Cast the First Stone by Katherine Halle

Cast the First Stone by Katherine Halle
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary, Action/Adventure, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Short Story (123 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Lilac

Julian Hart is a werewolf hunter. The murder of his parents at the claws of a pair of rogue werewolves left him as guardian to his younger sister, Zoe. Grief and rage drove him to become a hunter and prevent other families from suffering the same fate. His latest hunt leads him right into Alpha Stone’s territory, where his sister was turned against her will.

Werewolf protocol demands that he ask for permission before entering Stone’s territory and continuing his hunt. That leaves Julian with an unwanted entourage and fighting an attraction to a man he shouldn’t crave.

With Alpha Stone’s people dogging his every step and Julian resisting his desire for the very man he’s supposed to hate, his hunt uncovers secrets hidden within lies and a plot for vengeance that no one saw coming.

When the smoke clears, what Julian finds at the end of the trail will forever change his life and the lives of everyone he holds dear.

A human hunter and an Alpha werewolf are forced to work together to catch a rogue wolf, and as their passions are fueled, the roles of predator and prey get blurry.

I liked this tale a lot. The language is succinct and to the point. The pace swift and efficient. The plot clear and relateable. And the sex hotter than a midsummer’s day during a heat wave. The characterization made sense. That might sound like an odd thing considering the genre is paranormal, but here, regardless of the novella length, the people had distinct personalities, they kept personal things private, and they behaved differently based on who they were with.

Julian is a human and a hunter of werewolves who’ve gone rogue and either killed or changed people against their will. His past is bloody because of rogue werewolves, so his motivations are clear. Stone, on the other hand, is an Alpha with a deep, dark secret, which influences his decisions and actions. His desire for Jules complicates things. Real relationships can be messy. It’s not all sunshine and roses and epic love stories. This novella succeeds in creating a believable alternate world where everyone knows about werewolves, but as long as they do nothing bad, they’re treated like everyone else. Nice change for the usual scenario of either side dominating or hiding.

I liked how Jules was a human but in no way inferior to the werewolves, and not just because he was a hunter. His snarky attitude, his fearlessness, and his ability to forgive, it all made him a good, honorable man. Stone was harder to read, mostly because this tale is given to us from Jules’s first person perspective only. But he’s an Alpha who rules wisely but whose own secrets have made him afraid of his beast within. The plot twists born of this were handled exceedingly well.

In short, I have nothing bad to say about this. I simply loved it. Greedy, I wanted more. I’ll nonetheless be checking out the rest of Ms. Halle backlog of books. I recommend this to all lovers of M/M and paranormal, especially werewolves, and who like their men strong and smart, and their connections not quite insta-lust or insta-love, but still forming a formidable bond, expressed through burning hot bouts of delicious sex.

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