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Shifting Love    by Constance O'Day-Flannery order for
Shifting Love
by Constance O'Day-Flannery
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2004 (2004)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

TOR debuts its new paranormal romance line with Shifting Love by Constance O'Day-Flannery, who's garnered something of a reputation for her previous time-travels and paranormals. She came out of retirement to kick off TOR's new line. Maggie O'Shea belongs to a centuries-old secret Society devoted to bringing the world back into 'balance'. Most Society members have special gifts they use to help others, including the ability to shape shift and transform themselves into a host of animal species. Maggie is a shape shifter whose current assignment is to help entrepreneur Julian McDonald finally come to terms with the loss of his wife and son in a tragic accident, thereby allowing him to follow his pre-destined path.

Maggie feels love for every man she's helped, but as soon as she meets Julian she realizes that he is 'the one' who could well fill the void in her life. Unfortunately her falling in love with Julian doesn't fit the Society's agenda. So, once Maggie is satisfied that she's done all she can for Julian she returns to her other life as proprietor of a successful book store. But Julian has no intention of giving up on Maggie, no matter how many methods she devises to drive him away. She's succeeded in healing his icy soul and opening his heart to the possibilities of finding love again and moving on with his life. And yes, even opening his mind to possibly fulfilling the pre-ordained destiny the Society has laid out for him. But Julian will willingly walk away from all of it if Maggie isn't by his side.

This story combines various elements: the shape-shifting angle, a centuries old secretive society with an agenda, emotional healing and finding true love. A cast of interesting and believable characters complements every one of these themes. One or two of the characters, including Maggie, tend to go off on somewhat lengthy tangents about their roles and that of the Society - these get a bit preachy and put a crimp in the story's otherwise good pacing. Despite this, the premise and the inclusion of a secretive society make for an absorbing story, with opportunities for a sequel or two. If Shifting Love is any indication of what's to come in TOR's new line, then readers are in for some great stories.

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