Monday, May 9, 2011

Review: Big Bad Beast by Shelly Laurenston

Big Bad Beast
~Shelly Laurenston

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Brava
Publish Date: May 1, 2011
ISBN-10: 0758231709
ISBN-13: 978-0758231703

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.
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.

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:

"She's perfect for me, Uncle Van."
"No, Ulrich. She's not. From what I can tell she's just like her father and that means she needs to be avoided at all possible costs. Understand?"
"I understand, Uncle Van."
"Good," Van said, reversing out of the parking spot.
"I'll wait until we're both older," the kid went on, "and then I'll nail her."
~Big Bad Beast, page 7

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.

(between Novikov and Ric)
"I need to borrow a house. I know you have several locally."
"What do you want a house for?"
"Why do you care?"
Dee's finger tightened on the trigger, her lips pulling back over her fangs. But Ric made her lower the gun, his hand firm against hers, pressing it down onto the bed.
"You have your own houses," Ric argued. "One with a seal farm."
"Not around here. And Blayne wants a party."
"What's wrong with your apartment? It's massive."
"Do it there," Ric reasoned.
"I don't want people around my stuff."
"But you want them around mine?"
"I don't care about yours."
~Big Bad Beast, page 189/190

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!

My Rating:

This book was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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