I’ll just come right out and say it: reading paranormal romance novels has made me a better husband, a better lover, a better man.
Let’s look at the Shifters Unbound saga (Pride Mates, Primal Bonds, Wild Cat, and the recently released Mate Claimed) by Jennifer Ashley, a series that is set in a world where shapeshifters – after almost being hunted to extinction – have recently been “accepted” into human society and now live in poverty stricken Shiftertowns on the periphery of urban areas. Forced to wear collars that allegedly repress their violent tendencies, these Shifters are almost universally feared and secretly envied by more than a few humans – most males are well over six feet tall, incredibly well endowed, undeniably sexy, and fiercely loyal to their prides or packs.
When it comes to paranormal romance, I’d rank the Shifters Unbound saga as the hottest series on the shelves. Ashley can choreograph a supernatural sex scene like no other writer I’ve read. Here are a few examples:
• “Kim laughed. Liam growled and sprinted up the last of the stairs, slammed into the bedroom and tossed her on the bed. As her clothes came off, then his, Kim gave in. For one night of her life, she was going to enjoy making wild, crazy love with a man who promised to make it unforgettable, no matter what might come in the morning...” – Pride Mates
• “The scent of their lovemaking, sweet, heavy, and exciting, blended with the scent of pine and old leaves. The night air brushed frigid fingers over them, but Iona was toasty warm with Eric inside her.” – Mate Claimed
So the Shifters Unbound novels are exceptionally erotic paranormal romance. What can a male reader learn in these books that may make him a better man, lover, human being?
1. Believe in true, everlasting love. In this series, Shifters experience a mate bond with their lovers, a “magical binding between true mates” that is all encompassing – body and soul – and lasts until death.
3. Find passion in your life. Ashley’s male Shifter leads are, above all else, passionate. Passionate about their lives, their families, their causes, and their lovers. At one point early on in Mate Claimed, Eric tells Iona: “When we make love, it will be like the world exploded.” Enough said.
Maybe I’m completely wrong about this but I firmly believe that men who regularly read paranormal romance will ultimately find themselves better off for it.
I would love to hear what other paranormal romance readers – male and female – have to say about this!
Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can follow him on Twitter at @paulgoatallen and get all the latest Barnes & Noble book news from @BNBuzz.