I’m a huge fan of paranormal romances so I’ve read and enjoyed a great many books where the mate bond is not only prevalent but integral and essential to the story line. In Lora Leigh’s Breeds Series, Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling Series , Christine Feehan’s Dark Series, and now Jennifer Ashley’s Shifters Unbound Series, the mate bond is front and center.
Part of me, the cynical part that doesn’t believe in free lunches, can’t always get behind that all consuming, all encompassing, but most importantly that instantaneous and immediate bond that envelops the hero and heroine when it comes to the MATE BOND. However, the optimistic side of me, the one who cries every single time I watch Pollyanna being carried down the stairs as she is greeted by the entire town of Harrington, is definitely on board. When I’m in my Pollyanna mood the mate bond most assuredly rings true.
But what happens when you mate-claim someone out of convenience? And by that I mean it isn’t an instantaneous and all encompassing love. No, it’s a “let’s mate due to the circumstances and see what happens” kind of love. That’s what happens in Primal Bonds between Andrea and Zach. It’s very much like the Duke in a Regency romance marrying his governess out of convenience so that he can save her from a desolate future. That is not the mate bond I’m familiar with. A marriage or engagement out of convenience in a Regency romance or any historical is accepted due to the social mores and culture of the time. But in a paranormal romance the mythology of a mate bond is often about the inherent bonding of two souls. It’s the deepest kind of bond. So I had to ask, in a paranormal romance, can a mate bond truly emerge from a claim that is made out of necessity or convenience?
In Primal Bonds, Jennifer Ashley’s second book in her Shifters Unbound series, the story of the Morrissey family continues. Sean Morrissey is the powerful Guardian of the Austin Shiftertown and has mate- claimed Andrea Gray, a half-shifter/half-fae. He has claimed Andrea as a mate out of necessity sight unseen, in order to rescue her from an untenable situation. Not your typical mate bond. But through this “bond of convenience”, Andrea and Sean get to know each other and grow to like and respect one another. Their gradual coming together and outside circumstances create a heightened sense which allows them to eventually create a true mate bond.
Ms. Ashley has taken the Regency marriage of convenience and given it a twist. She layers it with certain circumstances which create the depth required for the mate bond. So yes, I discovered that the Regency marriage of convenience trope can, with the right elements, be part of the paranormal mythology. With the bond securely in place the sky’s the limit, and as I said before, nothing and no one can come between them.
In Primal Bonds we find this all important device - the mate bond - to be essential to the outcome of Andrea and Sean’s lives and the other shifters in Shiftertown. It doesn’t matter how they got there. It doesn’t’ matter if it was slow and gradual or lighting quick, in the end, love does conquer all, particularly when that love is forged in steel and is unbreakable.
I’m curious: do you enjoy the marriage of convenience story line? Which are your favorites?