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Guardian's Mate

by Jennifer Ashley

ISBN: 9780425281369
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ISBN: 9780425281369

Publisher Description

The New York Times bestselling author of White Tiger returns as primal desire draws two lone shifters into each other's arms . . .

She wasn't ready to lead . . .

Chosen as the Guardian of her Montana Shiftertown, wolf Shifter Rae Lyall is facing opposition-for no woman has ever been selected for this powerful position. Still adjusting to the new authority thrust upon her, Rae travels to train with Zander Moncrieff, a Shifter healer, tasked with teaching her about her new role and its responsibilities.

He wasn't ready to love . . .

A polar bear Shifter, Zander wears no Collar and follows no rules but his own. Rae finds him arrogant and demanding, yet compelling and intriguing. Zander has no wish to mate but the sassy Guardian is drawing him out of his shell, stirring feelings long suppressed. And when a new threat looms over Rae's home, she and Zander must race to the rescue, forced closer to danger . . . and to each other.

Author Biography

Jennifer Ashley's romances have been nominated for many awards, and her Regency mystery series won the "Romantic Times" Award for Best Historical Mystery of 2005. She's lived and traveled all over the world, and now lives in the Southwest with her husband and cat.


"As triumphant as it is tension packed, and as exciting as it is touchingly emotional...New readers shouldn't have any difficulty getting drawn into this smart novel--and overall winning series in general."--RT Book Reviews (4 1/2 Stars) Praise for the Shifters Unbound Novels

"Ashley's Shifter world is exciting, sexy, and magical."--Yasmine Galenorn, New York Times bestselling author

"[A] sexy paranormal series that neatly combines high-adrenaline suspense with humor."--Booklist

"Stellar worldbuilding."--Publisher's Weekly

"Ashley walks the razor's edge of primal passion."--Alyssa Day, New York Times bestselling author

Review Quote

Praise for the Shifters Unbound Novels

Promotional "Headline"

The New York Times bestselling author of White Tiger returns as primal desire draws two lone shifters into each other's arms . . .

Excerpt from Book

Chapter One Rae''s job on the day of the Choosing was to stand behind her foster father and hold the absent Guardian''s sword. Absent, because the Guardian was dead, had been for months. The woods were quiet, dark, and cold. Any sane Shifter would still be in bed, snuggled under a few blankets, looking forward to a warm shower and a hot cup of coffee. But no, the Shifters of the Western Montana Shiftertown had crept out just before dawn, following Eoin, Rae''s adoptive father and leader of this Shiftertown, to see whether the Goddess was in a good mood. Four times in the last six months they''d trudged out here in the gloom and cold, waiting for the Goddess to pick a new Guardian. They''d come at a full moon, a new moon, a waxing moon, a blue moon. They''d turn toward wherever the moon happened to be and wait. All the young men of the Montana Shiftertown who were past their Transition were required to attend, including Rae''s foster brothers. They formed the now-familiar circle, some excited, some fearful, some simply wanting to go back to bed. Eoin, a Feline Shifter who was mostly mountain lion, sent Rae an encouraging look. Rae was a Lupine, black wolf, but she conceded that her foster dad was handsome-for a Feline. He was currently mateless, which made him a target for every female Shifter near and far. What some of them would do to try to sneak into his bed was beyond ridiculous. Rae sometimes felt like his bodyguard rather than his daughter. "Not long now," Eoin said to her. Even speaking softly, his voice was a full rumble. "Then we can go out for breakfast?" Rae asked. "I could use a stack of waffles. With bacon." "Sure, sweetie," Eoin answered with a smile, then turned to the circle. Beyond the young males, the rest of the Shifters waited, anxious and impatient. Months ago, their Guardian, Daragh, had been killed by humans, his sword stolen. Rae still fumed over that terrible deed. The humans had been found, punished, the sword returned by an unlikely messenger and Daragh sent to dust, but no new Guardian had been chosen. The Goddess had not answered their call. The faintest light came through the stand of trees, turning the mist that had gathered ghostly white. The Shifters dropped into silence as Eoin raised his arms. "Goddess, mother of us all, lady of the moon," he began in a loud voice, "we beseech thee. Send us your light to touch the Guardian, that most holy of men, so that he may do thy work." Rae loved listening to her father speak. Her earliest memories were of Eoin reading her books, soothing her to sleep, wrapping her in comfort, letting her know she was protected when he was near. The sword, which she held point down by the hilt, vibrated in time with his words. The sword gave her the creeps, but no one else would touch it-it had burned those who''d tried, as though it were red-hot. Even Eoin''s trackers, the bravest of the brave, refused to put their hands on it. For some reason the sword didn''t burn Rae, so she''d had to step up. She didn''t mind so much when it was sheathed, but for the ritual the sword had to be naked, the runes on the silver blade catching the dawn light. They''d done this four times. Rae prayed to the Goddess that the fifth time was the charm, so she could hand the sword to the new Guardian and never hold it again. Eoin went on chanting. He repeated his plea to the Goddess, his arms high. In the old days, Shifters had worn robes and crowns of leaves and crap like that for these rituals. Eoin wore jeans, a sweatshirt, and thick-soled boots, sensible attire in the Rocky Mountain woods. Rae, and every Shifter here, wore something similar. Maybe they should have donned robes and painted themselves with moon goddess symbols, she decided. Or danced naked at midnight. It would make the same difference. The Goddess wasn''t coming. She never did. "We beseech thee!" Eoin shouted. His words echoed through the woods as the sun climbed higher, brushing the treetops with golden light. The mists thickened and the air became colder. The sun kept climbing. The mist turned to fog. The Shifters shivered and rubbed their arms, wanting to shift, cuddle up to something furry, or at least go the hell home. Eoin finally lowered his arms, letting out a sigh, defeated. A whisper of breeze echoed his sigh, then died. The Shifters didn''t look happy. Eoin, as Shiftertown leader, was supposed to solve problems like this. He should ask the human government to bring in a Guardian from another Shiftertown or figure out a way to use the sword himself-something. If the more dominant Shifters got too impatient, they''d start challenging, and then things would really hit the fan. The human government didn''t allow Shifters to change leaders without their approval but that wouldn''t matter if Eoin were dead. Rae picked up the sword''s sheath from the grass, her braid of black hair falling over her shoulder. A thin finger of light made it through the fog to dance on the blade as she lifted it to slide it into the sheath. The runes glittered and seemed to move. They did that sometimes. The sword was one creep-toid piece of metal. The tip of the blade jerked out of the leather sheath. Rae''s eyes widened in surprise, then she let out a cry as the sword shot upward, dragging her arm with it. Rae tried to drop the sword but her hand was fixed to the hilt, her fingers not obeying her command to let go. The sword jerked again, nearly pulling her arm out of its socket. Rae grabbed the hilt with her other hand, holding on while her heels came off the ground. "Dad!" she yelled. "Help!" Eoin, who''d moved off to speak to his trackers, spun back to her. At the same time, the sword yanked itself upward and Rae was pulled all the way off her feet. She yelped in terror, but she couldn''t pry her hand free. She had no idea what the damned sword was trying to do-return to the Goddess? Fly to the next Guardian? Eoin ran for her, his trackers behind him, but before they could reach her, a brilliant shaft of light shot down from the treetops and enclosed Rae, the sword, and the sheath that lay on the ground. Pain seared through her, as though every cell in her skin, every bit of iron in her blood, suddenly burned hot. Her Collar went off, arcs of electricity driving into her throat. Rae screamed. The sound echoed up through the trees, crescendoed into a piercing shriek, and swooped back down again. The Shifters clapped hands over ears, some falling to their knees. The sword lifted Rae a few more feet in the air, then it suddenly went slack, and Rae fell hard to the ground. She lost hold of the sword, and the blade plummeted toward her, point downward. Eoin dove for it, but he couldn''t reach it in time. The sword plunged straight into the earth between Rae''s outstretched arms, quivered, and went still. The light died and Rae''s pain faded. "What the hell?" one of the trackers growled. Rae slowly climbed to her feet, groaning all the way, having to use the hilt of the stupid sword to brace herself. Eoin had halted a few feet away, his face drawn, his eyes wet. "The Goddess has Chosen," he said in a hushed voice. "What?" Rae tore her hands from the sword. "What are you talking about? It was a lightning strike, or something . . ." Eoin seized Rae''s hands and turned them upward. Burned into each palm was the symbol of the Celtic knot, the sign of the Goddess. Though Rae''s hands were clearly branded, she felt no pain, not even itching. Her heart hammered. "No way. Dad-no!" Tears rolled down Eoin''s cheeks. "The Goddess has Chosen," he repeated, his voice breaking. "We have our new Guardian." The Shifters, Rae''s brothers most of all, stared at Rae in shock. Dead silence filled the clearing, broken only by the morning breeze that sprang up to clear away the mists. An elderly Feline male stepped forward, giving voice to the thought in the head of every Shifter present. "But she''s a woman!" Zander

Product Details

Jennifer Ashley
Short Title
Berkley Books
Mass Market Paperback
Phoenix, AZ, US
Shifter's Unbound Novel
Country of Publication
United States
Publication Date
A Shifters Unbound Novel
Series Number