This review is for Perfect Mate by Jennifer Ashley. As a novella, this story tops out at an estimated 119 pages in comparison to her full length books which range around 300 pages and her Shareem books which almost make 200 pages – she also writes historical romance! I love Jennifer Ashley because she is one of those authors that write across the genres with such color and feeling. She writes dragons as Allyson James and if you have not checked out the Immortals series that she worked on with several authors (The Calling, The Darkening, The Awakening, etcetera) then you definitely want to check out that paranormal romance hotness.
The cover of the book is beautifully detailed, with a hunky and unclothed male with light brunette hair taking up most of the space. This cover model actually sports a little bit of beard and moustache; not enough to give him the look of a wild man, just enough to make you think he might be a little wild. Half of his face is in shadow, but the features that are visible are sharp and hungry. With a lightly tanned body and a very light dusting of man-pelt, this is a specimen of the male at his absolute peak. Behind the cover model, a golden wooded area is visible, and the faded image of a bear’s head is almost smiling from the top right corner of the cover. The author’s name is in bold and slightly flared gold font at the top of the book, and the title is in a capitalized silvery-white font at the bottom.
Perfect Mate is part of her Shifters Unbound series in which she has created a world where shifters have been outed to humans and are now required to wear collars which prevent or control shifts. In addition to the mandatory collars, shifters have also been confined to shifter towns in certain areas of the country, and the expected prejudices and dislike abound in human/shifter relations. The shifter town providing the setting for Perfect Mate is in Southern Nevada, and the shifters involved range from feline to lupine to ursine, but the couple involved is definitely bear. Nell has two adult sons that she had to raise on her own, and her one go at a love match has left her with an adamant stance regarding self-sufficiency. Cormac is on the hunt for a mate, and not just anyone will do – he is looking for Nell specifically, and unfortunately he has ties to her first love.
The story clips along at a fairly good pace, and while it can easily stand alone, it is a delight as part of the series. If I were to recommend a series to someone, I would try to find one of the novellas that would work as a standalone, and this one is priced at $1.99 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble so it is pretty affordable at the moment. My only regret in this book was the rush, which is not necessarily a drawback. I know that many authors are working to keep the reader hooked throughout the book and readers, like the books that they love, vary greatly. I am more of a Pride and Prejudice type of reader, so I love books that work little details into great feats and a slow build to a big ending. With all that said, I would recommend Perfect Mate for a filler read between larger works, as part of the series, or as a before bed send-off.