As implied by the title, this 2008 anthology by Berkley contains stories centered on shapeshifters, with each author giving these paranormal beings their own unique spin. I grabbed this book while glomming the Warriors of Poseidon series and, I have to say, I have had GREAT luck with anthologies lately. Way better than the usual for me, for sure: four stories, three read, three enjoyed.
The (much hated) back cover blurb:
Something happens when the beast within is teased and tempted. Something dangerous. Something inescapable. Something so irresistible no woman would want to run from it.
Whether transforming beneath a cool blue moon, prowling the night streets with feline grace and bloodred talons, or panting with pleasure, the shifters come alive to fulfill your wildest fantasies…
“Sea Crossing”, by Virginia Kantra
This story is a prequel to Ms Kantra’s Children of the Sea series. Based on the Celtic legends of selkies, the children of the sea are elementals, beings created by God during the creation of the world. Set in the early 1900s, “Sea Crossing” tells the story of one Emma March and Griff, one of Prince Conn’s wardens at Sanctuary.
Formerly a teacher at a girls’ school in Liverpool, Emma is traveling to Canada in search of a new beginning. She is also running from her ruined reputation and her regrets. During the crossing she is assaulted by doubt-after all, the contract she signed to pay for her ticked amounts to signing away years of her life in a foreign country, with no guarantee that her situation would improve. In her experience, men have the power-physical and social-to make women’s lives uncomfortable at best and miserable at worst. As if that weren’t enough upheaval for any one person’s life, the ship sinks in a storm, and Emma wakes up afterwards a guest of sorts, in a strange island in the middle of the North Atlantic.
For his part, Griff is completely out of his depth dealing with a human female. His position as warden has mostly involved keeping the peace between the male selkies on the island of Sanctuary and making sure the young selkies who live there before their change are fed and sheltered. Now, his prince commands him to persuade this human to accept the position of teacher-while keeping her safe from the other males. Not quite as easy as it should be, since he must fight his own attraction as well.
Excellent world building for such a limited word count and writing that is very vivid. Like Meljean Brook’s “Falling for Anthony” (Hot Spell anthology, 2006 Berkley) before it, this one short story has made me an addict to a series. Yes, yet another series *head desk* (I’ll never learn, will I?). My only consolation: there are three books already out.
8 out of 10