Primal Heat (The Shadow Shifters #6) by A.C. Arthur


Primal Heat

In the savage world of the Shadow Shifters, desire can be as dangerous as nature itself…

As guard to the most powerful shifter in the human world, Eli Preston is sworn to protect his leader, defend their alliance, and keep his darker instincts in check. But when a beautiful female trainee arouses his jaguar senses, there is no stopping the beast within. He must have her. Even if it jeopardizes the deadliest mission of his life…

When the heat is on—and the claws come out—the heart is the fiercest hunter…

For six years, Nivea has been waiting for Eli to take her in his arms, unleash his animal urges, and claim her as his mate. But once their passion is unleashed—in a reckless moment of pure unbridled lust—nothing can ever be the same. The battlelines are drawn: man versus animal, shifter versus shifter. And Eli must be prepared to fight for his life—and his love—or he will lose Nivea forever… addtogoodreads_zps55cd15da16 Angela_s PonderingsTAG

One of these days I’m going to set down and read this series from the beginning, back-to-back, so I know which of the good guys I’m grieving for. Yes, that’s a tiny bit of a spoiler, but with the ongoing war between the Shadow Shifters and the rogues, there are bound to be losses and Arthur keeps the series feeling real by breaking our hearts when it happens. Add to that Boden’s personal vendetta against the Shadow Shifters and Crowe’s machinations to create a hybrid super soldier, well that insured tons of action in this installment. But all of that was mild in comparison to what is simmering between Eli and Nivea because the secrets they each harbor may end their pairing before it can even begin.

 

While none of the female mates in this series have had it easy, Arthur outdid herself with Nivea’s backstory. The hints given regarding Nivea’s past did not prepare me for the truth of why she left the seemingly lavish lifestyle she was raised in and why she remains estranged from her parents. When the details began to be revealed I actually reread the scene because the what wasn’t even on my radar. Shocked doesn’t even begin to describe my reaction. And yet Nivea refused to let her past define her and embraced her Shadow Shifter heritage fully, much to the dismay of her sisters. It is her determination in overcoming her past that made Nivea the perfect match for Eli because like her, his past left him scarred, but unlike her, Eli has not overcome it, allowing his past to define him as he refuses to believe that a mate will help him overcome his “curse” or that he is deserving of happiness. Eli’s refusal to acknowledge they’re meant to be mates forces Nivea to call upon her determination because she’s not just fighting Eli, she’s also fighting the ghosts of his past.

 

I loved watching this relationship play out. Eli gives new meaning to the phrase hard-headed man with his refusal to acknowledge Nivea as his mate. My heart broke for Nivea each time he rebuffed her or snuck out the morning after, but man were those nights between them hot! But even as my heart ached for her, I loved that she was sure in her belief that she deserved happiness and that Eli’s rejections were on him and not a reflection of her. And even as he denied her as his mate, Eli had her back when her loyalty to the Shadow Shifters was in question. While I haven’t read all of the books in the series, I like that Arthur develops the relationship within the ongoing conflicts – the war doesn’t stop for love. This serves to strengthen their bond as they face their enemies head on. Primal Heat was a great addition to The Shadow Shifters series and I love the possibilities that about with the open ending of the book – not a cliffhanger per se, but it certainly leaves many, many avenues open for the author to take.

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