Title: Taming the Alpha
Author: Adriana Hunter
Genre: Paranormal romance
Publication date: 2013
When you’re the Alpha Male there are certain things that are expected of you, and finding a suitable mate is at the top of the list. For Jax, a powerful and dangerous werewolf, that’s not so easy because the one woman he’s deeply attracted to is a girl that will never be accepted by the pack. A woman that he can’t seem to get out of his head. A first for him.
Beautiful, curvy Nikki Avery hates her job at the local strip club, but she’s struggling just to get by. Her dream of ever finding a decent guy worth loving shattered as night after night she stands before a crowd of drunken men, their jeers and catcalls burning a hole in her heart. To make things worse, there’s a killer on the loose, stalking the dancers, waiting to attack.
But when a handsome stranger appears at the club, his dangerous, feral presence commanding attention, the s.e.x.u.a.l charge between them is so strong that she can barely breathe, Nikki finds herself swept into a world she never dreamed existed. A world where nothing is as it seems and once she enters, there is no turning back.
For those who know me you know I am not a big fan of straight up romances or sappy love stories. Don’t get me wrong, I think the romantic angle is essential to almost any story and some erotic scenes are pleasure to read (pun intended 😀 ) but I will never intentionally go for a story that has only that and nothing else.
In one of my blog posts I mentioned that the best way to learn what works for you, how to write something that is not your strength or simply to figure out what you want to write, is to read everything. Good, bad, favorite genres, genres you don’t like – everything. I am sticking to that notion and I carefully sliding into an uncharted territory – romance/erotica novels.
My first pick was Taming the Alpha by Adriana Hunter mainly because of the cool cover and the promise of extra plotline (werewolves or other paranormal creatures). The book is short, barely 78 pages in Ebook format, and I have to say – (spoiler alert) the title has nothing to do with the plot or at least I find no connection. I read without expectations as I was afraid I would hate it before it even started. Funnily enough, I didn’t hate it.
The story revolves around Nikki, a young pretty stripper with sad past and bad luck with men (oh, and unrealistic romantic expectations considering how shitty her life is). I was curious to see if her unusual occupation will add a special flair to the story but apart from accenting on how sensual and sexy she is, her job could have been something else. I would have loved for a little more spotlight on Nikki as her own person, why she chose this and what made her sell her body like that. It would have made me connect with her so much more.
She meets Jax, an alpha wolf of his pack, through her job and there is this instant spark, deeper connection between the two even before they exchange words. I know this is kind of typical for romances but I can think of ten different ways you can exploit this connection in a non-cliche way.
Jax’s attraction to her and his internal struggle to bring a stripper as his mate (oh, the horror!) made me a bit annoyed with him. And we were told like ten times that he is the alpha but most of his actions paint him as beta at best. He doesn’t take charge, he doesn’t command attention and everybody does whatever they want around him. Considering that as alpha you’re expected to make a kill and all that jazz – there should have been heads rolling, even if it was not his brother’s.
Anyway, the part that bugged me most of all is that there seems to be a subplot (main one being Jax getting over his pack prejudices and getting the girl he wants) that followed a weird wolf/animal that shredded to pieces three people at Nikki’s workplace and tried to kill her and her friend. That part really worked for me and it painted Jax in a new light, as protective and strong and determined. And yet, the story was over after just one encounter with the creature. There was no development there – Jax’ pack didn’t find who/what it was, didn’t kill it, didn’t lose by it. We never understood what the creature wanted although I suspect it was to kill Nikki in particular.
Since this is half of the genre of this book, I can’t fail to comment on the erotic scenes here. They were very descriptive, very vivid and I would say even arousing if it wasn’t for the weird over-the-top lovey-dovey thoughts. I mean, I know during sex we’re overly emotional and we feel connected to the person, especially if we have real feelings for them, but it was a bit distracting for me. There are probably a lot of readers, especially fans of the genre, that may love them.
So yeah… this turned into a rather long review for such a short book 😀 I’ll give it about 3/5 rating. There were some cool moments and some very hot moments but it could have been so much more.
What about you? Have you read it? What rating would you give? What are your thoughts and takes on Taming the Alpha?