As the landlord of The Dragon’s Lair and leader of The Black Dragons Motorcycle Club, Axel Carmichael has seen it all and done it all. He’s a respected and experienced dom. Nothing shocks him any more, and nobody catches him off guard.
When Bayden rides up to The Dragon’s Lair on a bike worth more than most men earn in a year, and immediately demonstrates that he has far more attitude than sense, it’s easy for Axel to write him off as a silly little rich boy who’s about to get himself killed.
But, there’s more to Bayden than meets the eye. He’s no silly little boy, rich or otherwise, and werewolves aren’t easy to kill.
This is one of those books that I could not get out of my head. I thought about the characters, I re-read chapters, I was not ready to move on.
I have a few genres I love and a few not so much. I enjoy contemporary, BDSM and paranormal – not exclusively, just as examples. I tend to not like the sub-genre of shifters. Kim Dare has taken this sub-genre and given it a twist. Axel’s Pup has a contemporary setting with added wolf shifters, which I normally avoid because it just isn’t my flavor, and she made me love it.
In Axel’s Pup, wolf shifters are a minority with extreme limitations on their lives due to laws that keep them from forming packs by allowing no more than two adult wolves to live together. The pack hierarchy is still in their mindset but there is equality in how dominance is viewed. Dominance is not just because one is male. I loved this. The parallels to prejudice and persecution of people or groups in the real world are similar and I felt like this made the plight of wolves more real than other shifter stories I have read.
When Bayden enters Axel’s pub, The Dragon’s Lair, he is looking for a fight. It is not at all what one would expect but because of Brayden’s pride, natural distrust of humans, tendency to not communicate and situations he puts himself in, he gives everyone the impression of being a brash, rich kid looking for trouble. Axel sees something else and is intrigued and patient enough to try and get to know Brayden better.
I adored Bayden. He has taken the oppressive laws and worked within a mindset that allows him to feel like he is making choices about what happens to him. He considers himself a free wolf even though no human in this world would consider his choices as one that a free person would make. He is a very strong wolf that is also submissive, but this is as complicated as everything else we find out about Bayden. He needs an Alpha, someone he feels deserves his respect and submission. When he meets Axel he senses this, but how could he ever submit to a human? Bayden wants to believe that Axel is not like all the other humans he has encountered.
Axel is a wonderful character. He owns a biker bar/BDSM club. He is a strong alpha male without coming across as the stereotypical Alpha male. He is comfortable with who he is and he is able to look past what Bayden is presenting to everyone and see more. He does not just see a wolf, although he works hard to understand the differences in the way Bayden views the world as a wolf compared to humans.
This was a difficult review for me as I felt I would not be able to do the story justice. It is very much a contemporary paranormal romance heavy on the D/s theme with subjects that touch a nerve in the real world, with its portrayal of inequality and injustice for a group of people out of fear of that group.
The story is well written and pulled me in. I loved watching Axel and Bayden’s relationship evolve. The secondary characters are intriguing and I am looking forward to more of their story in future books.