In most shapeshifter romances, we read about the hero who must mark his mate, how he must bite her, leaving his mark upon her forever more. The drawing of blood is usually symbolic, offering the gift of life to merge the couple together. In most books it’s only the male who marks, while in others it’s both. The bite is sensuous and romantic, the ultimate dominance by the male, the ultimate submission by the female. Yet remarkably she feels no pain, or maybe only a little.
I gotta tell you folks, getting bit is not fun. No seriously! I got bit by a dog last week. It wasn’t the dog’s fault, and it wasn’t mine, yet still I bear the bruise and fang marks to prove it. I’ve worked with dogs one on one for more than 25 years. I’ve trained German Shepherds and Labs, Corgi’s and Collies. I even once came eye to eye with a very angry canary dog. (I still have nightmares over that one) Yet in all that time I’d never been bitten by anything over the size of 5 lbs. This little lady who’s teeth marks I bear is about 45 pounds. The bruise is bigger than the palm of my hand and the four fang marks mostly are different shades of bruise, with one breaking the skin. And it hurt. Ok, I wasn’t screaming in pain, but I’m sure you get the picture. Now when I was bitten, there was no gushing of blood. In fact, the one mark that went deep enough to matter left the oddest mark ever. It didn’t bleed at all, though it was definitely an open cut. (Hmm, maybe she was werewolf after all?) The bite happened in the blink of an eye, and thanks to my own freeze response (not pulling away when it happened) there was no ripping of flesh.
Now I tell you this, not so you’ll feel sorry for me, but so you’ll understand what is being described in a shifter world “bite”. In some books, the saliva from the male is also a pain reliever of sorts, and instead of feeling pain, she feels sheer pleasure. In some, the pain comes first, then the pleasure. In all bites, there is blood drawn.
This leads me to evaluate how the bite is given during the shifter’s mark of their mate. The fangs must be extra sharp, the power tremendous, and the courage of the female, remarkable. The actual feeling of teeth piercing flesh is a sharp stabbing feeling that quickly dulls to a throb.
After having been bitten (Hmm, I don’t think I’ll be changing into a werewolf/dog any time soon though) I have to say that I may be more clear in the future of how bites feel for the mate receiving said wound.
So my question to you is – do you like or dislike the “marking” that occurs so frequently in shifter books? And if you like it, how do you like to see it accomplished? Open pain, where the heroine gives of her heart for the hero? Pain then seduction, where his saliva is like an aphrodisiac, throwing her into massive levels of excitement? Or a mixture of both?
And just how BIG is this mark anyway? For real! If this little dog could bruise me for up to four inches, surely a shifter’s bite is much larger. Or, is it that the shifter is more careful, ensuring the bite does not bruise by placing it at the exact location? Rather than pinch flesh, he pierces. Rather than bite and release, he olds on, extracting the sensuous and delicious blood. The result would be a smaller injury, where there is little free bleeding, and less bruising. His saliva heals the wound quickly, leaving perhaps the scars? A bruise? What?
And for the record, the dear soul who bit me is doing just fine. We are now the best of buds, and thank heaven her rabies shots are up to date.