by Sharon Shinn
Maria has spent nearly half her life now lying about her lover Dante. She doesn't mention his name to her family or friends. Her coworkers aren't even aware that she's seeing someone. Keeping him hidden is easier than coming up with an excuse for why he's only around for about a week out of every month, and much easier than telling the truth: that he spends the rest of the month in some kind of animal shape, living the life of a wolf or a mountain lion or a bear. When he is with her, Maria is blazingly happy; when he vanishes again, usually with no more farewell than a terse note ("Had to go"), her heart breaks again. And then she starts seeing news reports from places near her home of people mauled to death by some unidentified creature.
Interesting departure for Sharon Shinn in that it has a contemporary setting; she usually goes for intricately designed secondary worlds. This is a fast moving story with great characters; Dante's siblings (also shapeshifters) and Maria's coworkers are sharply drawn.