Erryn reviews Huntsman: Fox Hollow Zodiac (Book 1) by Morgan Brice. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Book Title: Huntsman: Fox Hollow Zodiac Book 1
Author: Morgan Brice
Narrator: John Solo
Length: 5 hours and 36 minutes
Release Date: August 23, 2022
Genres: Urban fantasy, MM paranormal romance, shifter romance, gay romance
Tropes: Friends to lovers, hurt/comfort, learning to trust, second chance at love, fated mates, small town romance, found family
Themes: Love conquers all, starting over
Heat Rating: 4 flames
It is the first book in the series. It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger
Available on Kindle Unlimited
A grieving wolf. A hunted fox. Fated mates, thrown together by chance, and the looming threat of a fabled Huntsman who might tear them apart forever.
Fox shifter Liam Reynard is running from a killer. He uproots his life to find sanctuary in Fox Hollow, deep in the Adirondack Forest in New York.
When his car breaks down, sexy wolf shifter Russ Lowe comes to the rescue, and one touch makes it clear they’re fated mates. Neither man was looking for love, and both are still mending from past heartbreak. When mysterious fires and disappearances threaten Fox Hollow, Liam fears the killer is hot on his trail. Can he protect the town and his fated mate from the evil hunting him, or will an ex-lover’s betrayal cost Liam everything he loves?
Huntsman is full of sexy shifters, hurt/comfort, second chance love, sincere psychics, hot first responders, found family, and fated mates. Intended for readers 18 years of age or older.
Flashing lights broke Liam out of his gloomy thoughts. The tow truck headed toward him, then did a U-turn and pulled in front of Liam’s car, backing up until it was close enough to hook up the Honda.
The truck driver got out and walked toward Liam, who reluctantly got out of the car. Even though he had called for assistance and it was clear the stranger was a legitimate responder, Liam couldn’t help feeling jittery, with his hands sweating, and heart thumping.
Those reactions doubled when he got a good look at the driver.
Oh, just shoot me now. Fuck my life. Why did he have to be so fine?
In the glare of the truck’s spotlights, Liam made out all the important details. The man had broad shoulders, strong arms, powerful legs, and a solid chest, standing a good five inches or more over Liam’s five-foot-seven frame. Liam had thought he might be saved if the driver was ugly as sin, but he was out of luck. His face was as utterly lickable as the rest of him.
“You called for a tow? Mr. Reynard?”
“I’m Russell Lowe—everyone calls me Russ. I own Lowe’s Auto Shop in Fox Hollow, and tonight I’m your personal tow truck driver,” he said with a broad smile and dimples. The man’s sharp cheekbones, full lips, and strong chin were highlighted by dark brown scruff. Liam’s gaze traveled upward, surprised at gray hair flecked with brown framing a face that couldn’t be older than thirty-five. Green eyes made Liam wonder what kind of shifter Russ might be.
He swallowed hard and might have blushed when he realized Russ seemed to be checking him out too. No matter how attractive his roadside savior might be, Liam’d had enough man trouble to last an eternity, and he sure didn’t need more in a new town.
“Yes, I’m Liam Reynard. Just Liam,” he said, wishing he could conjure up the natural charm that had always served him well in community theater performances. His fox could be quite dramatic. But now, on the run, scared for his life, and in the dark with a stranger in the middle of nowhere, he couldn’t muster his usual flair.
“The engine started making strange noises, and I pulled off. I didn’t want to break anything.” Liam cringed because heknew next to nothing about cars. Admitting that takes points off my “man score,” doesn’t it? Then again, so does being a sports-hating, gay fox shifter twink.
Well, at thirty, I’d thought my twink days were behind me. But when he compared his own shorter, lithe, dancer build to the solid man-mountain in front of him? Yeah, twink still fits.
“I’m glad you stopped the car without waiting for the car to stop you.” Russ finally shifted his attention away from Liam and focused on the Civic. “Let’s get the tow set up, and then you can ride in the cab with me to Fox Hollow.”
I’m a fan of Morgan Brice’s paranormal series and I’ve meandered through several of them. Fox Hollow is new and I was happy to leap onboard.
Liam is a fox shifter who’s got problems. He avoided being killed in his old home but decided he wasn’t going to wait around for the killer to try again. He connects to an old professor who helps to secure a job as head librarian for the Fox Hollow library. On his way into town, his car breaks down.
Russ is a lonely wolf shifter. He lost his husband just a few short years ago in a tragic accident and he hasn’t recovered from the pain. Yes, they hadn’t been fated mates, but he’d loved the man something fierce and is now resigned to living with his brother in their cabin, working as a mechanic, helping out with the town’s fire department, and generally being a nice guy.
The fox shifter meets the wolf shifter and after the lightest of touches, both recognize they’ve met their fated mate. And yes, this is an unusual pairing, but who are they to argue?
Before they can come together, though, the Huntsman comes to town and Liam’s in even more danger than before. So is the town of Fox Hollow.
I liked the stakes in this book. Both Liam and Russ had plenty to gain, but also something to lose. For Russ, it’s his position as grieving widower. If he gets together with Liam, does that mean he doesn’t miss his dead husband so acutely? For Liam, he thought he was in love before and that landed him in a heap of trouble. If he gets together with Russ, can he be sure he won’t be betrayed again?
I enjoyed the book and can see the next one set up nicely. I really enjoyed John Solo’s narration and I can’t wait for the next book.
9/10 Points of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
Where is your favorite place to write?
A: On a nice day, my screened-in porch. Or somewhere I can see the ocean!
When you develop characters do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?
A: It’s a mix. I usually have a pretty good idea about who they are when I start, but they definitely develop over the course of a book and a series, and that’s the fun part. Stuff comes up that I didn’t plan but absolutely love!
Do you aim for a set number of words/pages per day?
A: I shoot for about 10 pages a day, but reality is sometimes more and sometimes less.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
A: Editing! It’s essential, but kinda boring.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
A: Research. It’s where I find the really cool stuff that’s weirder than I could possibly make up.
Do you use images to develop your characters’ looks?
A: Only for cover art. I generally have their descriptions clear in my head.
Do you use your own experiences in your books?
A: Not really—my life isn’t that exciting! I use places I’ve visited all the time, but a lot of details get changed just by nature of fitting the place into the book. The same is true with experiences—if I do use something that happened, it’s short and not important and altered to fit the book.
Do you ever get writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
A: When I can’t move forward, I realize that it’s because I’m not clear on the plot or the next thing that has to happen. So I stop writing and start researching and outlining. That always gets me going again.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
A: Mostly energize—I love what I do!
Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.
On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.
Series include Witchbane, Badlands, Treasure Trail, Kings of the Mountain and Fox Hollow. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!