Little Wolf, Amelie S. Duncan
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
It’s always difficult to know what to expect from a debut novel, but this sounded like something I’d enjoy so I agreed to review it. Well, I was really pleased, an unexpected treat. Its a great read, sensuous and steamy, but with sex scenes that back up a good storyline. Too often in erotic romance we get lots of heated sex interludes, set within a very sparse and dull storyline. Not here I’m glad to say!
Tala, she’d had a tough time but wasn’t one of those simpering, handwringing, “poor me” types, but a strong young lady who just got on with life. She’s working seven days a week to pay for her mum’s care home, even though she had spend a great deal of her childhood in foster care, and her mum hurt her badly both mentally and physically. She still bears scars from both. Mum is ill though with schizophrenia, and Tala understands now that her actions were because her medication wasn’t being taken correctly. Amelie says in her author notes she’s a background in mental health and it shows, as even though everyone will react differently, the scenes where Tala remembers her childhood are very vivid and realistic. Its a sad thing, mental illness and even more distressing that its still a no-no to talk about, people are scared by the idea and yet it can happen to anyone, and those affected need help not condemnation. That’s my rant over Tala is very forgiving in seeing that, when directly affected it must be hard for a child to cope, and harder to let it go as an adult but she does it and supports her mum, doing the best she can for her. There’s just her and mum though, dad has never been around, and her only other close friend/relative is her foster brother Jax. Its to help him she agrees to take part as a last minute addition to save his art show.
Adrian is there, and soon as he sees her he wants her. Tala doesn’t know who he is, and at first says no to his request to photograph her. He’s very pushy and it frightens her, but fearful that refusing will mean Jax losing his slot at the gallery she agrees to a shoot thinking its just a couple of days. Adrian has other ideas though…..
What I really liked was Tala isn’t afraid to stand up for herself, and does, only finally giving in trying by to help Jax. Adrian is very clever the way he gently stretches the boundaries, so first she agrees to the shoot, then the weekend stretches into a bit longer. Equally the personal side, she’s very very attracted to him, and thinks she can have a short, hot fling and that will be it. She’ll just say thanks very much when the shoot is over and go home, after all its only a couple of days and the extra money will be useful for the expensive care home fees. Adrian is clever though as I said, and the weekend becomes several weeks, and goes from US to Paris, ( only as far as the airport though!) then on to Senegal.
Its an idyllic life there and soon Tala is hooked on Adrian, and doing whatever he wants. Sometimes she thinks to herself why is she agreeing to this, and challenges Adrian on his demands, but he’s very deft the way he makes everything seem so reasonable. To be honest he’s quite a manipulative man, and if I didn’t feel his actions were moved by his feelings for Tala I’d dislike him. I can’t seem to pinpoint a place where Tala accepted that he’d be in control and she’d do what he said, and for me that was really cleverly done, as it shows just how subtle he was at getting his own way. I feel its not really intentional, just the way he’s always been and for some reason needs to be. Even though he doesn’t seem to want to admit it to himself its clear to me he’s in love with Tala, and she him, but he doesn’t do that kind of relationship, doesn’t date etc because of all the publicity problems he’s had in the past, just has a series of short, hidden affairs much as he’s having with Tala. This time though he’s caught…and then things go awry.
I really felt for Tala when that happened, it wasn’t unreasonable what she did, and Adrian and the others reactions were OTT considering Tala hadn’t been told more about the situation. She and Adrian don’t even got to have a proper row over it – in his usual way he just does what he wants, and disappears leaving her in Senegal. Then she does something that leads her into real danger. This part – the disagreement and subsequent consequences worked really well. I do like the drama side, the “down” part to play out and cover more than just a couple of pages, and here it lasted long enough to satisfy my love of the drama, my need to feel distraught for the characters.
Its got a perfect ending but…the only downside for me is that I still didn’t feel they were in a place where they’d sorted out their communication problems, and I worry that it could happen again…maybe scope for another book? I’d certainly be up for reading it, as I think they’re a perfect couple but still in the making, and I could see more problems through Tala being jealous of the ladies always coming on to him, and his not understanding why she’s so upset about it, and also his tendency to leave when he can’t control a situation. I think too there’s a story behind his need to control everything, even down to what she wears and where she goes. Something must have happened surely to leave him needing to be in control of everything?
Stars: Five, great debut read.
ARC supplied by author