Ellora’s Cave, $1.99, ISBN 1-84360-324-1
Fantasy Erotica, 2002
Just what is going on in the cover art? The poor woman looks like she’s asleep, and the man is grinding his pee-pee at what seems like the middle of her back. The last thing an erotic story needs is a cover which has the woman paying no attention to the man’s pee-pee, no?
Wolfe’s Hope was first published in 2002, but since it is listed as the tenth installment in the Breeds series, I am only reviewing it now. And before you ask, no, I don’t do that “9.5” nonsense. If it comes after the ninth book or story, then it’s the tenth one. If you want to be that precise, this one is more like “9.25” because it’s not long enough to qualify as half a full length story. If we go by this, and if the next story is also a short story, then the next story should be, let’s see, 9.25 plus 0.25 gives 9.5, right? And if the next one is also a short story, then that one will be entry 9.75, right? See, this is why I don’t do this decimal numbers nonsense. I leave that to the weirdos in Goodreads. Ten is the score, baby.
And yes, while this month’s TBR Challenge is historical romances, it’s also the Lora Leigh Love Festival here so I’m changing the rule a bit this month. My place, my choice, okay?
Back in 1997 when the Breeds haven’t fled the Genetic Councils’s mating pens yet, Wolfe Gunnar could identify by smell that Hope Bainsmith is his mate. See, ladies, this is why douching is bad. Let the natural odors grace the air, and you won’t be disrupting your natural vaginal flora too. Anyway, this mate bond was used by the wicked Delia, Hope’s mother and Breed-wrangler, to ensure Wolfe’s continuous cooperation. Should he disobey orders, Hope would be punished.
Not that there had been any mate sex – Wolfe just marked Hope with the trademark herpes sore thing on the shoulder that tells everyone that her vagina is his, but there was no further hanky-panky involved at that time.
And then… some explosions happened. Don’t ask.
“He’ll come for me,” she whispered.
Cruelty echoed in Delia Bainesmith’s demented laughter.
“Wishful thinking, daughter. That bastard will never cum again. Too bad. You might have enjoyed it.”
Okay, that makes me laugh.
Anyway, Hope and Wolfe were separated, and she thought he was dead. We then cut to six years later, when Hope is still talking to her mother. This tells you all you need to know about the type of heroine this thing is. And then, she quickly gets mauled in romantic “Tarzan wants to rape you now!” style because Wolfe can no longer stay away from her. He now wants to know how her mother knew to manipulate him with the mate bond. Don’t ask me why he won’t just kidnap her mother then.
Oh, and Hope is his mate, and he wants to do all kinds of things to her ASAP so that she will be forever pregnant with his brats.
Exiting her small apartment, she noticed the white cleaner’s van in the parking lot, but paid it little heed. She noticed the large men moving about outside its opened doors, but the sight was a common one. What she wasn’t expecting was the hard grip one of them took of her arm as she passed. For a brief second surprise flared in Hope’s chest as one of the tall men stepped before her, a growl emitting from his lips, his gray eyes swirling with anger. She gasped, then blinked as something stung her arm.
“Wolfe,” she whispered his name in desperation as she felt the shocking, abrupt departure of consciousness.
Yes, Hope is always whispering, crying, gasping, collapsing, and fainting…. and that’s before the rogering. It’s probably a good thing though, that she’s like this, because if she were stronger and had put up a bigger fight against Wolfe, then the sex scene would cross the murky line separating “forced – but sexy! – seduction” from “rape – but sexy!”. Wolfe comes off as bipolar here, as one moment he’s wagging his penis like an instrument of sexy sexual assault and the next moment he’s telling Hope how much he loves her before going back to the previous mode. As I’ve said, it’s probably a good thing that Hope is nowhere near a coherent or well-drawn character or this story would be very hard to take in.
Oh, and the mother shows up in the end, apparently having watched her daughter getting “knotted”, as she puts it, by Wolfe, only to die within one paragraph. She should’ve just stayed home and watched on a live-cam or something – what a moron.
Wolfe’s Hope is a waste of time. The author should have just focused on the sex, as even the skimpy plot here drags the whole thing down to dumb-dumb hell. Just have these two boink for the few short pages here, and call it a wrap – no plot, no cringe. If you ask me, though, I’d have preferred the story of Wolfe getting tortured and manhandled by Delia as the core erotic arc here, because come on, we have so many women being force-mated and force-impregnated – in a sexy and romantic way, of course – in this series, so an occasional turning of the table would be nice.