I first heard about Axel’s Pup when my Twitter friend Holly mentioned it, rather fittingly, in a tweet about Best Books No One Knows About. I looked it up, saw that it was available via Audible Escape, and downloaded it immediately.

Almost as soon as I finished listening to all 20 hours and 40 minutes, I went back and purchased the Kindle edition of Axel’s Pup and my own copy of the audiobook.

Axel is the leader of the Black Dragons Motorcycle Club and he also owns the Dragon’s Lair pub where he and his friends spend most of their time. The Dragon’s Lair also serves as a BDSM for the queer community.

Needless to say, Axel is surprised when clean-cut young Bayden shows up on an expensive motorcycle. He dismisses the boy as a rich kid. But of course, appearances are deceiving.

Bayden is a wolf shifter, an element that is a part of society, although it is far from accepted by society.

Axel and Bayden’s mutual attraction is almost instantaneous, and in theory they’re well-matched because Axel is a Dom and Bayden is submissive. But their relationship takes time to develop because there are many factors that prevent them from being together. They both need to learn to trust each other and understand the other’s perspective.

Specifically, wolves are treated as second-class citizens. Their wages are lower and their rents are higher. Bayden earns money to support his mother by taking “bets”, either by fighting other men, or by testing his sexual limits.

Axel expects fidelity and exclusivity, but Bayden can’t provide that because he needs to earn money. And simply accepting money from Axel isn’t an option for Bayden; he needs to be independent.

So, the two men are at an impasse. It takes time for Bayden to trust Axel, and realize how different he is from most humans. Likewise, Axel needs to learn more about wolf culture, and how something as asking Bayden to do something seemingly innocuous like riding behind him on his motorcycle in the “bitch seat” is a hard limit for Bayden—not only do they have an age difference to contend with, but they also have a species difference, and Axel needs to learn to think like a wolf if he has any hope of understanding what Bayden needs.  

I’ve mentioned that I listened to the Audible version, but I want to take a moment to share how much I enjoyed Chris Clog’s narration: the Welsh lilt was melodic and held my attention entirely.

I would absolutely recommend Axel’s Pup. I almost never read shifter romances, but this one captivated my interest from the very first pages. Sure, the D/s dynamic is well-done, but I liked the discourse on class dynamics even more. Together, these elements present one of the most unique romances I’ve ever read. I’m looking forward to reading more from Dare in the future—I’ve heard rumors of a sequel for Axel and Bayden, and I can’t wait to read it!  

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