Beat of Temptation by Nalini Singh
published as part of the anthology An Enchanted Season, by Berkley in October 2007
Young Tamsyn has always held a special place in her heart for her powerful fellow pack-member Nate. But as a dominant male leopard in the pack, the more experienced Nate doesn’t want to trap Tamsyn into the fierce demands of the mating bond—a bond driven by the animal within—when she’s hardly had the chance to grow into a woman. But Tamsyn knows what she wants for Christmas, and she’s going to get it...Genre: paranormal romance, shapeshifters
Series: Psy/Changeling world, Book #0.5
We've all complained at one point or another how we find novella/short story unsatisfying, because they are too short... However, this sure is not the case with Beat of Temptation. Ms Singh took a clever approach when writing this novella. Instead of writing the story of new characters that need to fall in love, she went back and explored how it all begin between Tamsyn and Nathan. I say clever because 1) we all know what/how they are in the future and so, Ms Singh doesn't have to wrap it up and 2) those who won't read this novella won't miss anything needed for the further development of the series.
Those who have read Slave to Sensation all know and remember Tamsyn, the Dark River healer, and her mate Nathan, who's also a sentinel. Nathan is 10 years older than Tamsyn and has been holding off from completing the mating dance, because he wants Tamsyn to enjoy her freedom. He also doesn't want to suffocate her in this demanding relationship, because he's seen what can happen... and it's not always HEA. However, completing the mating dance is what Tamsyn wants and needs. As a result, she takes the matter into her hands... Okay, I almost just repeated the book blurb :P
Anyway, I really enjoyed the story :D Yes, it was short, but everything was covered - Tamsyn's feelings, Nathan's reasoning - and I can't really think of what Ms Singh could have added to the story. The story focused on Tamsyn and Nathan and their relationship and there was nothing really complicated. I personally enjoyed seeing young Tamsyn and Nathan, not that they are much different from the ones we know already... With this novella, you really see the effects of a fullfilling mate bond have on two persons. It also shed some lights on the mating bond... it's not automatic (as in recognizable at first sight) and although you feel attracted to each other or lust for each other, it doesn't guarantee happiness.
What else to say? I really liked Tamsyn and Nathan... Tamsyn is strong and has a backbone. She's also young and vulnerable and inexperiment. She's still young in many ways, but that didn't make her stupid. Nathan was just very alpha :D I also liked reading about a younger version of Lucas and Dorian and also, at a time when Dark River pack wasn't as strong. It actually would be very interesting to learn how Dark River got some prominent in such a short time.
There is a light storyline with a Psy, but it wasn't developed too much. The way it was handled though, didn't make it seem too superfluous. I'm even wondering if this Psy wouldn't appear again in the future.
In the end, I was very satisfied with this novella :D However, it did raise 2 questiosn: 1) How many shapeshifter races are there and if they all live as a pack? So far, I'm aware of wolves, leopards, wild cats, deers, hyenas, horses, eagles... are there marine species... Although, in the ideal world, Ms Singh shouldn't explore all of them too much (like Ms Marjorie M. Liu)... and 2) how long do these shapeshifters live?
Despite those two questions, I'm giving this book a B+ :)
Also, a little more book pimping for Ms Singh... Many have read Caressed by Ice and enjoyed it greatly. So here's some info about the next book, Mine to Posess:
Clay Bennett is a powerful DarkRiver sentinel, but he grew up in the slums with his human mother, never knowing his changeling father. As a young boy without the bonds of Pack, he tried to stifle his animal nature. He failed...and committed the most extreme act of violence, killing a man and losing his best friend, Talin, in the bloody aftermath. Everything good in him died the day he was told that she, too, was dead.This book comes out in February and already, I can't wait!! It sounds awesome :D
Talin McKade barely survived a childhood drenched in bloodshed and terror. Now a new nightmare is stalking her life--the street children she works to protect are disappearing and turning up dead. Determined to keep them safe, she unlocks the darkest secret in her heart and returns to ask the help of the strongest man she knows...
Clay lost Talin once. He will not let her go again, his hunger to possess her, a clawing need born of the leopard within. As they race to save the innocent, Clay and Talin must face the violent truths of their past...or lose everything that ever mattered.
Slave to Sensation
Visions of Heat
Caressed by Ice