Lately, it seems that the large percentage of shifter novels all involve someone "knowing" that the other person (or persons) is their mate. It's destined. All part of some bigger plan or pheromones or kismet. But ... it's not a choice. They're together because they MUST be, not because they want to be.
I don't find that very romantic, to be honest, but I guess I'm in the minority since it seems that being "mated" in some fated way is the chosen theme.
I remember, way back when I was in high school, I was a huge fan of the the "Elfquest" series of comic books (now known as "graphic novels") by Richard and Wendy Pini. In the series I read, Cutter and Leetah "recognize" each other.
Recognition is basically nature's way of ensuring survival of the species and when you recognize another elf, you're driven to mate. It has nothing to do with emotion, and everything to do with the physical side of things. Pregnancy is all but assured from such a joining.
But ... Cutter and Leetah deny their recognition and they begin to struggle with physical ramifications. Leetah is disgusted by Cutter -- he's part wolf and not a pure elf -- but they begin to feel ill. Eventually, they succumb to their need, but ... and this is the important part: they are NOT in love.
They do eventually fall in love ... but it's a difficult path. And it's a choice, not a command. And many times in the series, there are couples who "recognize" each other, do the deed and never see each other again.
Maybe reading that series is what made the idea of being "destined" to be together a little less than romantic for me. I want my protagonists to want to be together, to choose to be together, to allow themselves to fall in love.
What about you? Do you love the destined mate books? Or do you feel more like I do? I'd love to know!