Monday, November 17, 2014

Moonstruck by Shannon West: Review, Guest Post, Giveaway & More!

Cover Artist: 3 Rusted Spoons
(Moonstruck, Book 1)
by Shannon West

Genre: M/M, Paranormal, Erotic, Romance
Special Agent in Charge Jaden Malik’s meeting with the old gray alpha was the first step in an attempt to convince him a fight by his pack against their removal by the Bureau of Lupine Affairs or the BLA would not only be futile but would lead to their utter destruction. When he’s attacked by the son of the old alpha, he takes the handsome man hostage to ensure the pack’s cooperation and then finds to his horror that the man is his mate. 

Tyler Jenkins is furious at his capture and Malik’s plans to take his pack to one of the government preserves for wolf shifters. Malik is a shifter himself, and Tyler can’t understand how he can betray his own kind. Tyler’s pack has evaded capture for over thirty years, since the camps were first created, and he has no intention of being put behind bars. Despite his growing attraction to Jaden, Tyler manages a dangerous, daring escape with his pack, turning the tables on Malik by putting him in his own silver handcuffs and taking him with them. 

Tyler has only one chance to save what’s growing between them. He has to make it good or risk losing his lover and his mate forever.
Author Note about ‘Moonstruck’

I used to teach high school English and at one point I taught a class called Pacesetter, which was a kind of pre-AP Literature class. One of the units focused on Cultural Differences and how they had caused so much prejudice, misunderstanding and downright hatred over the centuries. Kind of a “man’s inhumanity to man” theme. Really fascinating and also horrible to realize how utterly cruel human being can be to each other because of the difference in our skins, our religion or our sexual orientation. In Germany, Hitler tried to exterminate the Jews, the homosexuals and anyone else who disagreed with him politically. In Australia, the British tried to “breed the black” out of Aborigine and English mixed children to keep their race pure. In Rwanda, the Hutus tribe set out to exterminate the Tutsi tribe because they looked a little “more white” than the Hutus, and came very close to wiping them off the map. These stories abound all over history and literature. So I thought if a new breed of human (one that could shift into a wolf) were to be discovered, what would be the outcome? It would be nice to think we would accept them, but in reality, we’d probably do the same as so many other cultures–marginalize them and/or eradicate them. This is where I got the idea for the story and it will follow the lives of a small group of wolves who join with a few Alaskan wolves, who have already had their lives mostly destroyed by the government. Two alphas from these groups fall in love and decide not to just go along and meekly accept their fate. Instead they refuse to go into the camps and they try to fight for their own lives and for the future of their species
His shoulder began to throb from the silver bullet the big one had dug out of his shoulder. Before they’d started, their alpha had given him an injection to deaden the pain, but it was coming back now with a vengeance. Malik had surprised Ty with the gunshot and caught him off guard, but the attack on the agent proved to Ty, at least, that these bastards could be beaten. His father wasn’t even willing to try. Bile churned in his gut and the blood roared in his ears as the reality of his situation sank in. From free man and son of the alpha to hostage of a hated enemy and prisoner in the span of a heartbeat—how the fuck was that even possible?

He shook his head frantically and Malik reached up to pull down the gag from around his mouth. Ty practically spit the words at him. “You son-of-a-bitch! Let me go! I’ll fight you by myself. Just release me and give me a chance, or are you afraid of a fair fight?”

“So you’ve been yelling for some time now, which is why you’re wearing the gag. No more fighting. You’re my prisoner now and prisoners don’t get to make challenges. So settle your ass down.”

Ty glared at the big leader, standing in front of him with his arms crossed over his chest. “What’s the matter, are you scared?” Ty said, taunting him. “I’ve made a challenge, so either accept it or admit you’re afraid to fight me!”

The big leader stepped closer to him, taking his chin in his hand and forcing him to gaze directly into his eyes. “Be careful, Ty. Continue to run your mouth and I’ll gag you again, but it won’t be with this rag,” he said contemptuously, flicking at the cloth pulled down from his mouth. He rubbed his hand over his groin and smirked at him. “Do you understand my meaning?”

Ty flinched, but kept his gaze steady. “I’m not afraid of you, you bastard,” he said, and it would have been perfect if his damn voice hadn’t cracked there at the end, which pissed him off. He wasn’t afraid of this wolf, but there was something about him…something that fascinated and infuriated him at the same time.

Malik’s eyes softened and grew darker as they stayed fixed on his. A long, infinitely strange moment passed during which they simply gazed into each other’s eyes. It seemed like even the air around them almost crackled with energy. Ty swore that for a moment he could see the sparks flying between them. Then one of the others cleared his throat, breaking the mood. Jaden shook his head and released Ty’s chin abruptly, turning toward his men. “We’re heading back to camp. We can notify headquarters to expect us with the newcomers in two days’ time. Keep close and vigilant. I don’t trust these people to keep their bargain.”

Ty dropped his gaze so the rogues wouldn’t see the emotions that surely must be blazing in his eyes. His father would keep his filthy bargain—Ty had no doubt of it now, and he wouldn’t add to his father’s shame by creating any more of a scene, because this was a dishonor. They should have fought these trespassers off, given up their lives if necessary to defend themselves. Ty was deeply ashamed of his father for rolling over and giving in so easily. Were they cowards to be so afraid of a fight? Ty wasn’t afraid, and he’d make sure this government lackey—this traitor—knew that soon enough. He was aware of the big man reaching for him, and he put his head back up, his eyes defiant and met the agent’s steely gaze without flinching. He forced a tight rein on his emotions, because he knew they showed plainly on his face and he would not give away his private thoughts, no matter how wildly they raged inside his head. He had a strange feeling that this man knew exactly what he was thinking anyway and was quietly amused by it. His father and the rest of his pack had left the clearing, leaving Ty alone with these savages. As the others prepared to leave the clearing, Malik took deliberate stock of him, even walking around behind Ty to look him over. When Ty glared back at him, the man met his gaze with an impassive coldness, though his eyes lingered for a long time on Ty’s face. Ty hoped he could see the hatred and antipathy raging there, and he thought he might, because the alpha quirked up one eyebrow as he gazed into Ty’s eyes. The corners of his mouth lifted in a slightly contemptuous smirk, which only served to fuel Ty’s rage.

Malik reached down and took hold of the rope on Ty’s wrists, and for a second, Ty thought he actually might release him. Instead he took off the rope and held his wrists in an iron-like grip as he reached for a set of silver cuffs hanging from a loop on his camo pants. He quickly and efficiently snapped them on Ty’s wrists and a feeling of extreme weakness and lethargy came over Ty, so profound that he immediately wilted and looked up at the agent with astonishment. The cuffs began to make his wrists ache, and he groaned in pain before he even realized it. The cuffs were draining his energy and making him feel weak. His knees buckled a little.

Malik immediately put an arm around his waist to hold him up. “Steady now. You’ll get used to them in a minute. Don’t fight it.” In another couple of minutes, the ache did decrease, though the weakness remained. Ty felt like an idiot, standing there being held up by another man in an embrace so close they might be mistaken for two lovers.

Before he could gather the strength to pull away, Malik took a silver chain looped on the back of his belt and fixed it to the handcuffs, thus tethering Ty to him. Ty gave him an incredulous look and tried to jerk away, only to be shocked at the strength in the delicate-looking chain as it held him effortlessly. Malik smiled down at him and nodded toward each of the four or five big men standing behind them, regarding him with frank curiosity.

“These are members of my team. Follow their orders as you would mine.”

“That’ll be easy enough, since I have no intention of following yours either.”

Ty was aware of the angry, surprised looks the others were giving him—all except for Malik. He showed no emotion at all, except maybe amusement as Ty smirked at him and raised one eyebrow in defiance, deliberately baiting him. It was taking everything in him to stand there as if he were unaffected by all that had happened, when all he felt like doing was collapsing to his knees. The silver from the cuffs seemed to be leaching into his bones. “You’re going to be fun,” Malik said softly and held his gaze so long Ty felt a shiver of fear down his spine, though he’d rather die than let this bastard know it. Maybe, considering his situation, he should tone it down a tad. He shuffled his feet and lowered his gaze. Better to bide his time so they might relax and think he was cowed down by them.

“Let’s get going—it’ll be dark soon,” Malik finally said and turned on his heel to take off down the trail to where they’d camped, pulling Ty along behind him like a stray puppy.

Rather than get into an undignified struggle with Malik that he probably wouldn’t win anyway, Ty huffed out a breath, giving in. He ungraciously allowed the alpha to pull him along by the chain into the woods and down a long shady pathway there. He dragged his feet as much as he dared, slowing Malik down and once even making him stumble. He concentrated on sending a wave of hatred at the agent’s back and was surprised to see him glance back at him from time to time as if he actually felt it.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I am a long time fan of Shannon's writing, and her latest series does not disappoint.

The action, adventure and sexy characters combined with a well developed story line make MOONSTRUCK a fast paced and entertaining paranormal reading experience.

I loved the concept behind this series. Mirroring the shameful treatment of American Indians and Asian Americans by the United States Government in the past, MOONSTRUCK is a chilling reminder that humanity often fails to learn from the mistakes of their past.

Dramatic, sensual and emotionally complex, MOONSTRUCK is the first book in a series that I'm looking forward to following in the future!
Shannon West currently lives in the South with her husband and family. A lover and avid reader of M/M romances, she began writing them a few years ago and now has over forty short stories, novellas, and novels to her credit. She was a finalist in the Rainbow Awards for 2013, a 2014 Rainbow Awards nominee in Science Fiction, and very honored to be an All Romance Ebooks Top Ten Author for 2013. She loves men and everything about them, and believes that love is love, no matter the gender. She mostly spends her days at the keyboard, trying to elude housework, which stalks her relentlessly.
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  1. Hi Shannon! Congrats on the new book!

  2. Oh a nice new series to look forward to reading, thank you Shannon and thank you Carly for a very helpful review, PS nice cover :)