Cruel Mate by Sam Crescent

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The Alpha Shifter Collection, 18

Ashley is riding high after finally becoming a member of the pack. On that fateful night, the best and worst things happen to her. Not only does she turn into a wolf, but she finds her mate. None other than the pack’s nomad alpha, Phoenix. He doesn’t want her as his mate.

All he's ever needed was his bike and the freedom of the open road—until Ashley. Phoenix knows he's made a mistake by rejecting Ashley. Nothing else matters to him. Each time he visits the pack he hopes to see her, but she's perfected the art of avoiding him—until he decides to stay.

Ashley wants to stay mad at Phoenix to protect herself, but with every passing day she learns more about their aloof alpha. She wants to give herself to him completely, but will she be risking more than her body?

He left once. He rejected her once. He’d been cruel. Is there any chance that he's really changed?

 

Excerpt:

Ben and Leah were already upset with Ashley’s decision to leave. They had voiced their concerns and their lack of support. They didn’t want her to leave, certainly not the pack.

No one would understand why she had to leave. It hurt. There was nothing but pain every single day she was with the pack. She had lived with that pain, hoping it would get better, hoping she’d stop thinking about Phoenix, or that she’d at least find someone to move on. But there was no way she could do that to Daniel, even though he offered himself all the time, which made her sad. He deserved someone better than her, someone who was going to love him for him.

“Is that what this is about? You want to punish your parents and your boss because of me?” Phoenix asked.

She snorted. “Get over yourself.” She grabbed her bag and started walking away, heading toward home.

Ashley didn’t get very far, as she wasn’t just stopped but thrown over Phoenix’s shoulder and carried none too gently away from the town. They entered the forest and when they were far enough away, she slapped his back.

“Put me down. I have no idea what you’re doing or why, but you put me down now!” She growled.

Anger worked its way up until she couldn’t control herself anymore and she bit him, on the ass. He was so infuriating.

“Ow!” He came to a stop near his home, where he lowered her to the ground.

Ashley wasn’t able to catch her balance and she ended up on her ass. “What the hell are you doing?”

“Don’t you see?” he asked.

“See what?” she asked, getting to her feet.

He spun her around, wrapped his arms around her body, and made her look across the forest at his home.

She noticed the leaves had been gathered up and made it look … neat. Ashley had always loved the old alpha’s house, not that she’d ever been invited or visited him while he’d been alive. While her parents were busy, she would wander the woods on her own and explore the outside of his home, which she loved. Even now, the house was beautiful. Set back as some kind of villainous fairy tale’s home, she found it had a certain charm about it.

“I’m not going anywhere. I’m here to stay.”

She shook her head. “I don’t care.”

“Damn it, Ashley, what will it take?”

She shoved his hands away and spun around to face him. “Everything. Don’t you get that? You think because you’re sticking around this time and showing me a small bit of kindness, you expect me to what, lay down, show you my belly, and thank you for even giving me the tiniest shred of attention?”

He went to open his mouth but she held her finger up to stop him.

“Don’t even think of answering that with a smart-ass answer. I get it. You think … ugh, you think this is easy for me. Do you have any idea what it’s been like these past five years?”

She hated how her voiced wavered. She wasn’t going to cry. She refused to allow those tears to fall. It wasn’t fucking fair. He was so strong. He’d left town, multiple times. He’d gotten on his bike and ridden off into the sunset like it was nothing. All the time she had to focus on his cutting words of rejection. She had to live with being the first woman and wolf to have been rejected.

“Do you know you ruined one of the best days of my life? I was riding high from my transition. Not only had I graduated high school, I’d gotten through my transition. I was a wolf, finally. I had my place in the pack. The beer tasted rancid, but from everything that happened, I felt sick.”

“A wolf’s first time is hard,” Phoenix said.

“So I left. I … I think I felt you before you were cruel to me. Before you said what you did. Before you rejected me. I felt you, and then, what were you going to do?” she asked. “Strangle me? Get rid of the evidence that you had a fucking fat mate?”

Phoenix frowned. “What are you talking about?”

“Don’t do that,” she said.

“I’m not doing anything. I never once told you, you were fat.”

Series:
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Product Reviews

Score: 5 out of 5 (based on 26 ratings)
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4/5
Yep, still love Sam Crescent
Written by Amy T on 22nd Jan 2023

Yep, still love Sam Crescent. The conflict resolved in a way that seemed realistic and Phoenix's reasoning became clear and semi-understandable

5/5
This might be the best one yet
Written by Cindy V on 22nd Jan 2023

I have read the entire series and this might be the best one yet. When Ashley is 18 she gets her wolf and finds her mate, Phoenix, reluctant alpha of her pack. Phoenix is 40 and a nomad and doesn't think he wants a mate and cruelly rejects Ashley. Ashley then spends the next 5 years avoiding Phoenix when he comes into town and considers leaving the pack. Phoenix spends those 5 years regretting his decision but since he grew up among humans he had the human mentality that he thinks that he is just too old for Ashley. What he doesn't realize is that he words he said that day when he rejected her, had lasting hurt for Ashley. Phoenix spent most of the novel proving his worth and devotion by quite a bit of groveling to get Ashley's forgiveness. Ashley is no pushover and it takes her some time to get past the cruel words and actions from 5 years before. There was a depth of emotion in this book that is sometimes missing in past books in the series. I also liked the character development and the groveling and that Ashley didn't give in to easily.

5/5
Cruel Mate
Written by Eva H on 22nd Jan 2023

Huh... The rejection scene was... not kind. Poor Ashley. Unfortunately, on the day of her transition, Phoenix struck her with his brutal rejection. This shapes her accordingly and leads to the fact that she does everything in the following 5 years to avoid him. - Well, if Mister nomad biker didn't lay an egg with it himself. Because at some point you can no longer escape the pull of the mate bond. He also has to realize that Ashley interpreted his words completely differently than he meant them. - So what to do? - Grovel (Big time)! And be sneaky (The big boy plays the alpha card here). ... Ah.. I really liked that part. Also that the plot primarily revolves around the couple; without other distractions. That fitted very well here. The story was nice to read.

4/5
This was a fun quick read!
Written by Mary D on 22nd Jan 2023

This was a fun quick read! This is a second chance after Ashley’s (heroine) fated mate rejected her in a brutal way. They have to build a relationship and reconcile those lost 5 years. I loved both main characters. I felt so badly for them and Phoenix’s background was so tragic. I understand why he rejected her. Their chemistry was

5/5
ARC Review of Cruel Mate by Sam Crescent
Written by The Dragon Den Book Blog on 22nd Jan 2023

A shifter/mate rejection romance that is another added favourite from this fabulous author. Ashley has just turned eighteen and shifted into her wolf for the first time. Happy and excited, she did not expect to walk outside and meet her mate so sudden...and to be cruely rejected by him all at once after a steamy first kiss. To make it all the more complicated, her mate was her pack's nomad alpha, and after breaking her heart he has left again. Pheonix was too old to be with Ashley, a beautiful curvy young woman just having entered adulthood. Five years later, he's had enough of the travelling. His bike no longer appeals to him. The open road means nothing. He misses the little community he became responsible for...as well as certain young wolf who is making sure to avoid him. He cannot keep ignoring her. The issue of her age still lingers but he can no longer fight the urge to claim her as his. Another fantastic shifter romance that I love getting from Sam Crescent. Having being raised from two different worlds really puts the perspective of the age gap issue into play, and how a love can overlook it. Love that Ashley's extreme dieting came up and how it can be very unhealthy.

5/5
Wolf shifters
Written by Barb K on 22nd Jan 2023

When Ashley was eighteen, she had her first transition into a wolf and found her mate. Phoenix was a nomad biker and a wolf shifter. He arrived in town just in time to save the pack and ended up becoming the Alpha. He never stayed more than a few days. One day he goes into a bar and smells something heavenly. He has found his mate but she's only eighteen and he says some things that hurt her. Five years later, Phoenix comes back to town and is ready to claim his mate. Ashley was terribly hurt by him and tries to avoid him. Phoenix will do anything to get Ashley to forgive him. Sex. A biker. A full figured woman. Secrets. Wolf shifters. * Received from Netgalley and voluntarily reviewed it *

5/5
Cruel Mate
Written by Ines H on 22nd Jan 2023

I will say that any rejection from a mate is brutal and this was one of them. I didn't know what to expect but his reasoning was enough for me to forgive him. I liked how everything in the story unraveled and came together. I enjoyed reading it. It's sad for just a moment and then the warmth of instant mate connection is there.

5/5
5 Stars
Written by Adrianna L on 22nd Jan 2023

Still love Sam Crescent. There was a depth of emotion in this book that is sometimes missing in past books in the series. I also liked the character development and the groveling, and that Ashley didn't give in to easily.

5/5
10/10
Written by Bekitalent on 22nd Jan 2023

This shattered my whole heart, then piece by piece put it back together. Absolutely glorious writing, such a fun story with amazing characters. Highly recommend if you're a fan of shifters, spice & all things not-so-nice. If I could, I'd give this an extra star - it's that good

5/5
great
Written by Sua on 22nd Jan 2023

I love this read between Ashley and Phoenix. I truly felt the emotions and the connections with Ashley when she was rejected by her mate. It was interesting to see why Phoenix rejected her and the roots he finally felt he can put down with her and the pack, instead of being a nomad. definitely a great read from start to finish.

4/5
Misguided
Written by Eve S. on 22nd Jan 2023

Cruel mate is a paranormal romance that starts off with a misguided heartbreaking Comments that directly had a negative impact on Ashley the main female character. Her self esteem and self confidence was torn to shreds with a few words from careless words from the Alpha Phoenix. Phoenix is over twenty years older than Ashley he hurts her because he does not believe he is worthy of her. Five years later he can not continue to convince himself being away from her is the best course of action. This book ends with an HEA but it one heck of a ride getting there.

4/5
Belonging!
Written by Anotherdayinparadise on 22nd Jan 2023

I truly enjoyed this story, of figuring out what it means to belong. I liked that Phoenix was open with Ashley about why he initially rejected her. You can also understand Ashley hesitation in believing him. Both characters are strong without being over the top.

5/5
I am IN LOVE with this book!! Off the chart!!
Written by Andrea R on 22nd Jan 2023

The only thing that would have made this better--and it is AMAZING--is if the Alpha could have groveled more. But the chemistry was simply off the charts--SUPER HOT!! This author never ever ceases to deliver a wonderful read--Everyone must read this for sure!

5/5
Love this series!
Written by Diana A on 22nd Jan 2023

I dont know why, but I enjoy the stories of rejection and redemption. How the feeling evolve from confusion to wanting and love, and even more when is his need of her and not the other way. She was still living and avoiding him, miserable, but successful.

5/5
Outstanding!
Written by Becky J on 22nd Jan 2023

Sam Crescent is on my must buy list. I adore all work but shifters are my favorite. Throw in a strong Alpha and a curvy Virgin and you have me hooked. Cruel Mate was outstanding. Kudos!

4/5
Shifter rejected mate romance
Written by AmJoCo on 22nd Jan 2023

I'd say this book is between 3.5 to 4 stars. This book had a few tropes including rejected mate, age- gap, curvy, and shifters. This book is written in both of the main characters POVs. The MMC lives up to the title of the book in the prologue but his reasoning is inconsistent throughout the book. In the beginning it's seems that he has selfish reasons for it being that he doesn't want a younger mate and lives a life on the road but then he changes his reasons to he wanted the FMC to live her life. But geez, he didn't really need to say what he did which caused her to have self-esteem issues. His groveling was on point but I still think she gave in a smidge too fast using the excuse of how he grew up. There's no excuse in treating someone the way he did. The steamy parts were good except their first time they did the deed the scene didn't feel finished because she went into an inner monologue and then, bam, it was the next morning. Overall, I thought the book was good I liked both of the characters and the epilogue was very satisfying. Private feedback

5/5
Love wolf shifters
Written by Jill G on 22nd Jan 2023

This is definitely a different take on an Alpha wolf from any that I have ever read before but I really enjoyed this story. There is a major age gap between Ashley and Phoenix but it appears being fated mates age is not an issue. There is a HEA but Phoenix has to work extremely hard to prove himself to Ashley. I loved the storyline and the H/h are great together. This story is worth your time reading. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and are voluntarily leaving a review.

5/5
Rejected mate
Written by Michele77 on 22nd Jan 2023

An alpha rejects his mate when she comes of age for his own reasons. Five years later, he is ready to take her as his mate and asks for forgiveness. This story revolves around that path to forgiveness. I was very glad to see that Ashley didn’t immediately forgive Phoenix, but made him work for it. Lots of emotion, and heat. Great read.

5/5
Incredible shifter romance
Written by NikiG on 22nd Jan 2023

Phoenix and Ashley have been mates since tge first day that she shifted. But he thought she was too young snd rejected her. After five years, when he finally sees her again, he knows there’s no way he can get back on the open road. He’s finally found his home… it’s wherever Ashley is. Will she ever be able to forgive him for tearing her out? Can he convince he’s never leaving her again? A fantastic, page turning, dramatic and romantic read!

5/5
So good!
Written by Mistie Best on 22nd Jan 2023

Ashley and Phoenix were so good. Phoenix brutally rejected Ashley when he discovered that they were mates. She was so devastated that she spent the next 5 years avoiding him at all costs. Phoenix realized his mistake almost immediately but could never fix it because she avoided him. Watching him figure out how to overcome the hurdles of his mistake was really good. I love a good redemption story and this one was very satisfying.

5/5
Cruel to be kind
Written by Bookbunny on 22nd Jan 2023

Ashley’s transformation went smooth. Unfortunately, her mate was cruel. And let me tell you I was crying. Phoenix was a lone wolf. He didn’t need a pack. But this town needed to rid itself of the evils of the one they had. He was too weak. Now he is their alpha. However, he certainly didn’t expect to find his mate. He didn’t want one and made sure that Ashley knew it. But the only problem is his wolf wanted her and he couldn’t stay away. Now he needs to fix a wrong and show his mate that he truly does need her. Ashley isn’t fooled. She remembers and she keeps her distance. I really felt for her. It’s hard being a BFF woman and to feel rejection from the beginning doesn’t make it easy. Phoenix could have be less cruel. I personally wanted to slap his face. We do learn about his past and it sort of helps but not. He needed to win her back and prove he really wanted her.

4/5
Too young or too old?
Written by Laura S. on 22nd Jan 2023

Another good Alpha shifter story from this author! Phoenix was named Alpha to Ashley's pack after he saved the pack from an attack and killed their cowardly alpha. He wasn't sure how to be an alpha though, since he was pretty much a nomad. One of the times he came back to visit the pack, he smelled his mate, Ashley, who was celebrating her 18th birthday and having her first shift. Phoenix was 40, which he thought was too old for her, not realizing that werewolves aged slowly and age wasn't an issue in their world. Before too long, Phoenix realized he messed up big time! Will he be able to win Ashley back? He has his work cut out for him, since Ashley want's nothing to do with him! Will love overcome their differences? Can he learn how to be an alpha with or without Ashley? Read on for another hard hitting Alpha romance!

4/5
Cruel mate
Written by Chandee on 22nd Jan 2023

Spoliers**** MY NEW FAVORITE OF THE 18 OF THE SHIFTER COLLECTIONS. Sam did not disappoint with this book of the alpha shifters collection. The pain Ashley went through being rejected by phoenix , i felt that to my core. When she reminded him of the exact words he said to her, it showed the reader that she definitely felt them to her core. I think Having the parents make comments of their daughter’s behavior since her transition night made phoenix realize have badly he actually hurt her, and how his rejection of her without telling her at the time why he was rejecting , did some actual emotion damage. The heart to heart talks they had during the reconstruction of the alpha house definitely paved the way for reconciliation in my opinion . I also feel the Daniel expressing anger in Ashley keeping the mating with alpha and expressing how lucky she was really changed her mind. This is definitely my new favorite!

5/5
Great story
Written by PHOENIX96 on 22nd Jan 2023

When Wolf shifter Ashley first turned she discovered her mate was no other than nomad pack alpha Phoenix, but he made it clear he didn't want her as his mate Now 5 years on, Ashley has avoided Phoenix on his brief visits to the pack over the years, but this time he wants her but is he to late? Well written steamy fated mates, rejected, second chance, shifter, age gap romance.

4/5
This was a quick and spicy read!
Written by Amanda P on 22nd Jan 2023

This was a quick and spicy read! Couldn’t put the book down and finished it in two sittings! I like a fast read in between looong books. It was easy and accessible language and I had such a good time reading it. I love a good paranormal/fantasy romance, it’s my fave genre. Never read anything by this author before but now I’m looking up her other books to read!

4/5
Not your typical shifter romance
Written by Allison R on 22nd Jan 2023

This is not your typical shifter romance. Ashley grew up as a member of the pack and was eagerly awaiting finding her mate. The night of her first shift she found him and the attraction was off the charts for Ashley, unfortunately her newly found mate was the pack’s nomad alpha Phoenix, who didn’t seem to feel the same way as Ashley. Fast forward a few years of steadfast avoidance by Ashley and her worst nightmare has been realized. Phoenix is putting down his nomad roots and moving to the pack permanently, however she soon finds out there’s no way to avoid their predestined relationship. So at first Phoenix seems like the biggest jerk but when you find out what has hardened his heart and realize his cruel taunts were made out of desperation you come to realize he was trying to do right by Ashley. Those of you familiar with this author will not be disappointed by the super hot connection between the two leads and the steamy flirting attempts from Phoenix will have you looking for a fan. My only wish was that the story was a bit longer as everything seemed to happen super fast, especially give the flash forward of time, but still a nice quick and steamy alpha male (literally in this instance), shifter romance. 4 stars. I voluntarily read and reviewed an arc copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.