I started reading the Wolf Pack series back in 2010. I’ve enjoyed each book in this series and many other series by Ms Smith. Full disclosure: I am a big fan of Maureen Smith; she is definitely my go-to for AA erotic romance. Maureen Smith is one of the few in this genre (that I’ve read) who writes sexy, well-developed stories with relatable/likable AA characters. At the end of the book you aren’t left with any holes and questions; each couple gets a clear and true HEA. The only thing I could remotely say that I don’t enjoy about Ms. Smith’s books is that there is usually a long wait between new releases. I guess that’s the downside of writing full, well-developed stories.
Seducing the Wolf is a second chance love story. Manning and Taylor were high school sweethearts who were separated when Taylor moves away when they were 16 years old. Twenty plus years have passed when they run into each other by happenstance one morning at a hotel coffee shop in Atlanta. Manning is doing the “walk of shame” out of said hotel after a one night stand. Taylor, a renowned violinist, is visiting Atlanta as an artist-in-residence at a local university. Of course, Taylor and Manning never forgot one another and the love they felt for one another as teens hasn’t completely disappeared. The only snag — Taylor currently has a serious boyfriend!
What I liked
We first met Taylor and Manning as teens in love in Inferno. Taylor and Manning were well-drawn and their arc is believable. I loved the history between them and how that leads them to who they are as adults in present day. Not only do these two share the sweet innocence of first love, they share a very sad past around a life-changing event that lead to their break-up long ago. There’s a healthy dose of flashbacks to their past in STW to help us understand their journey too.
Although each book can stand on its on, this series is more family saga a la the Westmorelands or Madarises by Brenda Jackson than 100% stand alone novel. There’s a deep interconnectedness of these stories; previously introduced or new secondary characters pop up to add a voice of reason or humor at just the right time. Also, there’s something about each secondary character that intrigues the reader just enough to keep us clamoring for new stories.
What I didn’t like
The cheating storyline.
From the moment Taylor and Manning meet again, I figured the story was going to take this route unfortunately. My issue isn’t with the actual cheating per se; it’s more how it was done here. We are primed and ready to hate Aiden immediately; Adien is painted as the most insecure, possessive, distrustful boyfriend on earth as soon as he learns of Taylor and Manning’s past and it only gets worse as the story progresses. In order to make Taylor’s cheating on Aiden more palatable and her eventually breaking up with him more understandable, Ms. Smith turns Aiden into a cheating liar as well. I’ve seen this too many times in romance novels. One love interest is made into the bad guy so the other can be the heroine’s white knight.
It wasn’t necessary to turn Aiden into a pariah, IMO. Aiden doesn’t hold a candle to Manning, not because he cheated or lied behind Taylor’s back, rather because Taylor doesn’t love Aiden the way she’s always loved Manning — point blank period. End of story. Let that stand on its own, no need to sully it, IMO.
I could nitpick about some of the dialogue being a bit cheesy and forced, but that was a minor issue to the aforementioned for me. Overall, another hit by Ms. Smith. I’ll be waiting with bated breath for Manning’s five brothers’ stories in the years to come.