cover image Primal Bonds

Primal Bonds

Jennifer Ashley, Berkley Sensation, $7.99 mass market (320p) ISBN 978-0-425-24078-6

Ashley, who writes urban fantasy as Allyson James, follows her 2010 paranormal romance, Pride Mates, with another sexually charged and imaginative tale. Humans force shape-shifters to live in shantytowns and wear fae-made magical collars that keep them from using their animal powers. Half-fae, half-lupine shifter Andrea Gray, fleeing a forced mate-claim in her hometown, heads to the Shiftertown in Austin, Tex., where she gets protection from a mate-claim in name only with feline shifter Sean Morrissey. In a twist on the pretend marriage trope, the contract gives decidedly nonsubmissive Andrea and alpha male Sean license to explore their burning passion in electrifying detail. Andrea's mysterious, surprising background and special abilities enhance the plot, as do the interesting supporting characters. Occasional clunky backstory dumps will help new readers grasp the many story line intricacies, and returning fans will love the quick pace and smart, skilled writing. (Mar.)