Joely Skye's shapeshifter are not the usual strong men and women of the paranormal romances, more often than not they are renegade shapeshifters, with a troubled past and with a lot of behavioral issues.
In Feral we have two example of them; Ethan is a shapeshifter cougar and one of the last of his breed. Ethan's past is not so clear, from clue here and there, we can understand that he lost his mother when he was still a child and managed to become an adult living more or less on the streets. Apparently Ethan was a cute boy and sought the help of older man, he bartered his body for a warm meal and a place where to stay; Ethan was wise even then, and he only chose nice men, who didn't treat him. At some point, it's not clear how and when, he began a relationship with a female werewolf, even her older than Ethan, a former friend of his long lost mother. Actually I didn't understand if it was a sexual relationship or not, but for sure it was a close bond, and Lila, the woman, was killed by her pack for this reason, and that same pack tortured Ethan before he managed to escape. After that traumatic experience, Ethan chose his animal side and now it's 8 years that he is prowling the woods as a cougar.
He is not bothering noone, but Doug, an Alpha male of a wolf pack has some hidden reasons (also them not quite clear), to hunt down and capture "feral" shifters. Ethan is his last prey and he manages to take him captive with the help of Bram. Bram is a werewolf of the same pack that previously tortured Ethan, but he was only a 16 years old boy back then, and an outcast himself. He doesn't agree with his Alpha's idea, but Bram is an omega inside the pack and so the last who can say something in the matter. Plus Bram is gay, and he has not a mate: the Alpha Male, Doug, uses him like a boy toy, and Bram's quite submissive nature let him doing so.
They are an odd couple these two: Ethan a lonely man for nature, who thinks at sex more like barter money than something connected to feelings, and Bram, an animal pack till his core, who sees sex like the only moment when he is allowed to feel something. It will be not simple for them to connect on a common ground, and I don't feel like Bram will overcome all his inner issues... or maybe he has nothing to overcome since being a submissive is his true nature. Anyway, Ethan doesn't want and will not take on the role of Alpha for Bram, he will only allow Bram to be his fellow companion during the path.
The story is part of a common universe, but it's not strictly connected to the other books, you can read it as a stand-alone book without problem. The author writes M/M romance in this universe with the name of Joely Skye, and het romance with the name of Jorrie Spencer. Most of the supporting characters in the book are previously appeared in other books, and so if the reader questions about them, he can probably find some answers reading the previous novels, but still I have the feeling that both Ethan than Bram's past was not fully developed or explained. Great part of Ethan and Bram's problems are legacy of their upbringing and so I wouldn't have minded to have a bit more of an insight on it.
The nice aspect of the book is that it's quite "touchy" feeling, there is a lot of nuzzling and cuddling, and hugs and comfort... it allows the reader to "feel" the characters, above all to feel their fragility.