Reviewed by Morgan
Title: Altered Heart
Author: Kate Steele
Series: Mated Heart and Soul #1
Heroes: Mick Matranga/Rio Hardin
Genre: MM Paranormal
Length: 220 Pages
Publisher: Loose Id
Release Date: January 21, 2009
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: As a werewolf and an enforcer for the Committee for Supernatural Behavioral Enforcement, Mick Matranga has seen his share of lowlifes, but Kevin Sutter, pack alpha, is one of the lowest. He has forcibly turned and taken prisoner a young human. Mick has been assigned to affect a rescue and bring Sutter to justice.
Dispatching the bad guy turns out to be the easy part of his assignment. Sutter’s prisoner, Rio Hardin, turns out to be a smart-mouthed, sassy brat with the face of an angel who takes Mick’s heart by storm. He’s also a runaway turned hustler who has suffered numerous abuses in the course of his tumultuous life.
Bound by his code of honor and determined that Rio be protected at all costs, Mick makes it his personal duty to see to it that no one hurts Rio again. If that includes ignoring the instinctual knowledge that Rio is his mate and Rio’s own desire to be with him, so be it.
There’s only one flaw in his plan. Rio is about to go through his first shift, a very painful process which can only be made tolerable by applying a certain amount of distraction–sexual distraction. Mick has two choices. He can leave Rio in the hands of his very capable brother or he can give in to the mutual heat and need between them and indoctrinate his young charge into the ways of the werewolf.
Review: I recently re-read this book, as the sequel is finally here for us to enjoy – yay! – and I enjoyed it again on the second time through as much as the first time.
Rio is a runaway rent boy, escaping an abusive home by turning tricks at the age of 16. It’s been two years since he’s been on his own and though it isn’t great, he hasn’t yet seen how bad it can be. Now, at 18, he turns a trick that ends up changing his life forever. He’s bitten by a mad werewolf and turned into a sex slave and tortured for the next several months of his life.
Mick is part of an inter-species council that acts as judge and sometimes jury for paranormals who violate the law. He’s called out to enforce warrants and sometimes mete out fatal justice. In this case, he’s called out to hunt the evil alpha werewolf who has abducted Rio.
After freeing Rio from his prison, Mick and Rio begin a relationship that is both frustrating, confusing, sexually arousing and maddening. Neither is sure where they stand with the other, but they can’t deny the attraction between them.
This is such a good book! There are a lot of “difficult” things to read – Rio was treated very badly at home and with the evil alpha – but his spirit is so strong that he is able to overcome things relatively (maybe too?) easily.
Mick is a grumpy, yet good guy and a good pairing for Rio. He has some good friends and family and together they all give Rio the support he needs.
I really liked the world building and the way the relationship – though readily identified as a fated mate one – was a slow burn. When they finally act upon it, the attraction turns to some hot smexy times and some sweet and tender feels, too.
They were a very sweet couple and I’m looking forward to seeing more of them in book 2.
4.25 of 5 stars
Overall Impression: I really liked it
*I purchased my own, personal copy of this book for review.*