Running Wild by Joely Skye (Northern Shifters #4)
M/M Paranormal Romance
June 19, 2012
Reviewed by Mandi
After a disastrous coming out to his parents, Seamus O’Conner runs away. But as he is running through the woods, he is threatened by a group of guys. Confused as to what is going on, he becomes even more confused when a huge black stallion gallops up to him. The horse is very steady and eventually Seamus realizes the horse wants him to get on. Scared and confused, Seamus gets on the horse. Exhausted, Seamus comes to in a strange house. He meets an elderly man by the name of Zachariah. He encourages Seamus to contact his parents, and Seamus eventually goes home but he keeps in contact with Zachariah and visits his farm in the following years.
Seven years later, Seamus learns Zachariah has died and left his entire farm to him. Stunned and saddened, Seamus goes to the farm to see if he wants to fix it up or sell it. It is here that Seamus meets Zachariah’s grandson, Ri. But Ri is very mysterious, coming and going at all hours. Never giving out personal information and he acts very skittish. But Seamus is intrigued by Ri. He had no idea Zachariah had a grandson and there is definitely a chemistry between them. The big black stallion also visits him on this farm, and Seamus can’t help but remember that odd night seven years ago.
I’ve read a couple of Joely Skye’s books, and I like the relationship in this one. Seamus goes from a scared nineteen year old kid who just came out to his parents to seven years later, feeling a little more secure in the world. He has recently broken up with a long time lover, and is ready for something more in his life. While the farm he inherits is a lot of work, he also feels he owes something to Zachariah’s memory. When he meets Ri, while he is confused as to who he is and what he wants, Ri becomes so much more to him. Ri is very scared and shy, but also Seamus can feel that he needs him.
Obviously, Ri is the big black stallion that saved Seamus all those years ago. The strength of this book is the way Ri is portrayed. I think the author does a great job making Ri not quite human. You never once forget that Ri is a shifter – a wild stallion who needs to run for days on end. You never forget that he could forget to come back to being human, or that he could run himself to death. But all the while, he still comes across as a well done romantic interest for Seamus. I believed in their quiet, complicated romance, and Seamus has great patience for Ri, letting him run wild when he needs out, and eagerly waiting his return.
I think the weakest part of this book is the conflict with the werewolves. In this world, werewolves came out to the public years ago. So when Ri finally tells Seamus he is a horse shifter, while Seamus has never heard of a horse shifter, because wolves are out, it is not that big of a stretch. Werewolves hunt horse shifters, and Ri has been battling them for years. He is always on the lookout for them and when Ri learns that Seamus’s ex-boyfriend was a wolf, he feels like something more is going on. This conflict is greatly built up in this book but leads up to…nothing. I won’t say how it is resolved, but it is very weak. I was expecting something big at the end, and it all fizzles. Big time.
So I didn’t like the werewolf part of the story, but I think the romance in this one is nicely done.