Mating Instinct
Grade : A-

I was not expecting to like this book (I know, I know – the clichéd intro). Let me be a little more truthful: I was expecting to hate this book. You see, when it comes to romance novels, I have a marked preference for historicals. Historicals have what to me is the basis of true romance: Passion and love displayed within specified rules based on society and decorum. Give me your Regencies, your American Westerns, even your bodice rippers - as long as everyone stays in the same human form and century.

My point is that I like basics and I consider paranormal and time traveling genres to be very complicated. Before I alienate half of you, let me explain my reasoning: I feel that romance should be something between two people that is strong enough to be felt by the reader, and the whole shape-shifter/living in a different time tends to distract me from the main love story. It is hard enough making a relationship work with regular sort of problems let alone paranormal/time traveling ones. The point is, my dislike is based on my own issues and has nothing to do with a certain time traveling novel that scarred me at the tender age of thirteen (cough, JUDE cough, DEVERAUX).

However, I digress. As stated earlier, I approached this book cautiously. I had not read anything by this author before, but I had read Sookie Stackhouse novels and I figured this book would be a rip-off of those. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered that I could not put this book down. I was even more surprised when I found myself thinking about pieces that stuck with me long after I had finished reading them. I even got the butterflies in my stomach that I only get while re-reading some of my most favorite love stories (this is my indicator of a superb romance, I literally “go with my gut” when judging a romance) While it definitely has Stackhouse tones, the story stands on its own two feet. Let me be clear that I am not saying that this was a good book for a paranormal genre; it was an excellent romance read. period.

In this book Kat and Jayce, who were introduced earlier in Reus’ Moon Shifter novels, are reunited. From what I gathered in the beginning, they were at one time a couple but had parted ways, and their separation had not been amicable. Already off to a good start in my opinion, since who doesn’t love a reunion between two former lovers?

Fast forward nine months later (yes, nine months, it appears that Reus randomly selected that amount of time since Kat was not pregnant) and Kat is still struggling to regain her confidence after leaving Jayce. She initiated the breakup since Jayce lied to her about the process of becoming of shifter. She felt inadequate and used since Jayce never intended to make her his mate for life.

The story begins with Jayce roaring back into town on his motorcycle. His initial cause for returning to the Armstrong pack is due to his role as an enforcer, which is basically an elite police officer for the shifter world. Tensions are high between the supernatural creatures and the humans in the areas, caused by a series of attacks on the shifters by a vigilante group determined to rid the world of their kind. Kat was a victim of the group's torture, and as a result she was turned into a shifter to survive. Jayce had been called back to town to help monitor the situation of the anti-shifter group, however his main goal is to make is help Kat, while simultaneously trying to win her back.

Since their separation, Kat has been dealing with the significant changes that accompany life as a shifter and being part of a pack for the first time. She is also dealing with the fact that the man she loves wasn’t there when she needed him the most. Jayce is struggling with that same issue and it makes him determined not to lose Kat a second time. From here, the two journey through passion, forgiveness, trust, and love - all while battling the resurgence of the vigilante group. Aside from constant references to their “inner wolves,” the story was a completely enjoyable and poignant read.

I loved Kat. She was the strong female lead that was never overshadowed by Jayce’s blatant masculinity. Kat was strong; both emotionally and physically, yet still remained feminine. She was the perfect counter to Jayce’s character. You couldn’t help but like her and you understood why Jayce did, too.

Jayce was a little more of your standard hero: The rough, brawny warrior with a very dark past but a severe weakness when it comes to Kat. But Jayce had an edge to him, mostly demonstrated through his possessiveness.

My one issue with this book was the ending - it felt very “ready-made” family. Kat and Jayce made a choice that realistically, I don’t think either was ready for. They had just decided to be together forever after a year and a half of agonizing, emotional turmoil, then added additional responsibility on top of that. Why couldn’t they have taken some time to discover themselves as a bonded couple?

Although, here I am harping on “reality” when the story deals with people that shift into wolves…anyway, I loved the book.

Reviewed by Lauren Onorato
Grade : A-

Sensuality: Hot

Review Date : April 10, 2013

Publication Date: 2013/03

Review Tags: shifter romance

Recent Comments …

  1. What kept me reading was the sheer unpredictability of the storyline. I knew David’s and Chelsea’s paths would cross again…

Lauren Onorato

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