A Swift Herd for Solstice (Heartwarming) by Andi Van
Short Story: 50pgs
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Martin Jones is driving home after working retail on Black Friday when he nearly hits an elk in the middle of the road. A drunk elk. A drunk, talking elk. Martin is pretty sure he's hallucinating—right up until he discovers shape shifter Haven Clarke in his bed the next morning. Their awkward meeting leads to a friendship that quickly deepens, and soon Haven has to take Martin to meet his herd’s leaders. What Martin finds out may change his life forever.
This is a crazy, typical shifter story that starts out funny with Martin meeting a drunk Haven as a talking elk, but ends up with no romance and takes instant love to the extreme.
My first thought after reading the story is: where's the romance? It seems like it is skipped. The characters jump into the "I love you" routine immediately after they meet (as humans). Haven takes Martin to meet his herd's leaders also immediately after they profess their love. In short, there's too much commitment from Martin to the shifter community when I don't even see his love for Haven.
There is a surprise with the world building about different types of shifters and vampires. There are also interesting methods to try to get Martin to live the same life span as Haven so they can be together forever. However, the intrigue and mysterious air is lost due to the shortness of the book length. All the events in the story seem rushed.
Overall, as a shifter story, there's nothing special in this short story. As a romance book, this fails. However, it is a very happy-go-lucky story that's infused with the holiday spirit. It's guaranteed angst-free and so sugary, it may give you cavities.
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