Book Reviews

Once Upon a Wolf (Wayward Wolves 1) by Rhys Ford at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Paranormal / Shifters / Romance
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 19-February-2018

Book Blurb

Gibson Keller’s days are fairly routine: wake up early, get some work done, drink lots of coffee, and take care of Ellis, his older brother, stuck in wolf form after coming home from the war. It’s a simple life made up of long runs on two legs—or four—and quiet evenings…. Until Ellis chases a handsome man off a cliff and into the frozen waters beside their cabin, changing Gibson’s life forever.


For Zach Thomas, buying an old B&B is a new start. Leaving behind his city life, he longs to find peace and quiet, and hiking the trails behind his property seems safe enough—right up to the moment an enormous black wolf chases him into a lake, nearly drowning him. Discovering werewolves are real astounds him, but not as much as the man who rescues him from the icy water, then walks into Zach’s heart as if he owns it.


Loving a werewolf—loving Gibson with all his secrets—has its challenges, but Zach believes their love is worth fighting for, especially since his heart knows the big bad wolf is really a prince in disguise.


Book Review

“The cold was swallowing him whole, a ravenous snake consuming him as prey. A darkness as thick as the menacing shadow in the trees began to take him, and as the not-quite-frozen lake stole the life from his body, he saw the wolf mount the boulder, throw its head back, and cast out an eerie, haunting cry.”

I never, ever, ever thought Rhys Ford would write a paranormal shifter story. Not because she thinks she’s better than that or anything, oh hell no, but more because I have a small glimmer of how her brain works and I knew she couldn’t write a shifter unless she had the science and physics of shifting figured out in a way that made sense and was plausible. To say I was excited when I turned the first page is a mild understatement.

I could feel the love and compassion Gibson has for his brother, Ellis, with every look and the tone of his voice. Their entire family has alienated them believing that Ellis is trapped inside his wolf and should be put down. Gibson is so afraid that this instance of Ellis chasing Zach might be an indicator that Ellis has gone insane. But without his brother shifting and talking to him, Gibson has to guess, and he’s feeling more alone than ever. It doesn’t help that Ellis has brought home (so to speak) the one man in a thousand miles who hits every one of Gibson’s buttons.

I knew going into this read that ‘Once Upon a Wolf’ is a novella and significantly shorter than this author’s other works. So, I expected Gibson and Zach to have an immediate connection, and I was very happy with the way it was written. Because this is the first in a new series and I have zero clue where the author is going to go, i.e. will the next story revolve around the same characters as I hope, I thought the extra attention paid to Ellis and his issues versus the love story between Gibson and Zach was apropos.

I very much enjoyed Rhys Ford’s first venture into a shifter story. As always her descriptive writing style had me seeing so much of the story playing out across my mind. She has left me intrigued and I’m very curious to see where she plans on taking me. As it stands, this novella is a sweet love story with low angst and although the scenes involving Ellis have definite drama involved, at the base, in my opinion, ‘Once Upon a Wolf’ is a gentle story about two lonely men who need love and find it where they least expect it.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been purchased by the reviewer.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 96 pages/36296 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 16-February-2018
Price $4.99 ebook
Buy Link