Carly Randal thinks her fabulous life is complete—until her car breaks down on the side of the road, and a wild-looking Shifter is the only one to help her. Tiger takes one look at Carly and knows instantly—she will be his mate. As Carly is drawn into his Shifter world, she risks everything she has for that forbidden something she still wants: passionate love.
Comment: This is installment #5 in the Shifters Unbound series by Jennifer Ashley. I'm behind on this series but I'll try to read the more recent books so I can catch-up. Because this series has so many novellas in between full length stories and often featuring known characters, it's more difficult to keep up.
In this book we have Tiger's story. He is a character that first showed up in the previous book and was rescued from a secret location. Because he's a Shifter he was welcomed in Austin, in the Shiftertown ruled by Liam Morrissey (from book #1), and he has been living a pretty quiet life, learning to be human and follow rules...until the day he helps a woman with her broken car. He immediately recognizes her as his mate and despite all the others telling him he can't know, he's a different Shifter, more primal, and knows it as truth.
But there are people after him and the secrets he might have about his existence... can Tiger help his mate, help his new friends and find happiness?
I liked this book, mostly because of the scenes featuring many known characters, which gives this story a sense of family, of connection between the characters.
But the main plot, dedicated to Tiger and Carly wasn't as interesting as I hoped. Their bond is important yes, but the way they got to be close to one another was too easy...
Tiger is a special Shifter, he was created in a lab and not in a shifter community and we all know the setting is part of the stimuli that helps us shape out personality, our sense of self and who we are in a group... so I can understand why his behavior and personality were quieter, more suspicious, not always playing along... but then his general behavior wasn't always captivating to em, even when I rationalize that he couldn't help it if he didn't have an example growing up.
Carly is his mate. She finds out she has been cheated on by her supposed fiancé and Tiger is there to help her, but then things get out of control and she is the one who needs o help him. From then on she gets to know more people from Shiftertown and still running from the guy that wants Tiger for an experiment. I assume this is too much to handle but Carly is always positive, accepts things very easily, including her reaction and attraction to Tiger. Well, I can debate that insta-love is almost the thing to look for in shifter stories with the "mate" vibe or something, but it looks like such an easy path, that I wasn't overly impressed.
Then their personalities weren't my favorites...and I feel the author could add a bit more structure to the romances...they all look very similar, even with different characters.
The plot was basic, we knew the good guys would win and to be honest I wasn't terribly interested in it... I preferred to focus on the characters' interactions, which is the thing I love the most in series...to see former and future characters interact, being part of a family or a society I want to see being happy and strong.
I loved seeing Tiger with the children, the children characters are some of the most interesting characters of them all, the simplicity but the way they allow grown ups to have softer scenes... I like the way all this makes the stories feel cohesive, focused on what is important to the Shifters, which is family and safety for them all.
The book has many interesting things but the most important thing,t he main romance wasn't as spectacular as that. I didn't feel their relationship was particularly balanced, especially because Tiger didn't get some of the society nuances and Carly was too much a happy camper or following along too easily.
Then, the end. Many people don't think it was up to the plot, but I didn't mind it much because the family bonds is what interests me the most. Still, I get it that the end could have been a let down, after all the explanation behind Tiger's existence and why it was vital for the bad guy to catch him were moot points after such a turnabout. Like someone said, things happen too fast, both in plot pace and in romance development to be considered more romantic or polished.
All in all, a good enough romance, several things worked out for me, but some others didn't...so I feel happy enough with this book but I wasn't impressed. I hope the following ones are better.