Title: Lupine Road
Author: Cal Matthews
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 277 Pages
Category: Paranormal, Shifters
At a Glance: I no-holds-barred loved these guys so much. Cal Matthews tells a story that in the hands of any other author might have been just an average paranormal romance, but thanks to their characterization, this book was elevated beyond the ordinary—Nate and Cyrus both grabbed me by the heart.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: A wolf on the run
Cyrus Del Basque has been running his whole life. Born to a pack of fugitive werewolves, he travels the country with his family, trying to stay one step ahead of the hunters who pursue them. With only each other to rely on, his family roams from town to town, never stopping long enough for Cyrus to make friends, let alone have a relationship.
But living under constant threat has taken its toll, and when Cyrus’s grandfather falls ill, his desperate family takes refuge in the most unlikely of places—a drive-in movie theater outside of tiny Modesty Creek, Montana.
A man looking forward
Nathan Anderson is comfortable in his world. Proud owner of the Throwback Theater, Nate’s life revolves around movies, books, and World of Warcraft raids with his long-distance best friend. He’s spent the last few years healing from a car accident that left him in a wheelchair, and though he has lingering mental and physical scars, Nate is happy and content in the life he has built.
But Modesty Creek is small, and the dating options slim. So when the strange family blows into town, Nate is immediately drawn to the quiet, intense oldest son. And when sparks fly, Nate—ever the romantic—can’t help but start imagining the future they might have together.
Two world colliding
But Cyrus knows he can’t risk putting Nate and his family in danger. How could he even begin to explain? He knows that, at best, they can only have a few days together. But even as Nate and Cyrus are drawn closer together, Cyrus knows that at any moment, hunters could arrive to tear them all apart… and burn down the world that Nate has created.
Review: Cal Matthews currently has published three novels, including the two in the Thaumaturge series. I’ve read all three of them and am now declaring that she’s one of my favorite storytellers. I absolutely loved this book, from beginning to end, for two reasons. Those reasons are named Nate and Cyrus.
While Lupine Road may not delve deep into the world of the shifters who populate this novel, it doesn’t really need to. Matthews hasn’t set out to explore new territory in werewolf lore, so we never find out the origin of her species, but that’s not the point of the story. The focus of Lupine Road is on Cyrus’s pack, his family, his grandfather, and why they’ve spent years on the run. And, how that will eventually influence his relationship with Nate—sweet, lovable, kind, strong, brave Nate.
When Cyrus’s family hits Modesty Creek, Montana, they’re low on supplies, low on money, and, consequently, short on patience with each other. There’s a current of tension running through the pack, and it begins with Alonso, Cyrus’s grandfather and the alpha of the Del Basque pack. The way Matthews teases out this frisson of conflict and what’s happening to Alonso at the outset sets up the all-important hook—I wanted to know what was happening and how it was going to play out, and I wasn’t about to stop reading until I found out what it all meant.
At the gas station in town, they’re directed to an RV park that’s connected to one of the last operating drive-in movie theaters in the country, and I loved the nostalgic feel this gives to the story, especially in this rural setting. It added a dimension to the story in Nate’s love of his business that I now find I would have missed if it hadn’t been such an integral part of his and his family’s life (I also loved his dad and sister). It becomes important to Cyrus as well, as it’s where he and Nate meet and make a connection.
I no-holds-barred loved these guys so much. Cal Matthews tells a story that in the hands of any other author might have been just an average paranormal romance, but thanks to their characterization, this book was elevated beyond the ordinary—Nate and Cyrus both grabbed me by the heart. Cyrus being a werewolf is a sizable obstacle. Being a werewolf on the run from people who want to see his pack dead means he has never stayed in one place long enough to connect with, let alone grow attached to, anyone. The handful of days the pack plans to stay in Modesty is just long enough for Cyrus to ask for a job doing maintenance work to earn a little cash. Getting to know Nate because of it becomes a game-changer.
Nate is a paraplegic. He’s been wheelchair bound since high school and used the insurance money from the accident settlement to buy the park and drive-in as well as to build himself a home. I’m not sure I can emphasize how much I loved him. While it would have been understandable if Nate were even the slightest bit bitter, his sweet nature and love for gaming and his drive-in eclipsed everything else. That’s not to say he was without his darker thoughts and emotions, though. There was a deep grief just below the surface that he eventually feels safe sharing with Cyrus, but it’s not before he’s made himself entirely vulnerable in other ways. This is another yet characteristic of the book I loved. Cyrus hides that he’s a werewolf for reasons that include his not wanting Nate to think he’s a freak, while Nate is fearful that when Cyrus sees his legs and what his paralysis means in terms of bodily functions, that Cyrus will run. The fact that Cyrus can contort from human to wolf equips him with a different view of human anatomy, though, so Nate’s body is beautiful to Cyrus simply because it’s Nate’s. That right there snatched me by the feels.
The fact that Matthews didn’t give in to the temptation to ‘fix’ Nate’s paralysis by means of the magical werewolf bite is something I appreciated so much. I love the way the author brought this story to a close. There is a loose thread that I’m fine with not being tied up, a danger still out there—I know who it is but not what. Whether it means there’s going to be a sequel to this book, I don’t know, but I’m not about to turn down more Nate and Cyrus if it’s up for grabs. I don’t need it, but I want it, so if it’s written, I will devour it gladly.
You can buy Lupine Road here:
[zilla_button url=”http://authl.it/B075B4FTZD?d” style=”blue” size=”large” type=”round” target=”_blank”] Amazon/Kindle Unlimited [/zilla_button]