PRIMAL HEAT – A. C. Arthur
The Shadow Shifters , Book 6
St. Martin's Paperbacks
Virginia, Present Day
For six years Nivea Cannon has been training with the Shadow Shifters as a guard and protector of their species. Shadow Shifters came from the Gungi in South America and are descended from Portuguese people. They are a mixture of jaguars, cheetahs, cougars, white lions and white Bengal tigers who can change into humans. They have lived in the United States for years, living in harmony with humans, and desperately trying to keep Rogue shifters from invading the country and revealing their presence. Nivea's training has been assigned to Eli Preston, and she has quietly lusted for him the entire time. But a group of Rogues and other evil men are creating invincible soldiers by taking the DNA of shifters and making them into killing machines. Nivea was seventeen years old when she left home after years of sexual abuse by her father. He denies his shifter side and made her promise not to tell anyone he was bringing Gungi children into the country and selling them for experiments, or her two sisters will be next to enjoy his attentions.
Eli and his twin brother Ezra have a tragic history in the Gungi. They shared one woman who eventually betrayed them, and they ended up killing her. Eli's other woman was also killed, and Eli and Ezra were sent to a shaman to breathe of the mysterious smoke. Ezra has overcome its effects by finding his mate, but Eli still lives with its aftereffects. Now recently, Eli has been having weird dreams, some seeming to be of the future, some of the past. Nivea has finally broken through his resistance, and their coming together makes him feel much calmer, but he refuses to acknowledge that there is a woman he needs in his life. Plus, he is the main guard for the leader of the Stateside Assembly, Roman Reynolds. They are trying to get to the bottom of who is creating these killer shifters and how to defeat them before they start killing people and creating a panic in the country.
Eli and Nivea are tentatively beginning a relationship, but one Eli constantly tries to ignore is important to him. Then when they meet the warriors that have been developed, they find out Nivea's father could be behind part of the DNA being brought to the country. Nivea learns her father has no compunction at exposing the Shadow Shifters, despite being one of them himself. Who knows what will happen when the leaders of the created warriors decides to have an auction to sell them to the highest bidder? If they are revealed, life as they know it will be in dire jeopardy.
A.C. Arthur has a definite touch with the Shadow Shifters and their alternate society. Told from each of their points of view, Nivea lives each day with the horror of her childhood, but is determined it is not going to stop her from living her life to the fullest, especially if Eli would accept the fact that they are mates. Eli has many nightmares and memories of how he is bad for women and tries to keep Nivea away from his heart. It is only when he accepts his fate that they can come together in love.
There are so many secondary characters; all the Shadow Shifters, including Roman, his mate Kalinda; Ezra, Eli's brother, and Robert Cannon, Nivea's father. There are several men behind the deadly soldiers, including several retired officers in the service. Plus there are no end of Shadow Shifters protecting each other and their leader.
PRIMAL HEAT is the sixth book in The Shadow Shifters series, and it is definitely better to have read at least one or two previous books in the series, but you can still enjoy Nivea and Eli's path to happiness despite the trouble that erupts at the climax.