The second book in the Shifters Unbound series, published March 2011.
Collared and controlled, Shifters are outcast from humanity, forced to live in Shiftertowns, But waiting, within are passions that no Collar can contain…
As guardian of his clan, Feline Shifter Sean Morissey is a powerful member of his pride. But wielding the sacred sword is often a lonely role. When a female Shifter comes to town seeking refuge, Sean claims the new arrival, expecting a submissive little she-wolf. Instead, he finds a beautiful woman who looks him straight in the eye without fear, stirring the mating frenzy within him.
As a half-Fae, half-Shifter, Andrea Gray is used to looking out for herself. But in order to relocate to a new Shiftertown and escape an unwanted mate-claim, Andrea must accept a new protector. A Guardian seems as good a candidate as any, but Andrea’s intense attraction to Sean is something she never expected – and a perilous complication for a woman with a troubled past.
Now, as Andrea struggles to keep her seductive savior at arm’s length, Sean is determined to turn their mating of convenience into the real thing before the frenzy they’re struggling to contain burns them both – from the inside out …
Her whole life, Andrea has been told she is worthless, only good for breeding. As a half-Fae, half-Shifter, she is at the bottom of the pack. It was the Fae who created the Shifters many centuries ago, and treated them as cattle until they fought them back into Faery. So as a half-Fae, the other shifters look down on her. And especially as she doesn’t behave like a good submissive little wolf should behave. Her stepfather also hasn’t much standing with the pack, so he cannot protect her from her unwanted suitor. The whole pack thinks she should accept his mate claim, even though he is an abusive and cruel man, it will be the best thing that could happen to her. But Andrea keeps refusing, and now he is stalking her, hurting her.
The only solution to get out of this town, is to move in with her aunt Glory, but for that, she must be accepted in that pack first, and have another male claim her, sight unseen.
Sean is the Guardian of his Shiftertown, which has been ruled by his father Dylan for many decades, and now by his brother Liam. His job is to free the soles of dead Shifters, by stabbing them with his sword, and sent them on to the Summerland. It is a lonely job, and a hard one, always having the need to protect the sword, and even to have to use it on his own family and friends. So Sean leaps at the chance to claim a mate. And he also doesn’t mind doing a favor to Glory, their neighbour and his fathers girlfriend. Even though he is a Feline, and Andrea and Glory are Lupine shifters.
When Sean and Glory meet Andrea at the busstation (Shifters aren’t allowed on plains), he is lost. She boldly meets his eyes, something not many Shifters are able to do. He wants Andrea for his life mate for real, and not just to protect her. But Sean also knows he has to give her time, to get over her ordeal, and get used to him and life in their Shiftertown, where things are very differently. He gets her a parttime job as a waitress in the café his brother runs, so he can keep an eye on her during her shifts.
What Andrea doesn’t know, is that he also keeps an eye on her while she sleeps. His bedrooms looks out on hers, and when she is getting nightmares, he knows. The only way to keep them away, is with his arms around her. Just holding her calms his animal, but the mating frenzy is getting harder to resist.
Then a few humans drive up to the bar one night, and start shooting. Luckily no one gets wounded, except for the bouncer, a huge Kodiak bear. Andrea has a healing gift, something she has kept a secret all of her life, but she uses it to help Ronan heal. Sean is surprised he didn’t know that she has a gift of healing, but he understands her reasons for keeping it secret in her old Shiftertown. But now he has to tell his father and brother about it.
More violence is happening across town, at establishments were Shifters are welcome. And Sean is called upon to bring his sword. One of his cousins is dying, and his services are needed. Andrea goes with him, and with the help of Sean and her connection to his sword, she is able to heal Ely. When Glory and Andrea go shopping the next day, they are no longer welcome at Glories favourite ice cream parlor. The owner is afraid of his shop being shot up, like those other businesses. The police are not looking very hard for the culprits, or the reasons behind it, so it is up to the Shifters themselves to find out.
In the meanwhile, Andrea’s real father, a Fae, is trying to contact her. He wants her to bring him the sword of the Guardian, without telling her why. He just expects her to be glad he is her father and obey him. Well, he really doesn’t know Andrea. Sean is not happy about this, he wants her to have nothing to do with the Fae, but Andrea wants to find out who she is. She knows her Shifter half, now she wants to know about her Fae heritage.
I loved this book. I loved Andrea and Sean, together and apart, they are great characters. Andrea doesn’t let anyone rule her life, and Sean better get used to her indepence. Even though she accepts the mate bond between them, she will not be submissive to him or anyone else. Sean had to face some hard losses in his long life, and doesn’t really want to risk his heart anymore. But Andrea has him wrapped around her little fingers, and he is done for. She accepts his job as a Guardian, and helps him with it. Andrea and Sean tease each other, like with the underwear scenes, which were great. The love scenes are smoking hot.
Glory issues an ultimatum to Dylan: all or nothing, and in the end, it does work out. Of which I am very glad, as I enjoy reading Gloria.
I love Jennifer Ashley’s writing style, her humor, her passion. Her books are not predictable at all. I love the world she has created with those shifter books. And I enjoyed this one much, much more than the first in the series, so I really cannot wait for the next one, but will have to. Jennifer Ashley is for me an autobuy-author.
Favourite scene: where Andrea pulls out the handcuffs. Never saw that coming! Laughed out loud.
I heartily recommend this series to anyone.