Mate Bond (Shifters Unbound #7) by Jennifer Ashley
Synopsis: Together but unbound, they must learn what it means to love completely, in the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Wild Wolf.
To cement the leadership of his North Carolina Shiftertown, Bowman O’Donnell agreed to a “mating of convenience.” Two powerful wolf shifters, he and Kenzie keep the pack in order and are adored by all. Bowman would do anything to protect Kenzie, for in each other’s arms they’ve found far more than friendship. But as strong as their attachment is, they still haven’t formed the elusive mate bond—the almost magical joining of true mates.
Now with a monster ravaging the countryside and threatening the Shiftertown community, some in the pack fear that a pair without a true mate bond isn’t strong enough to lead. Bowman and Kenzie will have to rely on their instinctive trust in one another to save their Shifters—and the ensuing battle will either destroy them or give them the chance to seize the love they’ve always craved.
Review: Bowman and Kenzie have been mated 15 years and have one son, but the mate bond has not taken effect leaving them, and those under Bowman’s leadership, questioning the strength of the Alpha and his chosen mate. Kenzie knows he is it for her but she does worry that another woman could catch his eye and have that elusive mate bond. Bowman also knows she is the woman he wants but he worries she could leave him for another man. This fear brings tension to the relationship and jealousy raises its ugly head a time or two, or three. While dealing with whether they are each other’s true mate, they have a beast that shouldn’t even exist in their world rampage and attack them at a local hangout. Bowman is injured badly but the beast is strong and it gets away. A human cop wants to work with Bowman, and Kenzie specifically, to stop the beast. Bowman has to contend with Kenzie’s uncle constantly questioning his leadership and getting in the way. When Bowman and Kenzie’s relationship is put into question, will they go their separate ways or fight for what they both want, regardless of a mate bond. Along the way, we have a human female vet, a human male college professor, a trapped Fae female warrior, and a goblin. The story was strong and complex. The villain wasn’t revealed too soon and Ryan, their son, stood out as one of the cutest and smartest characters in the story. The conflict was different and entertaining, the emotional struggles between Kenzie and Bowman added to the tension, and their passion and love for each other was explosive. I enjoyed the story and the character diversity added to the story dynamic.