MATE BOND - Jennifer Ashley
A Shifters Unbound Novel , Book 7
Berkley Sensation
ISBN-13: 978-0-425-26605-2
April 2015
Paranormal Romance

North Carolina, Present Day

Bowman O'Donnell is the alpha of North Carolina Shiftertown, and Kenzie is his wife.  A strong alpha needs an alpha mate, and Kenzie meets all those requirements.  Kenzie and her Uncle Cristian and her grandmother were relocated from Romania to North Carolina, and while Cristian was the alpha of their pack there, Bowman was made alpha here.  To solidify the shifters, Bowman needed to choose a mate, and after being attracted to her right away, he and Kenzie were mated.  However, they don't feel the elusive “mate bond” which happens between two mates chosen by fates to be together forever, mind and body.  After several years, Bowman and Kenzie had Ryan, their son, destined to be the next alpha for their pack.  Despite their unending affection and lust for each other, they haven't had another child, and dare not speak of the mate bond that eludes them.  Then out of nowhere comes a shifter into the local bar who evades description.  It seems to be an amalgam of several types of animals, is huge and has strength beyond anything anyone has seen.  The pack drives the shifter away, but only at the cost of grave injury to Bowman.  Bowman sends Kenzie along with his trackers to find out where the thing went, knowing that as the alpha's wife, she will be in charge and give orders and be the strength the pack needs at this time of uncertainty.

So begins the Shiftertown's journey to find out the origins of the now dead creature.  Is it fae magic from where shifters came from, or some laboratory's messing with the DNA of shifters and merging them together?  And when they find a strange professor, Turner, living out in a trailer close by, saying he is writing a book about shifters, none of them can tell by smell just what he is, but it isn't really a human smell.  Then you add in Gil Ramirez, who told Kenzie he is a police officer interested in solving the case of the attack by the creature, and you get even more trouble.  Gil doesn't smell entirely human, either, but no one can tell exactly what he is.  But it is when Gil tells Kenzie he feels the mate bond with HER, and maybe she does too, and you have a world of trouble in their midst.

A trip by Kenzie to the land of faerie and having Kenzie doubt the connection between her and Bowman will have everyone in Shiftertown fighting and scheming to save their pack.  The future of Shiftertown and their relationship will be put to the test between Kenzie and Bowman, the big question is whether they can protect their relationship and whoever is determined to perhaps kill them all.

Jennifer Ashley has once again brought us a story of the shape shifters and their lives, traditions, and lifestyle.  Bowman was made the alpha of his clan and Kenzie's when her clan was relocated from Romania.  In order to be head of the pack he needed to have a mate, and the only person he wanted was Kenzie.  Kenzie is also an alpha and almost as strong mentally in human or shifter form as Bowman.  The only thing missing between them is the mate bond.  They don't seem to have it, and while they have a son, after years of trying they still feel they are lacking.  Bowman as alpha is strong mentally and physically, and must at all times be ready to find solutions to pack problems.  In Romania her Uncle Cristian would have been the pack alpha, and this always comes between him and Bowman, as Cristian constantly watches Bowman for any weaknesses.

Secondary characters are many, as each pack is very close and devoted to one another.  Uncle Cristian goes from helping to second guessing Bowman's every move, and Turner is not what he seems, a professor writing the definitive paper about shifters in the midst of their territory.  Ryan is Bowman and Kenzie's son, and already asserting the character and brains to be a leader.  Bowman has other trackers and members of his pack and others who aid him in trying to find out who is creating shifter monsters that want to kill them.  Gil Ramirez is perhaps the most intriguing of them all and leads them a merry chase trying to find out where he fits in.

I adore Jennifer Ashley, and MATE BOND is just another of her juicy tales of shifters and their alternate life amongst us.  For a list of her other Shifters Unbound stories, please go to jenniferashley.com .  Each story is pretty much standalone, and are about shifters in several other states, but each is as good as the other.  To see if Bowman and Kenzie can find the maker of the distorted creature that threatens their pack and can come to terms with their lack of a mate bond, grab MATE BOND and immerse yourself in their world.  It's crazy and wonderful at the same time.

Carolyn Crisher