learn that some secrets can’t stay hidden forever, no matter how hard you try.
Having Cooper bring Oliver home to meet his family was genius move on the author’s part. Not only do they men get to know each other better, they both discover things about themselves that force them to confront their feelings for one another. There’s real growth here that makes me confident in their relationship and their ability to weather whatever comes their way.
I also loved Cooper’s changing relationship with his dad. It seems almost adversarial at the beginning of the book, but they also get to discover things about the other person that allows them to really see each other beyond the father/son dynamic.
This was just a fantastic book all around with a solid plot that moves at just the right pace. The second half of the book will really have your eyes glued to the page, as it deftly unravels all the secrets and lies, and races to a fantastic conclusion.
I’m eagerly anticipating the release of book three (not until 2019 – booo), but in the meantime, I can already see this being a series I will reread in the months to come.
Charlie Adhara has always loved a good story and, on occasion, a bad one. After getting her degree in neuroscience, Charlie decided she’d much rather study the heart. She now writes contemporary, mystery, paranormal, queer romance. Or some assortment of that. Whatever the genre, her stories feature imperfect people stumbling around, tripping over trouble and falling in love.
Charlie has done a fair amount of stumbling around herself but tends to find her way back to the northeast U.S. After all, home is where the dog is.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel from NetGalley.