5 HEARTS "Each book in the Pariah Pack collection features a different romantic couple. To enjoy the overall story arc and crossover characters, I would recommend reading the series in sequential order. Every once in a while you find an author that can give you a world that would be perfect to live in. I came across Susan awhile back when she started writing her series and I have to tell you that I will always grab her books up. They are not only the perfect length for me, but they are so full of detail that it feels like you are right there with them. They not only entertain you but captivate you throughout the whole story. For me once I start reading I can’t move until I find out how they end. Her characters are also very fascinating and unique to me. At first I thought this was going to be one of those sweet ones, but then there was this twist near the end that fascinated me. Also in this one you get a wolf mated to a ram, how crazy is that? I sure got a kick out of it. Rhys deals out justice for his pack and also helps those who need helping. His alpha has been acting funny lately. So when he is asked to go find land so that they expand he gladly does so. Not expecting to find his mate. His mate in bed with a human female. Heath sure didn’t think he was gay, hell he had a girlfriend. Yet there was something about the sexy wolf that pulled at him. However now Rhys alpha wanted their land and things were just not adding up. They had to find a way around this. However he knows he would not be saying no to his sexy mate on the whole mating part. I would definitely recommend reading this book." -- Lisa, MM Good Book Reviews
4 STARS "I’m going to be completely honest here, I read this blurb and felt my face settle into a look of judgmental disbelief. Sheep shifters? Seriously? Could there be a less sexy animal? They’re round, greasy, purportedly stupid, and can often be seen with poopy wool hanging below their butts. But this request for a review came through at just the right time, because I’m currently on a cheesy shifter book binge, so I figured that I’d give it a go. So now I feel the need to apologize to Susan Laine, whose books I have enjoyed in the past. I stand by my first impression that this story could easily have turned ridiculous, but instead, the author produced a well written novella, the only cheesiness in sight being the abundance of wolf and sheep jokes used throughout the story. Rhys is part of the Pariah Pack, headed by Alpha Max and so named because they are made up of wolves who either didn’t fit with their birth packs or were rejected by them for one reason or another. Rhys’s role in the pack is basically to ensure that law and order prevails, and he’s damn good at what he does. While out on a mission to locate available land for the pack to expand into, he pays a visit to his favourite local bakery, which is owned by a flock of sheep shifters. The flock and the pack have happily existed in proximity for years, although visits to the bakery are pretty much the extent of their mingling. But on this particular day, Rhys smells something much more enticing than pies and pastries. He smells his mate, whom he tracks down and discovers in bed with a female. A girlfriend. And from this point the drama begins. I liked the way that the author wrote the two main characters in this story. From the title I was expecting a big strong wolf and a timid little lamb, but both of these men were either more than that stereotype, or not even that at all. While Rhys is physically huge and strong and intimidating, his personality tempers that image with thoughtfulness and kindness. He’s perhaps too loyal to the pack that is his family, but when it comes down to it, he acts in a way that he believes is just and fair. His patience with his mate added further depth to this character and I enjoyed reading his sense of humor. On the other hand, there was nothing “little lamb” like about Heath. Strong, proud and stubborn are probably the first three words that come to mind. He was written as a perfect partner to Rhys, but still, the author didn’t make it too easy for them. Considering this book only came in at just over a hundred pages, I think Susan Laine did a great job of really developing both of her main characters, giving us a bunch of interesting secondary characters and still providing an attention-grabbing plot, which was rather fast paced, but wasn’t missing any important details. This is book #3 in the Pariah Pack but it can absolutely be read as a standalone. That’s how I read it. But I think now I really need to go back and read the first book, because I want to find out how the big bad alpha met his bunny mate." -- Donna, Love Bytes Reviews
"This third book in the ‘Pariah Pack’ series returns to the “prey shifter has predator shifter mate” idea from book one, only this time it is a sheep shifter who discovers his mate is a werewolf. As full of lamb/wolf references as it is, it had me cracking up. But there is also a darker background to this volume with the wolves ready to annex the sheep’s land to their pack territory based on some ancient law – never mind that the sheep have owned it for generations and lovingly work it as the farmers they are. Between my worrying what the heck had gotten into Max Wolfe, the alpha mated to Peter the bunny shifter, and watching epsilon wolf Rhys completely mess up his attempts to convince sheep Heath they should be together, I was as entertained as ever. Rhys is an epsilon wolf. Never heard of those? Well, neither had I until this book. I think it’s hilarious that Susan Laine makes fun of all the alphas, betas, gammas, and omegas running around in werewolf stories by adding a few more letters of the Greek alphabet to the list and assigning them a particular role in the pack. She hinted at it in book one, but the idea comes to full fruition here. But back to the story. Rhys is in charge of law and order, applying the laws of the paranormal world, and it is particularly ironic that he is the one to be put in charge of taking the sheep’s land. He can’t disobey his alpha, yet his sense of justice says it is wrong just to take land from a weaker group of shifters because one of them happens to be his mate. Rhys has a fundamental decision to make: his mate or his pack, and it is tearing him apart. Heath is a sheep shifter who loves his family/flock and working the land. He has a girlfriend, and has never been interested in men before (or so he tells himself), but when he meets Rhys, everything changes. Suddenly his plans for the future that include children (hence, his desperation to hold on to the idea that he will marry a woman) go out the window. Rhys comes across as a beast, demanding Heath fall at his feet (well, sort of), and Heath does not like that one bit. Add the fact that Rhys and his pack are after the sheep’s land and Heath is not happy. He doesn’t like to fight, but when he has no choice, he will stand up for the flock’s rights – mate or no mate, prey or predator is irrelevant when he is a man. If you like shifter stories that don’t take themselves too seriously, if a story about a lamb and a wolf having to battle it out sounds like fun, and if you’re looking for a read that is full of conflict, strange behavior, a few surprises at the end, and funny, then you will probably like this novella. I certainly did and hope there will be more." -- Serena Yates, Rainbow Book Reviews
So Rhys merely grinned and rolled his eyes. “A bump in the head might be worth the taste of your feminine sweets, Isabelle.”
Isabelle chuckled. “Pfft. Your tastes run in the other direction, if memory serves. So, my hungry wolf, what would you like this time? I recommend the chocolate and cinnamon cake. I just cooled them off from the oven. They’re dry cakes, of course, but I know you’ll love them.”
Rhys growled, buzzing pleasantly. “Oh, yes, please. I’ll have a chunk, thanks. If it’s as good as your hype suggests, I’ll take the whole thing.” While Rhys waited for Isabelle to cut him a big slice of cake, he asked, “Say, have you heard if anyone in the area might be anxious to leave and/or sell their land? Your family know all the farm owners around here.”
Isabelle scrunched her pretty button nose in thought. “I haven’t heard anything. I could ask around if you’d like.” She pursed her lips in dismay, shaking her head. “These are hard times, economically I mean. Another recession. Soon there won’t be anyone left farming land in the old ways. It’s all machines and cash crops these days. Makes me sad. My grandma would have burst into tears, she would, had she seen modern times.”
“I hear ya.” Rhys sympathized. Life was hard all over now—unless a person was willing to abandon all his or her values in exchange for cold cash and significant losses to the environment. “I can only speak for myself, but I’m glad you guys are still around. Our pack doesn’t really go big on agriculture. It’s just Woody and his garden and greenhouse. Not enough greens or grain to sustain the whole pack.”
Isabelle nodded in earnest. “I understand. Tough times.” Then she flashed a confident, bright smile. “If all goes well, however, we intend to stick around. Honestly, I think you’re the one who’s keeping this place afloat as it is.”
It was a joke, but Rhys appreciated the hell out of it. He ignored the enticing odor emanating from the sheep-shifter woman and focused on the baked goods.
The back door opened, and a tall, sturdy man in green farmer’s overalls walked in, the smell of dirt and hay as pungent as his sweat. Blond-haired like Isabelle, he had red cheeks, a blond beard, and round glasses, which he was in the process of wiping with a handkerchief. The man was Isabelle’s husband, Louis.
“Iz, I couldn’t find the tractor key again,” he said absentmindedly, his gaze aimed at his glasses. “I didn’t leave it here, did I?”
Isabelle snorted lovingly. “No, you big palooka. It’s in your jacket pocket, as usual.”
He frowned in obvious disbelief. “You sure?” He finally looked up, blinked, put on his glasses, and smiled at Rhys. “Oh, good evening, Mr. Gunner. Didn’t see you there.”
Chuckling, Rhys was about to deliver another amusing smartass retort when he picked up a scent unlike any he’d smelled before. It wafted into his nostrils, caressing his senses like velvet, arousing him like a slow burn in his nether regions, and alluring him like a moth to a beacon in the night. He didn’t realize he was growling until he heard both Isabelle and Louis gasp in shock.
“Sorry, I…” Rhys sputtered. Before he knew it, he had hopped onto the counter and down in front of Louis. Capping out at six seven, Rhys was well aware he was huge. His ripped and bulging muscles gave him a hulking, dangerous appearance that intimidated without words. Mostly people steered clear of him on sight.
Therefore it came as no surprise when Isabelle screamed in fear. It wasn’t a pleasant sound, the shriek hurting Rhys’s ears. But driven by feral instincts, he ignored her. The sweetest scent emanated from…Louis’s handkerchief. Rhys pressed his face against it and inhaled. A warm hum of pure satisfaction spread through him.
“Where’d you get that?”
Louis opened and closed his mouth, backing against the closed door, having gone pale and cowering before Rhys, who had to appear monstrous to him. His eyes morphed into ram eyes, with horizontal slitted pupils. Rhys guessed the prey animal’s reaction was to his predator’s vertically slitted wolf eyes.
“Where?” Rhys shouted, unable to stop the urgency and need burning inside him. He had to find out. He had to find…“Where?”
Louis trembled and pointed in the direction of their farmhouse down the private road. “T-there. I-I g-got it f-from my s-son.”
Rhys straightened, bounced over the counter, and sprinted into action. Wind blew at his ginger, extreme faux hawk hair and under his black kilt as he ran, his combat boots-clad feet setting off a thundering beat, and clouds of dust billowed in his wake. Everything became a blur as his vision turned hazy. His heart pounded like a jackhammer and his muscles cried out. But he couldn’t stop, not until he had found…
A two-story turquoise farmhouse appeared. A wraparound porch went around the large building, and a beautiful blooming garden surrounded the yard. Rhys noticed the details but didn’t care about them as he just stormed into the house, stopped briefly to inhale and track down the scent trail, and then dashed up the stairs. The hallway split into two directions, and Rhys rushed to the left. There, a bedroom door all but wobbled as his vision grew distorted as his sense of smell increased its strength. The only thing that existed was that heavenly aroma. Rhys kicked in the door and stepped in, panting and wildly scanning the room.
On the bed, two people startled and drew apart.
Rhys saw only the young man, one he had never seen on this farm before. The picture of a tiny twink, the guy had eyes as blue as the summer skies and tanned skin a hue darker than his soft, curly flaxen hair. Red stains of arousal appeared on his cheeks and neck, all easy to see because he was buck naked under the covers—which tented in his groin area.
Rhys could scarcely draw breath as he saw red, for he knew on instinct what the scent meant. Mine, his soul whispered. Mine, his heart howled. The young man was his mate!
His mate, in bed, naked, with another—wait, with a woman?
Then Rhys proceeded to slowly undress Heath. Every fleeting touch teased and each kiss placed on a newly exposed patch of skin flirted with Heath until he was left a writhing, quivering mess of need. Rhys peppered Heath’s body with smoldering open-mouthed kisses, his lips hot, his tongue firm and wet, and the rasp of his stubble a caress of flames.
By the time Heath lay on the bed naked, he couldn’t hide his hard cock. Rhys spread Heath’s legs with his hands, leaving his nether regions open and bare, and then Rhys laved Heath’s balls, bathing them in wet warmth.
Heath cried out, his voice hoarse as his throat was dry. Did women do this for men? No woman he’d ever been with had done this with him. In fact, the girls he’d known weren’t into giving oral anything. But Rhys never hesitated, his touches weren’t tentative, and he didn’t ask for permission.
Rhys gripped the base of Heath’s dick, squeezed gently, and then licked the shiny pearl of pre-cum that gathered at the slit.
“Holy shit!” Heath cried out again, his hips bucking involuntarily.
Without giving Heath a chance to recover from the overwhelming sensation of getting his dick sucked, Rhys took Heath’s cockhead in his mouth and suckled, first soft, then hard. Heath’s hips jumped at the contact, and then he closed his eyes and let the feelings wash over him.
Rhys devoted his full attention on Heath’s cock, circling the mushroom head with his tongue, swiping errant droplets of pre-cum into his mouth, and pressed his tongue on the sensitive spot under the head. Tremors wracked Heath, waves of heat flushing him from head to toe.
Sex was never bad, although some lovers could be. But Heath had never imagined sex with his mate would really feel so much more awesome than with anyone else. Or was the reason because a man understood how to please a man better than a woman? Heath didn’t care.
When Rhys pulled off Heath’s dick with a lewd pop, his smirk was downright dirty. “It’s okay to push, you know. I’m not holding your hips or anything. I want you to ram your cock down my throat, little lamby.”
Heath glared at Rhys, who merely chuckled back impudent. “Don’t get cocky. I may look innocent and sweet and meek as a lamb. But of the two of us, I’m the wolf in sheep’s clothing, I assure you.”
With that declaration, he pushed up and gripped the waist of Rhys’s kilt—and yanked it off, revealing a tanned expanse of a six-pack and a delicious trail of ginger-hued pubes pointing down at a huge erect cock.
Heath whooped with excitement. “Oh my God, it’s true! You really are naked under there.”
Rhys grinned wolfishly. “Of course. I like to swing free.” He grabbed his big balls and squeezed them lasciviously while he swayed his hips sideways.
“Now you’re just showboating,” Heath admonished him with a laugh.
Rhys shook his head, laughing. “God, you have no idea what you do to me, do you? I mean, I’ve had to ease the tension twice today already. I don’t think anyone in the pack will ever want to borrow my shower again.”
Heath stared at his mate, wide-eyed and open-mouthed. Rhys fantasized about him when he was in the shower? When he was…flogging his wolf, so to speak? Heath could see it in his mind with vivid details—Rhys standing under the spray in the buff, his fist around his cock, pumping the shaft and swiping over the head.
Heath groaned. Rhys chuckled wickedly. “You’re picturing it, aren’t you? Bad sheep.”
Blushing, Heath scoffed. “Then stop giving me naughty ideas, bad dog.”
“Nuh-uh.” Rhys wagged his finger in front of Heath. “Bad wolf.”
Heath snorted. “Isn’t that a Doctor Who reference?”
Rhys frowned, cocking his head to the side. It was such a confused dog gesture that Heath started laughing so hard that his stomach hurt, and he had tears coming out of his eyes. Growling, Rhys silenced him by taking Heath’s balls in his mouth, licking them all over, and sucking on them ever so softly. Losing his mind, Heath allowed himself to be swept away by the tides of pleasure.
Then, again without asking for permission, Rhys flipped Heath over onto his belly, parted his ass cheeks, and licked over the puckered hole. Heath sucked in a breath and glanced over his shoulder in shock.
Rhys grinned, his wolf eyes and fangs showing. “What? None of your previous lovers ate your ass, pretty boy? They don’t know what they were missing.”