In Heat by Felicity Heaton

A heat wave isn’t the only thing making London too hot for lawyer Kim. She’s been spending each night with a man who sets her body and heart on fire. The problem? He’s a man that always sprouts black fur and purrs, and he’s only a dream. Walking into work on the hottest day of the year, the last thing she expects is to meet Erik, a man who send her temperature soaring and who resembles her dream guy exactly.

A black panther shape-shifter, Erik Blackwell has been searching for his mate for twenty-seven years. The visions they share each night are getting hotter but finding her is proving impossible as he’s never seen her face. That is, until it turns out she’s working as his lawyer on his contract negotiations with his brother, Alistair.

Kim can’t deny her attraction to Erik. The heat she feels with him is intense and it’s only a matter of time before they surrender to their desires, but something haunts her. Is Erik really the man of her dreams? If so, can he grow fur and purr? And what about the terrible feeling she has about Alistair and the contract? How far is he willing to go to get his hands on the company Erik owns?

What will Kim do when she discovers Erik’s secret? Will she turn her back on him, or will she complete the mating and become like him so they can be together forever?

I know, I’ve been stacking the deck lately with Felicity Heaton books. The thing is, she offered a bunch of her books free at the beginning of the month. I think that it has been sufficiently established that I can’t turn down free. In Heat, the first book in the series, wasn’t free. However, the second book, Mating Call was. Because I’m nothing, if not a thorough reader, I had to pick up the first book before I read the second. Right? In the process of plowing through these freebies, I discovered something. I really like Felicity Heaton’s books. Who knew?

Felicity Heaton created a great spin on the whole shifter concept with In Heat. I liked the new twist. It’s one of the reasons why I feel that no one single author will ever ‘own’ a paranormal. Changing the rules, adding a new dimension, all of these things keep the story fresh. I’ve read other shifter paranormal romances where at least one mate dreams of the other, but not one where both of them do. Also the whole idea of the female being ‘in heat’ adds to the uniqueness. Beyond that, Heaton’s ability to make you feel the emotions of her characters and sympathize with them takes the story beyond the heat of the romance. It’s definitely there, but there’s so much more to the story than just the hot and steamy scenes.

Once I picked up this book I couldn’t put it down. I found myself getting wrapped up in the mystery, romance and action. Erik was determined to not push Kim. He was also determined not to lose her. Kim knew nothing of the world she was suddenly thrown into and she didn’t accept it readily. All of that combined made this a great paranormal romance.

The only complaint that I have, and it’s a small one, is that the characters seem to voice the same internal arguments with themselves more than once. It wasn’t enough to deter from the story and probably not worth mentioning, just something I noticed.

The best part about In Heat is that is the first of at least two books. Mating Call continues the story between Erik and Kim and I can’t wait to see what Heaton has in store for them next. ;)