A Thread of Deepest Black - Finn Marlowe I didn't expect to like this book, but I have to admit I really loved it. Surprise! Ms. Marlowe delivers an engaging enemies to lovers romance novel, with undertones that touch on the effects of loneliness, honor and trust.

The key successful element in this novel - not one, but two equally engaging main characters. Killian Frost is awesome, but wait, so is Colton Decarie. These characters are likeable to the reader and even to each other, something they both find very uncomfortable. They have an honorable respect for one another despite being natural enemies, adding to their attraction. The werewolf / shifter aspect created a primal dynamic that leaves both the reader and characters guessing who the real dominant beast is between them. As a shifter, Colton, is dominant in the world they live, but finds himself reluctantly eager to submit to Killian. Killian must submit to the rules that govern the werewolves, but excels at taking control in the bedroom. The banter between them is lively and manifests physically as well by way of their sparing. Their sex is HOT. So HOT it will leave you panting like a dog.

The aspects of this book that I had expected to lend it silliness - Werewolf / Shifter MC's and BDSM - lent it drive instead. The BDSM element was restrained enough to be pertinent and even enjoyed by this BDSM cringing reviewer. In fact, this is the only m/m romance novel featuring BDSM where I could clearly discern how the BDSM power struggle coincided with the emotional comfort each hero received. This book starts out hot in scene one and keeps the heat up through the end.

The writing is spot on. Not exceptional but commendable. The relationship progression is balanced with the plot. The tempo of the read is paced to keep you engaged, while allowing you to savor the experience of Killian and Colton. If there were any technical flaws they were minor enough for me not to take note.

One distraction I will note is Killian's tendency to be dramatically wordy. I was afraid this would make me annoyed with him, but the trait somehow became endearing in his good, if dryly delivered, humor.

Ms. Marlowe pulls the emotional thread so taut through Killian and Colton's story that when it finally snaps the release is sweetly orgasmic. I give a star to each Killian and Colton, a star for the sheer hot sex factor and the writing and a star for surprising me. Highly recommend.

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