Seth is a small and cute man, 32 years old, at five foot five he looks most a teenager than a full grown man. And he is strange, sometime skittish, sometime cuddling, Seth reacts to the mood of his partner, when he is happy Seth is more than happy when he is sad Seth is more than sad... yes, actually Seth seems very much like a puppy, maybe since he is a werewolf? But Seth is not a normal werewolf, in a wolf pack he would be an omega, but since he is "different" he is a lone wolf, and a wolf without pack is easily a prey. How is it possible that a small man like Seth, who probably is also a small wolf, survived for all these years without the safety of a pack? Seth was always alone, wandering from city to city trying to find the one with less outworld creatures. And the little small town where he moved three months before seemed perfect, and he met also Rafe, six foot six of muscle and an even bigger heart. Rafe is gentle and caring, he has not a bad bone in him, and most of the safety Seth feels near him is due to the fact that no one dares to challenge such a mountain of man. But while they are visiting Washington DC they stumble upon a werewolves pack, and they are not at all scared by a simple human, and it's upon little Seth to protect his Rafe.
I have always had a kink for the story where there is a big physical difference between partners, I don't know if it's actually a theme, like the May / December or the Silver Romance... but Rowan McBride is one of my dealer in this theme. Here the contrast is even more nice, since there is also a disparity in strength, and it's not Rafe that is the strongest in the couple.
Both characters are really wonderful. I like how Seth struggles with himself, how he is easily pleased but the simplest cuddle, since he has never had one in his life; Seth is like a starving man and even a piece of bread is like a banquet for him. He is fiercely bonded with Rafe but at the same time he doesn't believe in a future for them, and so he has never asked, not for love neither for affection, or the simple things like "how old are you?"... Seth is like a stray dog Rafe collected on the street one night, and Seth is waiting for Rafe to be tired of him and to kick him out.
On the other hand Rafe doesn't understand why a clever and pretty man like Seth would be willing to set with an average man like him. And when he discovers the real nature of Seth, it's almost a shock, but in a way, it's also one more proof that Seth doesn't need him, he can take care of himself. Rafe at first doesn't understand that Seth needs a "pack", a family, even if of two, and he needs someone who is willing to play the alpha. Seth can be a man, but he is also a wolf, and his wolf needs the structure of a pack, the pack gives him safety. And Seth needs someone who is not scared or ashamed by his wolf, someone who lets his wolf out and play... yes, sometime Seth behaves like a dog (nuzzling, cuddling, licking), and he needs that.
Lone is a complex novel, not much for the plot, but for the development of the relationship between Seth and Rafe; the tension mounts, and even if I knew that I was leading toward an happy ending, nevertheless I was crying during the ride, and this is only thanks to the two characters (and the author who wrote them).