My Rating: 4 stars: Enjoyed - strongly recommend (A-)
Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About
Heart of the Jaguar opens with the wedding of Bear Mountain Wolf Pack leader Owen and his mate, Gabriela, whom we met in the story A Jaguar’s Kiss. Here we are reintroduced to the town doctor Cindy, a jaguar shifter, who is in attendance with her best friend Israel, brother of Gabriela.
While in attendance, Cindy spies Elias, a wolf shifter, who is in town for his good friend’s wedding. Unknown to anyone at the time, Elias plans to settle down into the Bear Mountain pack and become second-in-command to Owen.
After being hurt badly in a relationship during graduate school, Cindy has remained aloof and distant when it comes to men. It’s been a while since Cindy has fulfilled her jaguar’s sexual needs, and no-strings-attached sex is just what she needs. Cindy and Elias experience an intense initial attraction, and since Cindy thinks Elias is only in town for the wedding, he is the perfect candidate to fill her desires.
Once again Ms. Reus shines with her sexy shifter novellas! Heart of the Jaguar is loosely tied to the previous books, with locale and characters linking them; however, it is not necessary to read any of the prior stories to enjoy each of them individually.
What I enjoy most about Ms. Reus’s shifter novellas, which holds true for this one as well, is that the story stays focused on the primary couple growing in their relationship, with any conflict coming from an external source and not internal between the hero and heroine. In Heart of the Jaguar, Cindy and Elias are open and honest with their intensions from the start. They realize that there is huge chemistry between them and are open to it being something more than physical. Elias recognizes it as the mating call. Instead of just sitting back on the information, he shares this with Cindy.
I also like that Cindy lays her concerns on the table early on in the relationship, even knowing that she may lose Elias because of it. Cindy has some issues that caused the breakup with her former fiancé, but rather than hide from Elias and her own feelings, she trusts him and opens her heart to the mating call. The author could have used any number of things to keep the couple separated and delay their union, but instead she choses to allow the characters to take chances, permitting their love to develop and thrive.
The mystery of who is threatening Cindy is secondary to the romance and concludes without major drama or incident. It was a good plot vehicle for getting the pair together on a more permanent basis. In addition, the storyline added just a touch of suspense which made the short story more exciting.
Overall, Heart of the Jaguar is another well-written, sexy shifter novella from Ms. Reus. The story has great set-up and romance. The mating is quick - it's a novella - so there are speedy "I love you’s," which I'm not a huge fan of. However, it felt right - the timing wasn't out of the blue. The pair had immediate chemistry and it worked.
Ms. Reus's shifter novellas are the perfect “get away” romance reading. You can take yourself on a mini-vacation for an hour or so, getting lost in the exciting, sexy world she has created. Heart of the Jaguar is no exception with it’s romance with sizzling smex. The conflict is muted but adds to the overall story. Heart of the Jaguar is a very enjoyable romantic read.