Hey! I have Holly Bargo here with me, and she’ll be talking about another of her series, Immortal Shifters.
She’s so good I’m going to give you a few details about the books in the Series, and then I’ll pass the mic, sit down, and listen to her!
The Series is Immortal Shifters by Holly Bargo, a Paranormal romance.
Healing from a deserved drubbing at the hands of Atlas Leonidus, Siberian tiger shifter Dmitry Alkaev travels from Cairo to Virginia. The strange compulsion leads him to his mate and a fearsome rival. Faced with a modern woman’s determination to remain independent, Dmitry unleashes charm and ruthlessness to claim her and, he hopes, redeem his honor.
Tessa Hart’s romantic Valentine’s Day weekend ends in utter disaster. Fate drops her into the arms of two big, handsome men who both assert their ownership over her. She wants to remain independent, but finds herself inexorably drawn to Dmitry. He’s tall, sexy, overbearing, and absolutely certain that she belongs to him. The choice, eventually, is hers. Accepting him means the end of life as she knows it and the beginning of a life she cannot fathom.
Once a king and always a hunter, immortal lion shifter Atlas Leonidas captures the woman he recognizes as his mate. Being a modern woman with modern sensibilities, Chloe doesn’t believe him and she resents her captivity. The lion is wily and powerful, but the woman is strong, resourceful, and determined. He captured his mate, but can he keep her?
After a thousand years, immortal polar bear shifter Sindre finally finds his mate—on a talk show. In the city where anything goes, an impromptu wedding is just a taste of what’s to come. Startled into going through the ceremony, Miranda can’t stop the big, virile man from staking his claim on her and releasing her bear. Sindre can’t believe his good luck and will do anything to keep his mate at his side, up to and including taking marital advice from Atlas Leonidus. An independent woman with a successful career, Miranda melts at his touch and shuns his control, except she can’t control her bear.
And here’s Holly!
This series began with a dream, or maybe it was a nightmare. I remember my dream self, newly slender wearing a blue dress I used to own, fluffing long, thick, curly hair that looked an awful lot like Christine Daaé’s as portrayed by Emmy Rossum in Phantom of the Opera. I love that movie. I still remember feeling wet from a rainstorm and the confusion and scuffle of a dreamed murder by gunfire. Powerful stuff.
So, gripped by that dream and needing to regurgitate it to get it out of my mind, I turned it into a novella titled The Barbary Lion. It’s raw, brutal stuff. Heroine Chloe exhibits realistic emotions in response to having been abducted and held captive. Those realistic emotions offended many readers who apparently thought that Stockholm syndrome was more romantic. But I don’t necessarily care to soften the edges of my characters or my stories.
A lot of readers didn’t object quite so much to the hero, Atlas Leonidus, an ancient immortal shapeshifter and the last of his species: Barbary lion. He’s rich, overbearing, ruthless, and autocratic—damned near irredeemable. But he has his good points, being a care for those who serve him and protection of the innocent. Because our early years determine our adult personality, Atlas’ personality fits in with masculine expectations from 1600 years ago.
Reader response to the novella is mixed. One reviewer comments that I didn’t soften the story and, because of that, it works. It’s powerful. I agree.
In that book I introduced a secondary character, Russian Dmity Alkaev, another immortal who shifts into a Siberian tiger. Angry with the dishonor and defeat imposed upon him at the end of The Barbary Lion, Dmitry demanded I write his story and redeem him. This turned out to be a full length novel. In Tiger in the Snow, I gave Dmitry another American mate whom he rescues instead of abducts. Of course, we have relationship conflict, because he’s an overbearing alpha male, too.
Readers apparently like the second book better, although it acquired only one review on Amazon. I fully admit it follows a more predictable trajectory and flouts fewer expectations within the paranormal romance sub-genre. The first and second books are bundled into a single volume titled The Immortal Shifter Duet.
Since I’m a paranormal romance junkie, I come across a lot of bear shifters. They’re usually black bears or grizzly bears, with the occasional Kodiak thrown in. I have yet to read a shifter-based romance in which the hero is a polar bear. Also, the heroes in the genre are almost always American, occasionally English, Scottish, or Canadian. I understand that, as most of these books are written by American authors. I wanted something different than the usual European country of preference, so I set my imagination for Norway.
I kept my heroine American in the third book, too, but needed to do something unique with their first encounter. I think I struck gold in Bear of the Midnight Sun, another full-length novel. My hero and heroine meet on a live Las Vegas talk show. With the hero, Sindre, being older than Dmitry and younger than Atlas, he, too, suffers from overbearing alpha male disease. However, once he has his one true love in hand, everything he does is for her benefit and for her best interests—according to him.
Other than the common theme of this series—immortal shifters—they share many of the same attributes as all my fictional heroes, not the least of which is a single-minded devotion to the women they love. Immediate commitment required. No cheating allowed. Thus far reviews are positive. Apparently, I’m getting better.
Since each story in the series stands on its own with little overlap of plots, a reader can pick up any of them at any time and not be lost. They do, of course, require firm suspension of disbelief, but that’s all part of the fun.
Will I add to the series? Probably. After all, the theme’s pretty loose: a shapeshifter and his mate. The mate need not be fully human. The shapeshifter need not be American nor one of the typical species (e.g., lion, tiger, bear, dragon). What about a raptor, like an eagle, hawk, falcon, or owl? Or an aquatic species, such as dolphin or shark? The possibilities are endless.
About the Author
Holly Bargo is a pseudonym, but really did exist as a temperamental Appaloosa mare fondly remembered for protecting the author’s toddler sons from the playful attention of young colts and for crushing a pager. Holly lives on a southwest Ohio hobby farm with her husband and a small herd of horses, clowder of cats, and one very big dog. They have two sons, one graduating from university in 2019 and the other serving in the military.
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