Book Reviews

Lion's Mate (Hell's Creek 1) by Shannon West and TS McKinney at Painted Hearts Publishing

Genre Gay / Paranormal / Shifters / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 14-August-2017

Book Blurb

When Julian Montague rolls into a small mill town on the back side of nowhere, he isn’t looking for any trouble. He’s broke and fallen on hard times—but his idea to run from a license check on a main highway has backfired. He went off road on his motorcycle and now he’s hopelessly lost and almost out of gas. Stopping at the only station in town, he's confronted by bullies with a gun who insist he’s on the “wrong side of the line” and then proceed to attack him.

Fighting them off, he heads for the dubious safety of the “other side” when he’s attacked by a wild animal and crashes, almost killing himself. Waking up tied to a bed, he's startled to find his injuries are being tended by a large, handsome man named Leo who bosses him around, showers him with affection and insists on calling him kitty. Something is going on in this strange town called Hell’s Creek, involving the large paper mill and the strange inhabitants who live in separate territories and answer only to the Company. Julian needs to find out what it is before he finds himself the “mate” of another man—and the main problem with that is that he’s beginning to like the idea way too much.

Book Review

It must be really disorienting to suddenly find out you are not as human as you thought you were – and Julian, broke and in search of a new home, faces exactly that situation. His story is full of discoveries, unexpected and shocking surprises, and more than one oh-my-God moment as Julian explores his new reality. In a world where shifters are not known to exist, suddenly facing not only a few new species but also a whole new set of rules and regulations is not easy. Watching everything unfold from Julian’s perspective was a treat, and I loved every minute.

When the story begins, Julian is in trouble already - nothing serious but enough to want to avoid the police. He only runs into shifter territory by mistake, and enemies he is as unaware of as his own true nature almost kill him. Suddenly finding himself surrounded by two warring factions of “weird” people who call him a kitten and others who claim he invaded their territory is a serious problem. And even being rescued from the bullies doesn’t help – because the gorgeous man who heals Julian’s wounds by some very unorthodox means calls Julian his mate. And Julian isn’t the least bit gay – or so he assumed.

Leo is the boss – at least with his own people, and when he discovers that Julian is his mate, he starts out the way he intends to continue and tries to tell Julian what to do. Not his best approach with a human who is not even aware he is a cat shifter, but it takes Leo quite a while to wrap his head around the fact that Julian is truly unaware of who he really is. Leo was a little heavy-handed for my taste, but I could see where he was coming from and, after all, he does care about Julian from the start. Being mated to someone who does not know anything about shifters and thinks he is straight is about as tough as suddenly finding out you’re attracted to a man.

I always enjoy learning about a new shifter world, and this one has a few peculiarities I have not encountered before. The author has combined the idea of dogs and cats not getting along, added a corporate spin, and mixed it all into a suspenseful whole that had me guessing much of the time. The relationship between Julian and Leo is quite rocky, and I found myself questioning Leo’s morals and close-to-bullying behavior more than once. Julian, however, is not without issues either, and his self-denial and refusal to accept the fact he is gay is as much to blame for the issues the couple initially has as Leo’s overbearing attitude. Julian has been taught to be ashamed of what he wants (both the fact he is into men and that he likes to be dominated), and it’s a tough journey for him to come to grips with the truth. And that is without him discovering he is a cat shifter and coming to grips with a whole new reality!

If you like discovering new shifter worlds, if a troubled start to a relationship with quite a few question marks is your thing, and if you’re looking for an exploration of shifter enemies that is full of revelations and discoveries, then you might enjoy this novel.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Painted Hearts Publishing for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 55988 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 09-May-2017
Price $4.99 ebook
Buy Link