The Book Tart's Reviews > Hard Mated

Hard Mated by Jennifer Ashley
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's review
Aug 25, 12

really liked it
Read in August, 2012

originally posted

I read Jennifer Ashley's short story Hard Matedthe day it came out. I really adore her Shifter's Unbound series and this was a delicious treat to help tide me over until the next full length novel Mate Claimed comes out October 2nd. *happy dance*

In Jennifer's Shifter's Unbound world building the shifters have "come out" to the humans and live separated from the population in special enclaves, or reservations. They are forced to wear collars that are meant to keep their violence in check. The hero of Hard Mated is Spike (side note, lol I LOVE that name, I'm a Buffy and Spike fan) ok, back on track... Spike is a jaguar shifter and the holds the title of Tracker for the Austin Pack. He likes to blow off steam by fighting in the Shifter Fight Club. After a successful bout with a bear shifter a human woman brings him a water bottle and introduces herself. He thinks she's very brave and attractive and is stunned when Myka asks him to come to the hospital with her because a woman he'd had a one night stand with five years ago wants to see him. The woman, Jillian, is dying from cancer but she wanted him to know they had a child. Spike is in shock. He's dealing with the grief from the knowledge that the beautiful, vibrant woman he'd known is at death's door and the joy that he has a cub. I loved his reaction to his son Jordan. He's awed and humbled that the beautiful little child is his to care for. Now he has something is his life besides his work. He takes Jordan to Shiftertown to his home with his grandmother.

Myka is dealing with the loss of her friend Jillian and wants to honor her wishes by letting Jordan go off with his father. But she has concerns. I liked Myka! She is a survivor. She was beaten by her stepfather as a child and has worked hard to overcome her past. She is self employed and does what she loves, training horses. I liked her courage and big heart :) So she goes to Shiftertown to check up on Spike and Jordan. It's a good thing she did, Spike was going to call her and ask for her help. He even says please! He's in a bind. His Alpha, Liam, has asked him to investigate a threat to their pack, but for the first time in his life his he has another priority, his cub. *sigh* A hot guy caring for a child is extremely attractive.

The chemistry between Myka and Spike feels very real. But what got to me even more was all the heart with the heat. There is a LOT of emotion packed into this short story. I nearly cried a few times... Spike is a survivor like Myka. They both have overcome painful pasts. It broke my heart that Spike felt, rightly so, that most people just viewed him as a weapon and a thug, they don't see his heart and the caretaker underneath the fighting exterior. I was swept up into his and Myka's adventures as their relationship develops and the threat to his pack is uncovered. I know you will fall in love with him and Myka just like I did.

If you have missed the Shifter's Unbound series I feel like this $0.99 novella would be a good introduction to the series and then you will be addicted too :p I'm a book pimp and I'm proud to recommend Hard Mated.

(((hugs))) Kat

The Queen of Tarts

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