Rating: 4.25 stars
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Dayton Whitmore is in Atlanta visiting the doctor when he agrees to stop by the home of his best friend’s brother to check on him. Hart Sherman is a liger shifter (part tiger, part lion) who has been banished from his pride, basically because his mixed breed size makes him a threat to his father, the alpha. Dayton has always felt awkward around Hart. Not only is Hart huge and intimidating, he seems not to like Dayton much. But Dayton agrees for Tawny’s sake and stops by Hart’s apartment.
There he finds himself surprised when Hart is very interested in Dayton. It turns out that Hart has known all along that Dayton is his mate, but had been avoiding him because after being kicked out of his pride, he wanted time to establish himself and his career before trying to make a partnership with Dayton. Now with Dayton at his doorstep, Hart wants nothing more than to claim him immediately. But although he is a human, Dayton has grown up around the pride, and he understands exactly what mating with a shifter would entail. He is attracted to Hart and really likes him, but wants to take things slowly and build a real relationship with Hart first. But as Hart begins to connect with Dayton, others start to see him as a threat and he must find a way to protect himself and his mate.
You guys probably know I am a huge fan of Dennison’s Triad series that combines shifters, magic, demons, vampires, and the like. So I was really excited to check out this story featuring a huge and hulking liger shifter and his human mate. Dennison has a way with creating really interesting plots and worlds that go beyond the usual paranormals, and I think she succeeded in doing that again with this story. First, I loved that despite the mating bond and Hart’s desire to just jump into things now that Dayton is back in his life, Dayton is a little more rational. He has always been attracted to Hart, but despite being drawn to the shifter, he isn’t prepared to immediately become his mate after all this time. I really appreciated that despite the fated mates situation, Dayton takes the time to build a relationship with Hart before he agrees to mate him. And that although Hart isn’t thrilled about it, he supports Dayton and doesn’t pressure him.
I also found the set up interesting, with Dayton as a human who is almost family with the pride. He and Tawny have been best friends forever and he knows and interacts with the lion shifters regularly. Add to that Hart as a mixed breed, the product of a night in heat between his lion father and tiger mother. His mother abandoned him and his father banished him as a threat, so he is left all alone. So here we have a human who is enmeshed with the pride, but the shifter who is on the outside. Again, I think Dennison does a nice job here putting interesting spins on the usual paranormal trope.
My only real negative here is that there were a lot of elements in a short novel and as a result, I think some things weren’t as fully developed as they could have been. For example, I would have loved more detail on Dayton’s experience being a human so involved in a shifter world. Or about Hart’s banishment and how he has managed without his pride. Or what has been going on (and why) with the pride that has caused its downhill slide. I think more time spent on these elements would have really helped flesh out the story. I would have loved more of these details rather than the side plots with the pop stars Hart works with, for example, that I am not sure added as much.
But overall I really liked this one. It is light and sweet and fun, low on the angst, and with a really interesting set up. I continue to love Dennison’s writing and look forward to more from her.
P.S. Poppy will be here tomorrow with a great guest post and will be giving away a copy of the book. So be sure to stop back by!