Pretend Mate by Angelique Voisen

Pretend Mate by Angelique Voisen
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (69 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Broke and on the run from a vicious murderer, Dario Jacobs signs up with a mysterious match-matching organization out of desperation. Enigmatic self-made billionaire werejaguar Von Prince needs someone to play his pretend mate. Dario and Von are an unlikely match, and yet Dario finds himself instantly attracted to the dangerous and dominating shifter.
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Von never thought he’d find his mate through an agency but now that Dario’s within his grasp, he doesn’t want to let him go. Even if his human is hiding secrets from him, Von’s determined to unearth all of the skeletons in Dario’s closet and slay all of Dario’s demons. Von’s willing to break all the rules because in the end, Dario will be his to claim.

Dario had decided to leave town in a big hurry when the local werewolf mob boss killed Dario’s older brother, Dennis. Having signed up for Perfect Match while drunk one night, Dario had previously been ducking the return calls insisting they’d found Dario his “perfect mate”. Dario was leery – presuming the company wanted to set him up with some rich shifter who wanted a human mate and preferred to pay for the privilege. Dario didn’t really believe any of this mate stuff – but he took having his brother murdered and his own neck on the line next very seriously. So Dario went to pretend for a while with Von Prince. Only it quickly becomes clear not much about their chemistry is pretend, and the trouble Dario was running from was more than capable of hunting him down and following him.

I found this to be an interesting and intense short story. While I wasn’t too much of a fan of the whole “insta-lust” feelings between Von and Dario, it’s hard to fault the author when really there wasn’t a whole lot of time for the two men to fall slowly in love and ease themselves into it. While I found their chemistry and sex super hot, it bugged me a little that Dario changed his mind very quickly from wanting to use Von’s penthouse as a safety net and hide-out – and keep his “relationship” with Von platonic and fake – and into pretty much forgetting everything except the desire and hunger he felt for Von. Dario had some legitimate, enormous problems on his plate – the death of his brother and having a shifter mob-boss out for his blood – and so mentally ditching all that and wanting to have endless sex with Von just felt like a little too big of a leap for me to follow in the span of a few pages.

I was really pleased though that the conflict with the mob-boss wasn’t left lagging – or shelved completely – and feel the author did a very good job juggling the threads of Von’s desire, the growing real relationship between Von and Dario and the danger from the villain. It helped give the book the feel to me of having multiple facets and not just being too heavily weighted towards the erotic shenanigans between Dario and Von. I also really enjoyed Von’s friend-cum-bodyguard, Marco, and would happily read a story about him if one appears in the future

With plenty of steamy sex and a tiny hint of rags-to-riches Cinderella fantasy thrown in, overall I found this to be an interesting and good read.

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