I am a huge fan of Shelly Laurenston's shifters. They've been my guilty pleasure for a long time. Why guilty? Her characters are such over the top and laugh-out-loud funny caricatures of Southerners (with names like Sissy Mae and Bobby Ray, what do you expect?), I feel like I should be offended - but I'm not, I'm too busy laughing at the crazy situations they get into.
Big Bad Beast
Paperback: 320 pages
Publish Date: May 1, 2011
From the author's website:
When it comes to following her instincts, former Marine Dee-Ann Smith never holds back. And this deadly member of a shifter protection group will do anything to prove one of her own kind is having hybrids captured for dogfights. Trouble is, her too-cute rich-boy boss Ric Van Holtz insists on helping out. And his crazy-like-a-fox smarts and charming persistence are making it real hard for Dee to keep her heart safe...
Ric can't believe his luck. He's wanted this fiercely-independent she-wolf from day one, but he never expected teamwork as explosive as this. And now is his last chance to show Dee what she needs isn't some in-your-face Alpha male-but a wily, resourceful wolf who'll always have her back in a fight…and between the sheets.
The prologue to Big Bad Beast is one of the best I've read - Ric sees Dee-Ann in his uncle's office when he's six years old and knows she's the one:
25 years later, Ric is working in his family's restaurant and is also a supervisor for The Group, a sort of shapeshifter CIA. They're working on finding and shutting down a ring of illegal "hybrid-shifter fights" - hybrids are being captured and forced into fighting to the death.
Like her father before her, Dee-Ann is a former Marine who now works for The Group in a more hands-on capacity: she's good at killing and doesn't think twice about it. Ric assigns her to work as part of a team to find out who's financing the illegal fights and stop them by any means necessary.
Even after all these years, Ric still has it bad for Dee-Ann but hasn't acted on his feelings because he doesn't want to scare her off. He knows he'll have to use his brains to get her to see that he's the one for her. There's almost a Romeo & Juliet feel to their relationship, as the Van Holtz's and Smith's have been bitter enemies for years. Both Ric and Dee-Ann have been warned off each other by their parents based on their families alone.
Ric and Dee-Ann's chemistry was off the charts - I loved how he turned the tables and made her chase him! And once she caught him, ooohhh! These two were sizz-a-ling!
Big Bad Beast brought back a lot of characters from previous books - the lions, hyenas,and bears. Bo Novikov was back with his charts and need for order, and oh how Ric loved to mess with those charts! Bo's mate Blayne (Teacup), with her master plan for getting Ric and Dee-Ann together - project Wolf/Wolf - was great.
In Big Bad Beast, Ms. Laurenston blends a fabulous storyline of the hybrid thieves, with Ric and Dee-Ann's romance, Ric's issues with his father, and highlights some of the younger hybrid shifters that we've met in previous books. I'm hoping some of the younger characters will eventually get their own stories, as I don't see these series ending anytime soon.
My one complaint is that I couldn't keep all the side characters straight. Even though I've read all but one of her previous books, throwing so many of the characters together got a bit confusing for me because her shifter world is so large. I wonder if she has some sort of chart to keep them all separate.
In summary, another fabulous installment to the Pride series. I can't wait for the next book!
This book was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.