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Change of Heart by Mary Calmes

As a young gay man—and a werepanther—all Jin Rayne yearns for is a normal life. Having fled his past, he wants nothing more than to start over, but Jin’s old life doesn’t want to let him go. When his travels bring him to a new city, he crosses paths with the leader of the local were-tribe. Logan Church is a shock and an enigma, and Jin fears that Logan is both the mate he fears and the love of his life. Jin doesn't want to go back to the old ways, and mating would irrevocably tie him to them.

But Jin is the mate Logan needs at his side to help him lead his tribe, and he won't give Jin up so easily. It will take time and trust for Jin to discover the joy in belonging to Logan and how to love without restraint.

Bottom line up front:
Finally! A book from DSP that was a well-paced, delicious read. And it had a very pretty cover.

The rest:
Jin is a werepanther who was rather rudely exiled from his birth pack by none other than his own father. Sadly, daddy dearest couldn't have just issued a polite "feel free to leave" after Jin came out to the pack. Oh, no. Instead, he and the rest of the pack stripped Jin naked and beat him until they thought he was dead, then dragged his carcass behind a vehicle to the middle of nowhere and left him there. Luckily for Jin, his best friend since forever, Crane, saved his life and the two ran away together.

The two friends randomly wander from town to town, doing odd jobs. Their relative anonymity came to an abrupt halt when they save the sister of one of the local pack leaders. Jin meets the guy, finds out that he's the mate that he's always avoided, and spends the rest of the story going back and forth between needing his independence and wanting to belong.

Jin is absolutely darling. He's got the usual hangups of a young gay man who was rather unceremoniously kicked out of the only life he'd ever knows. Despite this, he worked, and was just a pleasure to follow along. There were some pack dynamics that were a bit fuzzy. We're told Jin is this thing called a reah, which is supposedly rare and valuable, but I'm not sure I understood what the heck a reah is supposed to do, exactly. Jin seemed to just have a charisma booster that made everyone like him. His responsibilities within the pack were a bit evocative of what an omega would do, but although the fact that he *had* responsibilities was mentioned several times, he didn't actually do anything that I could see, and what his tasks were or should have been weren't clearly delineated.

I didn't quite buy a few bits in the story in relation to the mating with Logan. As typical with were animals of any type, their society was generally het. It was unusual for any werepanther to be gay. Logan himself was straight, and was in fact in the process of marrying the sister of another local pack leader when Jin came along. Still, Logan went right into rimming and sucking Jin off with nary a blink, shrugging it all off under the oft repeated phrase of "well, we're mates". That's nice, but Gay For You isn't my favorite trope, and it stretches the bounds of what I'm willing to believe to have a guy play hooky at his own engagement party to a woman to stick his tongue up some guy's ass.

Still, I was intrigued by the Egyptian mythology themes interwoven throughout the story, and the alternate civilization built on worship of Bast, my favorite Goddess of them all. The secondary characters were all sharply painted, and contributed to what was an overall compelling story.

I thought I was all were'd out, but I very much enjoyed Change of Heart, and can only hope that it's the fabulous start of a new favorite series by a new-to-me author. Calmes is the first author I've read in recent memory who is tempting me to do a little research and glom the backlist, if one exists.

Get your copy here.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 20th, 2009 11:53 pm (UTC)
What?! Again?? You sure you're not sick? Although, granted, this was definitely a good read.
Nov. 21st, 2009 12:34 am (UTC)
inorite?! have never liked anything I got from DSP. went out on a limb this time because it was free. my seekrit easter bunny gave me ARe bux to spend :P, and this book had a pretty cover, lol.
Nov. 21st, 2009 01:08 am (UTC)
Oooh I have this one too! Will be reading it ASAP.
Nov. 21st, 2009 04:38 am (UTC)
have gotten maudlin in my old age, I think *g*. as always, looking forward to reading your review.
Nov. 22nd, 2009 10:04 am (UTC)
Been eyeing this up, shall definitely get it and have a read. :)
Nov. 22nd, 2009 07:35 pm (UTC)
you totally should. is the rare DSP that didn't suck. that's, like, a collector's item or something :P
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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