Mated Hearts by Lilly Rayman is a small collection of two short paranormal romance stories. In the first story "The Last Centaur" we are introduced to Tas who is a centaur and the last of his people. He lives out in the country being the head of his mob of horses and living alone. He loves his life despite missing his family, whom the last of, died many years ago. We are also introduced to Paisley a young woman who finds herself now trapped in a relationship that has become less than desirable in many aspects. When the story starts Paisley is suffering at the hands of her boyfriend, Tommy. Paisley came from Canada to the States to take care of her ailing Aunt who sadly passes away and when she arrived she was quite literally swept off her feet by the seemingly kind Tommy but things changed after Aunt passed away. Tommy changed, or maybe he just showed his true self but the relationship became volatile for Paisley. She finally gets up the courage to leave but before she can she learns about an even darker side of Tommy and the lengths that he will go to get what it is that he wants. Paisley is able to escape him for a moment and during a few days of happiness she meets Tasunke, Tas - the centaur, and she falls in love but will she be able to keep this happiness or will this be taken from her when Tommy comes looking for her?
"The Last Centaur" is well written and beautifully done. Lilly Rayman does such a wonderful job bringing this story together and bringing these characters not only together but to life. This is the first story that I have ever read by Lilly Rayman and I found it so hard to put down once I got started because I wanted to know what was going to happen with Paisley concerning the situation that she found herself in. The romance is sweet and there is just the right amount of heat that draws you and makes you crave more. The ending is not the ending that you will really expect but it is still an ending that will on a level, I believe, leave you satisfied with how the author ends up working it.
"Star Crossed" is the second story in this book and in this story we are quickly introduced to the "Romeo" and the "Juliet" in almost true Shakespeare style. When this story starts we are immediately thrown in as Julie Capaldi and Roman Montana meet in a bar and instinctively know and recognize that they are Fated mates. The thing is is that they are from rival packs and neither of their families are just going to let them be together. Julie's father, the Senator, has plans for Julie to be mated to a wolf from the outside but Julie balks. Roman's father knows that something is going on with Capaldi's and wants to be a step ahead of the game so he starts to make moves. Roman and Julie know that if they are to be together they must act and they must act quickly. But will they be able to escape to be together or is their love doomed to take them to the end?
I absolutely love how this story is so similar to the original "Romeo and Juliet" with the names, where they meet and even the names of the families. The way that they meet and they just feel this instant connection and know that they are meant for each other it's like lightning in a bottle. It captures you and attracts you in so that you want to know...what happens next? Roman knows that sometimes the only way to win a battle is to take away all the options and that's exactly what he does when he goes on the run with Julie and takes the ultimate plunge in sight of both their fathers and some of their pack members. I'll admit I was a bit concerned about what the ending would possibly be for these two but I love how the author surprises me.
These two short stories are very well written and I enjoyed them very much. These two shifter romances, both so unique in their own ways, grab the reader and keep you turning the pages all the way up until the end devouring the story. I think that it is safe to say that this author has just gained themselves a new fan in me because these are the types of stories that I really and truly enjoy. I rate this set - 5 out of 5 stars. If you are a fan of shifter/paranormal romances then I suggest that you pick this little gem up and settle yourself in because you won't want to put it down until the last page is read.
This book was read and reviewed by Seraphia S. for BookBrag.com