Born to be enemies. Destined to be lovers.
After killing one of her father’s enforcers, half-blood lion shifter Jillian Winters ran for her life, landing in an upscale bar halfway across the country. Her boss, Carrick—a pure-blood shifter—has no idea his barmaid is a fugitive.
When her father’s recklessness puts the Pride at risk, Jillian must return home and assume his place as Alpha. But not before she indulges in a taste of the attraction that’s been building for years between her and Carrick.
Carrick Granger has had a soft spot for Jillian from the moment she stepped into his bar, soaking wet and afraid of her own shadow. He knows she has secrets. So does he. He’s also the outcast son of an Alpha—and now that his father is dead, he, too, has been summoned home.
Thinking they’ll never see each other again, the simmering heat between them ignites like a match to gunpowder. But then the bullets start flying, forcing them to choose—duty to their Prides, or the one person they can’t live without.
Warning: This book contains deception, lies, betrayal, a sexy lion who is determined to claim his mate, and a mating bond that will change the landscape of the Prides forever.
Source: ARC from the author
Lion shifters, magic, alpha males, even stronger females, Pride politics, interspecies prejudices, a forbidden romance, a few death threats here and there, and a mating bond that threatens to burn it all down. Welcome to the Soul’s Harbor Pride series.
At first glance Jillian seems an unimpressive kind of girl. She sneaks about and has clearly been hiding for some time, she seems a little timid and almost afraid – until she gets her hands on Carrick, anyway. Then the real Jillian starts to come out. I really liked her. She’s strong and powerful, yet her psychotic father saw to it that her childhood turned her biggest strengths into her greatest weaknesses. She’s learnt to be more afraid of herself and her potential power than anyone else. Yet when she’s called home she goes, and when she has to choose between her own happiness and the lives of a bunch of ingrates who mostly couldn’t care if she died a horrible death, she still wants to save them. And she’s kickass when she needs to be. Oh, and a mythical black lion. Of course I liked her.
And then there’s Carrick. Oh, Carrick. Alpha to the max, deeply secretive and rather possessive, yet he doesn’t want to claim Jillian and keep her his alone, he offers her support and acceptance and a challenge. A real partnership. I loved him. In fact I found most of the men in this book compelling – more so than the women, sadly. I really liked Lucas, Carrick’s brother, and manipulative Quinn intrigued me from the start, even if I couldn’t decide whether to love or loathe him most of the time. I also really liked Jillian’s friends, Gareth and Abbey, and look forward to finding out more about what’s going on between them.
The plot too is intriguing, with the two prides on the island being so clearly divided between the pure and the half-bloods and the need to bring them all together. There’s plenty of outside pressures and prejudices stirring up trouble, not to mention Jillian’s unstable father and his malignant influence on the pride. Add in the Claiming idea, where the unmated dominant males and females are essentially trapped together in an underground bunker for a handful of days to “encourage” them to pair up, and there’s certainly plenty going on here to keep readers entertained.
However, as interesting as it is and as good as I found the characters, I was also left wondering about the magic. Most of Jillian’s pride are half-breeds, mixing witches, vampires and even fae with the shifters, and I wanted to know more about this magic – especially Jillian’s. Since most magic is suppressed while they’re underground, it doesn’t really have a part to play in this book and I was a tiny bit disappointed about that. I hope future books will go into that in more detail – not least because I want to know more about the paranormal aspects of this world, beyond the backwards traditions of the shifters. I was also a bit worried about some of the lion details – like lioness-Jillian licking Carrick’s thigh without taking off several layers of skin, and where were the manes? I need to know about the manes!
In all, though, I liked this one. The world is interesting with plenty of potential for more exploration, the characters are intriguing and the romance is hot, there’s also plenty of other things going on in the plot to make it a quick, compelling read. And also, lions. Did I mention the lions? Regardless, this is a solid start to this new series and I can’t wait to see where it heads next.
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