Down Under by Tam Ames (3 Stars)

Sweet romance with a surprising paranormal first for me. The shifter was a were-kanga!

The story is set in the future, when Australia is split into separate areas and people are kept separated by a wall. Aiden Taylor is a sweet college student who is inexperienced but not afraid to try things. He desperately wants to see a band that is playing in the forbidden city of Sydney, and he’s brave enough to travel across the country by himself to do it. One night, several thugs beat him up and steal his moped, money, and concert tickets. Fortunately, Matthew King comes to his rescue and offers him a ride to Sydney. They quickly start to bond over their trip, but there are several obstacles they must get past in order for a real relationship to form. The biggest one is that Matthew is a were-kanga, a man who shifts into a kangaroo.

These are two extremely likable characters who are trying to make the most of a bad situation. Aiden is young and naive, and he definitely needs a caretaker. The story is told from his point of view, and he has a non-stop commentary running through his head which was entertaining. Matthew is almost immediately attracted to Aiden and really enjoys taking care of him. In addition to spending some quality time hanging out together, Matthew introduces Aiden to the joys of sex. It was interesting watching Aiden try to decide if he really loved Matthew or if it was just some sort of mating call.

I thought the ending was very realistic and added a nice solid touch to their happy ending. I think the story would have benefited from Matthew’s point of view. Aiden was a bit too quirky and moody, making it challenging to hear him tell the entire story. There was also a lot going on with Matthew, including coming out to his family, which would have carried a stronger emotional pull if we had heard directly from Matthew. I wish the plot surrounding the were-kanga species was further explored. It was really a non-issue and didn’t have much impact on the story.

A cute romance with very little angst between two sweet guys. The twist on the shifter angle and the enjoyable banter taking place in Aiden’s head made for an interesting tale.

cover

Originally reviewed for The Romance Reviews. Complimentary copy provided by author/publisher for an honest review.

The year 2089 finds Australia split between east and west, with a wall to ensure the east stays safe. College student Aiden Taylor is traveling from Perth to Sydney to see Men at Work, who have been revived after cryogenic freezing. Regrettably, only days into his trip, his moped is stolen—and then he meets a naked man from the east. The man turns out to be Matthew King, who offers Aiden a ride—no strings attached—all the way to Sydney.

When another attack occurs the following night, Aiden discovers Matthew’s impossible secret: he’s a were-kanga. At least that gives them something to talk about when they experience delays at the wall. One thing leads to another, and soon friends with benefits turns into something more. But when the summer is over, Aiden must return to school in Perth. How can he leave Matthew behind?

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