Book Review: Pride Mates by Jennifer Ashley

Wolves, leopards, and bears, oh, my.

Whatever you want to call them, shape-shifters are hot. Between Kenyon’s broody Were-Hunters, Singh’s predatory Changelings, and Brigg’s possessive werewolves, I thought I’d read all the shape-shifter scenarios. Silly me.

Enter Jennifer Ashley and her Shifters Unbound series.

Book one in the series, Pride Mates, isn’t the flashiest book on the shelf. The background is gray and black, the words plain white. The overall image is very subdued. Kind of like a shape-shifter hiding in the trees...you don’t really know it’s there until you see the teeth. And Pride Mates definitely has teeth. Ms. Ashley has created an interesting world where ‘Shifters’ are treated little better than captured and collared animals. The prejudice against them as a race is reminiscent of our own culture in the volatile 1960’s, and just as distasteful.

The heroine, Kim Fraser, is a young junior lawyer in a prestigious law firm. When she’s assigned to defend a shifter-male charged with murdering his human girlfriend, her investigation takes her deeper into the Shifter world than is safe for a mere human.

In her first venture into Shiftertown, Kim meets Liam Morrissey, a strong Fae-cat with a soft Irish lilt, and a protective streak as wide as they come. Liam is intrigued by Kim and her determination to get to the truth in a case everyone else sees as open and shut. Knowing she treads dangerous ground in her efforts to prove a Shifter innocent, he marks her with his scent to protect her from others of his kind. The move backfires, placing Kim in the greatest danger of her life, and making it impossible for Liam to do anything but claim her as his mate.

The attraction Kim feels for Liam seems to grow by leaps and bounds, but being with him, especially accepting him as her mate, could brand her as a ‘shifter-whore’, endangering her job and the career she has worked so hard for. Yet she longs to be part of a family again, and Liam’s close-knit family tempts Kim almost as much as Liam himself. She just isn’t sure if his desire for her stems from love, or his animal instincts.

Teeth and claws, hot kisses and hotter bodies, Pride Mates has it all and Ms. Ashley does a wonderful job of drawing you into the world of her Shifters. I invite you to take a walk on 'the other side of the tracks’ and hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. I look forward to Ms. Ashley’s next adventure in the world of Shifters Unbound.

Question of the week:  What's your favorite shape-shifter book?