When her jerk of an ex-boyfriend turns her into a lion shifter, Sienna just can't accept that she is no longer human. She's determined to live a normal life despite PM'S as a shifter being off the charts. When she meets Toron, the leader of the Pride, she can't deny how sexy he is or her attraction to him, but Toron has a power that threatens to sweep away all the plans she's made for her life. No one man should have that much control over the the people around him. After a night of unbelievable sex, Sienna leaves Toron, and he let's her go. Five years later, she is forced to seek help of the man she's never been able to get out of her head. Will he forgive her for the decision she made so long ago?
Lots of stories embrace the factor of the human who is transformed into a shifter, and that is certainly the premise of this novella. Yet this is different in that the heroine is an African American and she is sassy and mouthy and not about to embrace her new identity. Yet she is aware that her life has been changed irrevocably and nothing she can say or do, no amount of resentment against her careless ex-boyfriend can undo what has been done. Now she is invited--compelled--to attend an instructional weekend held by the Alpha of the closest pride, Toron the lion-shifter and a man who is instantly attracted to Sienna. But she is wary of him because she knows he is a player, taking multiple women into his bed and one who has made it clear that he has no intention of allowing his heart to become engaged to any one woman. Sienna is sooooooo not giving in to this hedonist! That's what her head and heart say; that's not the message her body is transmitting.
This is an interracial romance between a very dominant alpha, a shifter whose power is undisputed and one who has determined that he will not allow love for any one woman to have power over him. Yet Sienna with her beautiful chocolate skin, her pouty, sexy lips, and her beautiful eyes whose depths draw him in like quicksand, challenge his life goal and weaken his determination to remain apart from her. This story seems to have just a bit of a different slant than many paranormal shifter tales. The two do manage a night of hot loving, but part without any commitment to one another. The reader is left to wonder how this is all going to come out. It is especially upending to find out that Sienna has been raising Toron's son, Simeon, without his knowledge or support. It seems that is Sienna's preference -- for now.
Tressie Lockwood writes wonderful interracial romance, bringing black and white partners into love relationships that advertise the wonder to be had when two people set aside racial prejudice and simply enjoy the love that grows between them. That they are often reviled by former friends and family is an aspect that Ms Lockwood does not seek to avoid. But she also writes of friends and family who seem to be just as blind to skin color as the partners themselves. It is uplifting and encouraging to read of families who have learned to prize others on the basis of what they are on the inside, embracing their cultural diversity and allowing those differences to enrich rather than divide. So it is in this novel that not only embraces the racial diversity but also brings in the prejudices that shifters often exhibit between the naturals -- those who were born shifters -- and the "regulars" -- those who have been created at some point in their human lives.
The fun in this story comes from Sienna's mouthy responses to the challenges and people in her life. She is simply not very impressed with Toron and she doesn't hesitate to express her feelings powerfully. Such fun!! It is always a bit satisfying--in a feminist sort of way--to see a powerful man cut down to size by a powerful woman. And Tressie Lockwood doesn't back away from creating powerful heroines. Sienna is certainly the quintessential example of such a woman.
I think readers will really enjoy this story, even though it is a novella. I would have liked it to go on a bit, but Sienna and Toron's story continues as a part of the back story in the second novella in this series, In Hawke's Eyes, the story of Toron's best friend who is a hawk shifter. I hope you will consider adding this very readable novella to your library.
Interview with Anna Richland
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