Title: Shifting Gears
Author: Petra Lynn
Genre: Gay Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Release Date: February 2, 2013
Jade’s Rating: 4.5 stars
Kenton Palmer finds an injured dog on the road and takes him to the nearest vet only to discover it’s actually a wolf. He decides to nurse the injured animal following the necessary surgery. The handsome vet who treated the wolf offers his own brand of animal attraction, making it clear he’s interested in Kenton.
Gray Fowler is a wolf shifter. Stuck in wolf form after Kenton rescues him, he still falls hard for Kenton. It starts out as jealousy but Gray soon discovers that Kenton’s new love interest, veterinarian Will Barclay, has sinister plans. How are Will’s shady activities linked to the men who injured Gray, and can he expose the scheme before Kenton gets too involved with Will?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It held my attention so well that I sat down and read it all at once; I kept telling myself that I would stop when I got to the next chapter, and every time I did, I couldn’t stop. I had to find out what happened to Kenton, Will, and Gray.
I am fascinated by the paranormal, and since Gray is a wolf shifter, he quickly became my favorite character. That’s not to say that Kenton and Will were lesser characters. I found the major characters in the book to all be nicely developed, and even the secondary characters had a fair amount of depth. I had a rather difficult time connecting to Will, but I think that is a direct consequence of the book blurb making him seem suspicious before I ever started reading.
Kenton was a wonderfully well-developed character. Readers get lots of background about him that helps to understand his thought processes and motivations. Having had a recent relationship end badly, he understandably wants to takes his time with Will, but he also seems to be a little too trusting and loyal for his own good when it comes to Will. Kenton is a sympathetic and likeable character. After the way he cared about Gray as a wolf, I couldn’t help but to grow fond of him, and I found myself rooting for him and Gray to get together from early in the book.
As a wolf shifter, Gray can shift between full human and full wolf forms. When Kenton finds him injured on the road, he has no idea what Gray really is and just assumes that he is a dog, then takes Will’s word for it when told that Gray is not a dog but a wolf. Gray is forced to stay in wolf form as he heals and grows more and more attached to Kenton while being cared for and staying in his home. The two develop a close relationship that is much more than that of a man and his pet, but still it tortures Gray for wanting there to be more between them. It seems inevitable that a sort of rivalry breaks out between Will and Gray the wolf (or Rain, as Kenton calls him) as they vie for Kenton’s attention. I can’t say more for fear of revealing spoilers, but I found the unusual take on the classic love triangle very interesting to watch and read.
I did encounter one issue while reading “Shifting Gears.” I gave the book a high score, so it didn’t detract from my reading experience very much, but I think it’s worth mentioning. Readers who are looking for a good story with a happy ending may not even notice it. But as a reader and writer with a great deal of interest and experience in the paranormal with regards to fiction, I couldn’t help but notice. Gray is so fixated on Kenton and determined to find out the truth about Will that he hardly gives a passing thought to his pack while in wolf form in Kenton’s care. He tells himself several times that he should go but shuts down that instinct each time to stay a little longer. However, it is later revealed that he is the alpha of his pack, which surprised me a lot, considering. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that any pack wolf, much less the alpha himself, could so easily dismiss his pack and his responsibility to them. Perhaps he had faith that his beta would step up into the role of alpha well while he was away, but I would have liked to see a bit more of a struggle in Gray between responsibility to his pack and his new love interest or, in absence of that, some sort of explanation why the pack wasn’t important then. I also found it a bit disappointing that there were so few details about the shifters’ lives and culture since so much was revealed about Kenton’s life and experiences, but a sequel might be better suited to revealing the details of the wolf shifters.
Overall, I liked this book a lot. It is a strong debut, and I am eager for a sequel. It’s a heartwarming story of two people righting a terrible wrong and overcoming great, if not virtually impossible, odds to find love and happiness. I would recommend “Shifting Gears” to all readers who like strong male characters, and werewolves, in their romance.
*Please note: I purchased my copy of this book and chose to write this review.