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The Mating - Nicky Charles 4*!!! If you're looking for a romantic and fluff read to momentarily escape from reality, look no further!

What an enjoyable read! I stumbled upon this book by chance while looking for another werewolf/sifter book. I saw that it was free here on Goodreads and after looking at several positive reviews I thought, 'Eh, why not?' So I began and let me tell you, from the first page alone, I was hooked.

Elise's world was rocked when she came home one day to find out that her alpha (literally, alpha wolf) father had set up her marriage to an alpha from a different pack to form an alliance between their packs. Not only does she have no say in the matter, she also has no time to even resist as she was to be mated that very night. Her mate, Kane, is a handsome and kind leader, older than her by a few years. Their union went without a hitch and before she knew it, she was on her way to live with her new pack.

What started out as something she dreaded turned out to be much more pleasant than she imagined. The members of her new pack are nice and welcoming - most of them anyway. There was, of course, a jealous bitch she-wolf who seemed to hate her from the get go. And what's annoying is that her mate seems to be oblivious to her true colors due to a shared history that he could not let go of.

On the positive side, Elise has made new friends and has gotten to know Kane better. And the more she gets to know him, the more she finds herself falling for him. But does he feel the same way or is he simply going through the motions of an arranged marriage? Will the two mated couple finally reach that point where they are truly 'mated?' You'd have to read on to find out. =)

The book, as I've said, is truly enjoyable despite being predictable. Elise could sometimes come off as stupid and naive and the writing is... how can I put it... I felt that the author had to spell out the events and emotions even though you can obviously tell, you know what I mean? But if the intention was for it to be a mindless read, then I guess it was successful in that regard. While I can point out a number of other faults I find in this novel I can't really complain because, firstly, the author acknowledged that she is NOT a writer and that she is doing this as a hobby and it was not intended to be published. Secondly, it is FREE. I'm not saying that authors have free reign to be mediocre in what they produce. I just think that I would feel more compelled to complain if I had to pay for it and found it disastrous. Which, this ISN'T, at all. The storyline is simple BUT it's good. And can I just say that I love how the author used the 'Canadian' spelling in order to attract the readers from her homeland? That small gesture is very thoughtful and I like her more for that.

My favourite part of this book would have to be Kane. Several contemporary novels I've loved have the stereotypical alpha-male as the hero, and most of the time, they're depicted as jerks, even if they redeem themselves later on. Kane is an alpha in the truest sense. He's a leader, a strong one, who seeks the welfare of his pack above himself. He has been nothing but kind and loving to Elise and it's no wonder why his people all respect and revere him. And he's not indestructible or heartless. He hurts and feels the same emotions like everyone else, and so he has moments where his judgement is clouded. But ultimately, he has a sound mind and a giving heart. I just ADORED him.

I will definitely be giving the rest of the series a chance. I hope Elise, with age and experience as an alpha-female, will smarten up and be a leader alongside her mate. I am intrigued with Ryne, the alpha in the next book, and I'm beyond excited that he found himself a territory in Ontario, Canada. Woot woot!