Yep. The Smith wolf pack is back. Along with the van Holtz pack, the Llewellan Pride, all the members of the Carnivore Shifter Team, and everyone’s assorted friends, family and pack members. And any strays that happen along. But when you add in the Malone family, especially Cella “Bare Knuckles” Malone, She-Tiger, hockey enforcer for the Marauder, ex-Marine sniper, daughter to Butch “Nice Guy” Malone and hit-woman for Katzenhaus Securities, or KZS, the international feline protection agency. . . well, things get “interesting” in a very “Holy Homicide, Batman!” sort of way. Gotta love me some Cella!
Bear Meets Girl is another of Shelly Laurenston’s Pride series, and is just as good as all the others in the series. Although, I have to admit, the cover is really bad. As in, sticking “Cella” down there at Crushek’s feet like some prissy little weakling really sort of ticked me off. As IF Bare Knuckles Malone would whimper and mewl at some dude’s feet!
Anyway, off my “Hate the Cover” Rant Horse (and what is up with that wimpy title, anyway? Just sayin’.) and on to the story. I had read the book before I saw it on Netgalley, but who could pass up being able to read any of Shelly’s Pride series once more? I mean, the books are freakin’ awesomesauce!!! I love humour in my urban fantasy/paranormal romance, and Shelly always offers something fun. In this case, watching poor Crushek wake up from a horrendous hangover in bed with a feline of all things (He knew lots of felines, but he didn’t spend time around them because they were, as he’d already stated and everyone knew, totally untrustworthy. It was a fact. Look it up!) he only came to the party because, well, yeah, he was depressed. Well, he was getting transferred, of all things! And Crushek hates change. Like the fact that his favorite shoe store moved six years ago. And he still goes by and stares in the window and wishes that things didn’t change. At least, until the people in the tea shop called the cops on the meth dealer standing around outside the window and scaring them all. Well, when you are a 6’9” 350-lb polar bear shifter who works as an undercover cop (yes, normally as a meth dealer. Sometimes a hired killer. But mostly? Yeah, a meth dealer) that isn’t all that hard to understand. But that whole ‘change’ thing? Crushek just doesn’t care for it. Like, At. All.
But change is here, and what happens? He finds himself mixed up in all sorts of change. Oh, and poachers. And taxidermists. And let’s not forget Novikov. And Nice Guy Malone. And a whole lot more of his hockey heroes. Because while he may not be able to play all that well, Crushek is a serious (and I mean really serious) hockey fan. And the fact that Cella, who he is sure is a whacked out female who is a danger to her toddler daughter (Snort. Giggle. Wait till you meet Cella’s “toddler” daughter. . .) keeps pretending to be his girlfriend, sitting in his lap and basically driving him right out of his tree? Ha! Gotta adore some Cella!
Shelly Laurenston’s Pride series is in my top five of the best paranormal series out there. The characters are amazingly fun, diverse, and consist of quite a few asskicker women who don’t put up with any sort of garbage from anything or anyone. The underlying storyline of the families is well laid out and developed. But what I really like is her continuing story of how the shifters are working hard against humans, and even other shifters, who are running hunting camps where shifters, some as young as six, are turned loose on private preserves, hunted and slaughtered by anyone who has the money to pay – their bodies then stuffed, mounted, and kept in the homes of the rich and depraved. It isn’t the animals who are the true monsters.
The story gets deeper, and meaner, this time around. The BPC, the Bear Preservation Council, and their leader, Peg Baissier, are up to something. Isolationists, the BPC don’t like that Crushek works for the police department. Something bad is going down, and Peg seems determined that Crushek will fall into line. And if that means Crushek’s cover was blown, and Crushek himself blown-away, well. The hunters are bad enough. But Peg Baissier may be even more deadly. Especially to Crushek – her foster son.
If you are a lover of PR and UF and haven’t picked up this series after all the praise I have given it, why not? If you like humor, action, truly likable (and hatable) characters, solid world building, and a tight storyline, well, you can’t do much better.
I received this book from the publisher (and Netgalley) in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. I love this whole series!