Genre: paranormal romance
Collared and controlled, Shifters are outcast from humanity, forced to live in Shiftertowns. But waiting within are passions that no Collar can contain…
As a wildcat Shifter and leader of his Shiftertown, Eric Warden knows his own kind. When he sees Iona Duncan, he realizes that although she appears human, she is a half-Shifter wildcat living without a Collar – and that if she doesn’t acknowledge her true nature and her mating hunger, it may kill her.
Iona finds the mysterious and powerful Eric alluring, even though she has vowed never to reveal her Shifter side, lest her mother pay the price for hiding her all these years. But her mating hunger is rising, and with Eric so close, she may not be able to resist … and her desire may lead to the very doom they are fighting to prevent…
I devoured this book in just a few hours. I read a short story last month, so I had no trouble at all revisiting this amazing world Jennifer Ashley has created. Shifters were made by the Fae, to fight for them, controlled by magical collars, which give them pain when they fight without permission. Nowadays, the Shifters are free of the Fae they fought, but when humans found out about them, they put them in Shiftertowns, and forbade them the use of the latest technology. But Shifters are not stupid, they choose to go to the Shiftertowns and be more civilized, as they were dying out as a race. To much fighting amongst themselves, and other clans, females stolen, cubs killed. Now they protect each other, have ceremonies and laws themselves, and the families are thriving. Longer lived than humans, they get around the restrictions laid upon them.
Shifters also sometimes fall in love with humans, and their children can be Shifters as well. Iona Duncan is one of those. She has kept her Shifter part hidden all her life, but lately her animal is getting more and more difficult to control. She needs to run, to eat, to mate. Eric Warden knows what she is, and he wants her as his mate. But he needs to go gentle with her, as Iona is not ready or willing to give up her normal human life. Still, time is getting short for her to learn about her other half, and the customs of Shifters.
Eric is having a difficult time. He wants to focus on Iona, bringing her into his Shiftertown without a fuss, and without endangering Iona and her mother for keeping her secret all those years. But the government has decided to close the second Shiftertown in the state, and have all those almost feral wolves join his Las Vegas Shiftertown. Before the new houses are build. And of course, Graham, the wolf Shifter leader, is not happy that he will be second or even lower under Eric. He will do whatever he can to fight him and win the dominance challenge, and take over Eric’s Shiftertown. Eric is a progressive leader, while Graham is very old fashioned. Giving females the choice to pick their own mate would be revoked. So Eric has to keep a close watch on the new wolves, and their leader.
And then there is the strange compound in the desert. Fenced and guarded, but the buildings seem empty. Still, it is in Eric’s territory, and he wants to know what it is all about. And when some of the new wolf Shifters never make it to Shiftertown, he knows just where to start the search.
I very much enjoyed this new book in the Shifter series. I liked Iona, she defied Eric for as long as she could, not wanting to give up her life just to be with him. But she had to learn the rules of the Shifter world, and fast. Especially when both Eric and Graham mate claim her, and are going to fight it out who will be her mate. Still, she does have the right to refuse the winner’s claim, but that will only make her fair game to the rest of the Shifters. Eric has already had a mate, 30 years ago, and a cub, so he knows he should give other Shifters a chance to mate claim her, but the thought of someone else touching her, is just not to bear. He wants her for himself. Luckily, his family is supporting him in his claim, they like Iona, and they want Eric to be happy again, and not so lonely. Being the Shiftertown leader is not easy.
Eric and his sister are old, originally from Scotland, but they came to America after the Second World War, where they fought alongside the humans. Shifters were great at covert sabotage and leaving without a trace. He has a grown son, Jace, but of course still sees him as his cub. Jace is getting more and more mature though, making his own decisions, and Eric has to come to terms with that as well. He cannot protect him forever.
I liked learning more about Shifter lore, alongside with Iona. When she accepted Eric in her life, and as her mate, she sure became a kick ass Shifter, and I like that in a female. Not backing down from a challenge, even impressing Graham, who detests felines, and females.
There are some other romance threads in here as well, and I enjoyed reading about them. Iona never knew her father, he disappeared before her mother could tell him she was pregnant. The Guardian network quickly finds him though, and Eric brings him over for their second mating ceremony, under the full moon.
Jennifer Ashley managed to surprise me a few times, by not doing what I expected her to do, and to keep the story fresh and original, and utterly captivating. I am really looking forward to the next books. I love her writing style, her sense of humor, her strong characters. I really wish I could be a part of this world. Changes are coming, and I want to know what will happen in the future.
© 2012 Reviews by Aurian