In a world where all supernatural beings are either dominant or submissive, Shiro Amano doesn’t have many choices. As a submissive, any dominant walking into his bakery can order him around. He hates it. All he wants is to live his life in peace and bake pastries he can spike with emotions far away from obnoxious alphas. Pitch Rhys wants a mate, but he won’t settle for anything but a true mate. As a powerful wolf shifter, he has subs flocking around him, but his true mate is hiding in the kitchen of a bakery and refuses to see him. He can order him to, of course, but since he threatened Pitch with a knife when he allowed his power to leak, he doesn’t think it’s the way to go. Instead, he’s settling to see how many pastries and cups of coffee he can consume in a day. Two years ago, Shiro escaped an abusive relationship, and he’s not looking for a new one, but when word gets out Shiro is an unmated sub, dominants are invading the bakery. Pitch does his best to scare them off so he can woo Shiro at his own pace, but things escalate too fast. Will Pitch be able to get Shiro to trust him before it’s too late? Can he convince him he wants nothing more than to make him happy and keep him safe?
The Bear Claw is part of a series by Holly Day, where each standalone book celebrates a national or international 'Day Of'. The Bear Claw was written to recognise U.S. Be An Angel Day that is held on 22 August each year.
This world was a tough one to live in. Not only, by some supernatural twist of fate, were Submissives completely and totally vulnerable to the will of Dominants, but there were no protections in place for them. Even mating, if they were lucky enough to find a decent Dominant, was no real protection because even though it was more difficult, they could still find themselves at the whim of any strong Dominant.
Shiro had been unfortunate to find the worst of the worst, and was traumatised from his experience. This world was bleak, but one thing that shed a bit of light was the fact that not all Dominants (male and female) were power hungry sadistic jerks. Pitch and Lyra were two that we met in this world that would fall into this category.
What I really enjoyed though was Pitch's growth. The more he learnt about Shiro, the more reflective he became and started to realise that although he'd never been cruel, he may have abused his power more than he thought.
Another thing I loved was that even though it was emphasised many times just how powerful Pitch was, and that Shiro needed Pitch to protect him, it was Shiro who was always in control. Shiro determined how much they would interact or touch. Pitch may push and prod a bit, but he was quick to back off, and it was always Shiro's choice.
Although this book was a bit more difficult to read, simply because of the issues it covers, it was still too easy to be completely immersed in this world with Holly's easy and engaging writing style. The biggest problem I have with Holly's novellas is that I never want them to end, and this one wasn't an exception.
The Bear Claw is certainly worth reading, and the beautiful HEA makes it worth it in the end.
The Bear Claw is available from Amazon in ebook.