cover image Mate Bond

Mate Bond

Jennifer Ashley. Berkley Sensation, $7.99 mass market (320p) ISBN 978-0-425-26605-2

Bowman and Kenzie are mates in every practical way, but they lack the fabled mate bond, an elusive magical connection that will mark them partners for life. This absence drives the tension in Ashley’s fun, fast-paced seventh Shifters Unbound escapade (after Wild Wolf). Bowman, the North Carolina Shiftertown alpha, and his partner, Kenzie, share a home, a child, and Shiftertown leadership. Both of them desire the crucial mate bond, yet they are afraid to discuss it in that time-honored way of hesitant, uncommunicative romance-novel protagonists. With a strange, terrifying new monster ravaging the area, the pack needs leadership that is beyond reproach—which would include a steadfast, bonded mate for the alpha. The sudden monster attacks threaten the pack’s stability as they strain relations between Bowman and Kenzie. Interesting complications involving Fae enchantments showcase Ashley’s stellar worldbuilding while also propping up a thin premise. The bad guy is really loathsome, and the climactic scenes satisfy. Agent: Bob Mecoy, Bob Mecoy Literary Agency. (Apr.)