By: Jennifer Ashley
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Spike, a wildcat Shifter and the champion fighter of Shiftertown, is stunned when Myka, the best friend of a dying human woman, announces that Spike has fathered a cub. What's more, the mother is giving the boy to Spike to protect and raise.My Thoughts:
Myka, who'd been raised by an abusive stepfather, is not sure that a wild fighter named Spike is the best man to bring up the cute little jaguar cub. She goes to Shiftertown to check out Spike, and finds that the man behind the name is a lonely Shifter who's lost most of his family and is a fierce caretaker to those he has left.
Spike is torn between the cub and his duties as tracker to the Shiftertown leader, and begs Myka, the only person who understands, to help him. He starts to like the sassy Myka, a horse trainer who's not afraid of working with animals, even if they're wildcats who turn into humans.
When Spike's job puts his cub and Myka in danger, Spike is forced to choose between those to whom he's pledged his loyalty and his need to protect the woman and cub he's come to love.
Have you ever woke up at 2AM and couldn’t go back to sleep...so you pick up a book to read? I found myself in that exact predicament not too long ago and I made the mistake of picking up “Hard Mated” thinking it would make me tired. Two and a half hours later at around 4:30, I looked up as I was finishing one of the best short stories I’ve read this year, disbelieving that time could go by so fast. If that isn’t a glowing review for a book, I don’t know what is.
Spike is a fighter, a strong almost alpha fighter within Ashley’s Shifter world, but he works under other shifters. He’s content living with his Grandmother, doing his job, and once in awhile letting out his aggression in a secret fight club.
Myka finds Spike during one of these illegal bouts. Scared of shifters but seeing no choice, she approaches him after the fight and informs him that he has a son. Not with her, but with her terminally ill friend. Immediately Spike takes up the mantle of father and impresses Myka with his utter devotion to this new found child.
Spike, oh spike, how I love you. Not your name mind you (his real name is Eron, Yay!) but everything about you. Your strength, your wisdom, quick wit and thoughtfulness. But, call me soft hearted, I absolutely melted as he learned to be a Father. Utterly unafraid to make mistakes and making his own way in the world, Spike tried his best and when that wasn’t sufficient, looked to Myka for help.
Jennifer Ashley is a master storyteller and I adore pretty much anything she writes, whether it be paranormal or historical. There is a whole lot of story packed into this “short story.” A super sweet romance, great advancement of the plot within the series, and a pretty endearing father/son tale that are done so well that you, hopefully like me, will lose track of time and find yourself immersed in the story.
Date of Publication: August 20, 2012
# of Pages: 160
Mate Claimed (Coming October 2012)
Tiger Magic (Coming in 2013)