We’re still covering Paul’s early adventures, including this one: Wolf Moon, part of the “Harlequin Intrigue” line from 2007, part of the “McKenna Legacy” sub-series, written by Patricia Moore but copyrighted, sotto voce, to Patricia Pinianski.

Paul looks a trifle worried on the cover, and there are two possible reasons for that: first, he’s got all those clothes on, and second, he’s the scion of the reclusive, mysterious Lindgren clan in remote Wolf Creek up in snowbound Wisconsin, where locals have been turning up dead, apparently savaged by a large dog-like creature. The Lindgrens are natural objects of suspicion (it’s just Paul and his creepy-intense father in that opulent cabin with its gazillion books and panoramic views), and as if that weren’t bad enough, into the mix comes one of the aforementioned McKennas – and this one’s a gorgeous woman!

Aileen McKenna has come to study wolves in the wild, and she runs afoul of Paul as quick as you can say ‘handsome, enigmatic stranger.’ Paul is trying to be nice, lord knows, but even this early in our investigations we’ve come to see that he’s easily misunderstood – he’s always pouting and smoldering, after all, when in so many situations a smile and a firm handshake would work wonders instead.

The problem is, Paul’s just as protective of the wolf-pack that lives in the area as Aileen is, but at first he thinks she has ulterior motives, and she thinks he’s hiding something. She doesn’t have ulterior motives – she’s up there solely to study the wolves, certain that they’re innocent of any citizen-maulings. But he does indeed have something to hide – this is a romance novel, after all! – not that you’ll need to qualify for MENSA to guess what that something is. Let’s just say he’ll provide Aileen with the perfect opportunity to mix business with pleasure.

But first they have to get to know each other! This involves many hikes into the deep dark woods, and it offers Paul plenty of opportunities to display handy shop-class skills one suspects many of his fellow male models sorely lack, such as the fashioning of a walking staff:

Rhys [that’s Paul!] quickly stripped the branch of any offshoots. Fascinated, Aileen watched him work.

His hands were sure, as if he’d done this hundreds of times. She could imagine those hands working on her, stripping off her clothes, smoothing her skin …

Rhys glanced up and heat seared her cheeks.

“You certainly took to the outdoors,” she said, trying to cover. “Your father was a good teacher.”

“That he was. He taught me everything I know. He didn’t just teach me to be self-sufficient. Actually, he used to be a college professor. Psychobiology,” he added, “studying the interactions between biology and behavior. Father made sure I was properly educated.”

“You didn’t go off to school?”

“Didn’t need to. Everything I needed to learn is in our library. Literature. History. Sciences. Everything. My knowledge is equivalent to an advanced degree.”

He’s so earnest in his social maladjustment that we almost don’t want to break the news to him about ‘psychobiology’ … and as you can see, the sparks are already flying between these two! Paul’s adventures might have only just begun, but he’s already well adept at super-heating nearby women like some kind of roving microwave oven.

Wolf Moon picks up pace and tension almost from the first page, and unlike the vast majority of romance novels out there, it has a long and raucous action-sequence as its climax (not that kind of action, and not that kind of climax, you filthy little things!). Paul might not really have the equivalent of an “advanced degree” from all those hours spent loitering in his father’s library, but when the chips are down and the book’s delightfully over-the-top villain makes his big appearance, our hero steps up with distinctly less cerebral talents.

But even so – all those clothes! Paul must have wondered if he’d ever get a chance to breathe free! Will things be any better next time? Tune in and find out!

© 2007-2017, Steve Donoghue