Review: Leading Me Home (Harrington Hills #1) by Megan Linden

Pretending to date the guy he has a crush on? Kevin’s sure he’s heading for a disaster. A broken heart, at least.

Kevin has been a lone wolf almost his entire life and he’s comfortable with that. Now that he no longer works for the guy he hated, Kevin has only one problem—his crush on his neighbor and best friend.

Taylor is the Alpha’s Son, the heir to the Harrington Pack. He left his hometown and moved to San Francisco as a rite of passage, but it was always temporary, since his place is in Harrington Hills with his pack. Now Taylor is heading back home for a wedding and since his mother is threatening to set him up if he comes alone, he needs a date. Asking Kevin to be his pretend boyfriend sounds like a perfect solution.

What happens when they arrive in Harrington Hills and learn to see each other in a different light? With their relationship changing, can they drop the act and realize that what they have is real?

I’ve been on a shifter bender lately and have gotten really lucky with my recent reads. They’ve been great and exactly how I like my shifter stories. Leading Me Home is no exception. When I first discovered MM I read some really stereotypical OTT alpha shifter stories and they all ran together pretty quickly which kind of put me off the whole trope for a long time. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that the whole shifter story theme has gotten so much better and/or I was picking the wrong books. Either way, Leading Me Home was a treat to read. It’s very much a character driven story and those are my favorite.

Leading Me Home is the story of two best friends, both are wolf shifters who live in San Francisco. Taylor is a graphic designer and son of his pack’s Alpha who is in the city, gaining some life experience and independence, but he’s always known he would go back home eventually to assume the Alpha role. Kevin is a lone wolf who is recently unemployed. He’s been on his own since he was a child and he’s pretty OK with that. Living in the city keeps him busy and having Taylor keeps him from being lonely. He’s got a major unrequited love/crush for Taylor and keeps things on the friend level to protect his heart and their friendship.

Taylor has to go home for a wedding and because his family is always nagging him to settle down he convinces a reluctant Kevin to pose as his boyfriend to keep the family off his back and he’s always wanted to show Kevin his home, so what could possibly be the problem? Kevin knows this is going to take a toll on his feels, he agrees, but he’s not overly thrilled with the whole plan.

Because they are best friends, it’s obvious to the rest of the pack that they have a connection, so the ruse is working pretty well. The Alpha and Beta, Taylor’s two moms, approve of Kevin wholeheartedly. This makes Taylor a little nervous, he thinks the inevitable “break up” will end up being too hard on the family and he doesn’t want any eventual blame to fall on Kevin unfairly. As an aside, I liked how the author worked all the pack dynamics into the story organically. I was able to see how everything worked easily as Kevin was introduced around. It was pretty cool they had a female Alpha as well. Add to that she is in a lesbian relationship, it makes sense that the pack as a whole is accepting of an individual’s sexuality, so there was no small town homophobic drama that happens all too often.

As the wedding celebrations and preparations continue, Kevin can see Taylor in his element and how he is meant to become the Alpha one day. He’s not used to having to share Taylor though and even though he’s enjoying his trip more than he expected, he misses his Taylor time. The two are becoming closer, and the line between friendship and more is getting blurry. It makes Kevin nervous and Taylor confused. From this point on were some of my favorite moments. The pack is very visceral and I could totally feel that in the writing of the scenes between Kevin and Taylor. Scent is a huge deal obviously, I mean, wolves after all, and Taylor scenting Kevin was a freakin’ moment I am telling you. This is where Taylor got the first inkling that Kevin may be more than just his best friend and the two of them can’t really deny what their wolves are trying to tell them. So, between the scenting, the dances they shared and the shifting and running through the woods together, I was totally sold on them being together.

All that being said, they still hadn’t really talked about what was happening, leading to inevitable confusion, a smidge of angst and their first argument ever. Thankfully it was all pretty short lived, they communicated to one another and sought advice from their elders. It helped solidify the roles of the secondary characters too, which were already strong, but this fit well for them too. One thing I would have liked was a little more in the beginning showing the two as best friends. I had no doubt they were from what the author told me, but a few strong anecdotes would have gone a long way. The story is told in a dual POV that read very smoothly but I felt like I knew Kevin much better than Taylor. I think a few ‘friend’ moments toward the beginning would have given me a stronger sense of who Taylor was earlier on in the story.

One thing Leading Me Home really nailed hard was the whole concept of “mine” that is always a predominant theme in the shifter world. It can be a hard concept for me to buy into sometimes when it comes before the two MC’s have barely spoken, but some lunar goddess has deemed it so, so they run/bone with it. Leading Me Home doesn’t do that. The thoughts that they both had about possession of one another came along subtly at first and ramped up as they spent more time over the friendship line. It made the whole idea so much easier to buy into. They’ve always carried one another’s scent as they spent so much time together, but when they consciously try to comingle their scents to pass as boyfriends Taylor really started to figure it out. There are no city distractions and the Kevin’s scent comingled with the scent of his pack is the trigger tripper Taylor needs to figure his shit out.
The pack had a particular scent, and Kevin wore is now as well, making Taylor’s wolf very happy. But Kevin’s scent was more than just that and Taylor wondered if he just had to smell his pack on top of Kevin’s smell to suddenly go from best friends to, You smell like mine. You should smell like that all the time.

I’m definitely going to be reading the next in the series. I’m hoping it’s going to be about Deputy Zach and the young carpenter. That sounds delish.

For more information on Leading Me Home, Harrington Hills #1, check it out on Goodreads.

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

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