This review is for a super short but sweet story by Vivi Andrews called Jaguar’s Kiss. If you have met Vivi Andrews, then you know she’s da bomb – super nice, super funny, and…just all-around super. Okay, on to the review for the e-book, now that my fangirling is dying down. The cover of Jaguar’s Kiss features a close-up shot of a couple rendered in blue and gray tone. While both male and female seem to occupy a good portion of the cover, the male is more detailed and is shown in the forefront. The male cover model has dark hair, with some facial hair edging toward a beard at the edge of his strong jaw and chin, and a slight mustache with skin still visible. His eyes are shadowed, like several other aspects of the cover, and I think this gives readers more flexibility in building character detail in their imaginations while providing the sensual baseline that many readers crave in a romance cover. The female cover model is behind the male, leaning into him as if to whisper or drop a kiss, and her features are shadowed with the exception of her long, pale hair. I like this cover because it draws you in and offers just as much as a shirtless heartthrob, maybe even more, because it is sexy without demanding recognition. The series name and book title are in a golden yellow that contrasts nicely with the tone of the cover images, and the author’s name is in white font, and none of the font is too large or overlaps the cover models. The cover is a win!
I will readily admit to being partial to work by this author, but I am usually a stickler about reading longer books ranging from 300 to 500 pages, so reading these shorter stories is new territory. Jaguar’s Kiss is the first book in the author’s new shifter series call Lone Pine Pride. Amazon estimates the page count at 102 pages, and the author uses every bit of those pages to render a steamy and interesting romance without overloading or shortchanging the reader. The lovers at the heart of this story are lion and jaguar shifters, which is a mix that some shifter elitists are not going to approve. There is added difficulty because Lila is the daughter of the alpha aaaand in an arranged marriage to a male that she is not interested in for herself, but willing to pair with for the best of the pride. While I understood the viewpoint of the female lead in this story, I found her a little harder to relate to because of her willingness to sacrifice self (on such a level) for the good of the whole. This is a characteristic that I think we see more and more in fiction and less in reality, unfortunately.
I felt that Santiago, the male interest in this story, was painted in a very desirable light. Coming from a solitary and self-sufficient setting into the pride that Lila calls home, he manages to maintain his distance while remaining a somewhat productive pride member. While the male lead keeps his distance initially, the author moves quickly to the conflict (which is to be expected in a shorter piece) and keeps the story rolling while the characters evolve. I am not a fan of spoilers in reviews, so I will say that the story was short, but it offered everything a reader expects including the happily ever after. It is a short read, but it is a good read, and is ideal for the day off or winding down before bed read. I will say that I am getting spoiled by all this epilogues the authors are doing, because when I hit the end of the story I was like…and then what happened? Not to worry, though, because the next book (Taming the Lion – Patch’s story) in this series is coming out in September! Also, check out her Karmic Consultants series, because it is awesome.