Author: Shelly Laurenston
Publication: Brava (April 26, 2011)
Description: 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.
My Thoughts: Shelly Laurenston has a knack for writing unconventional relationships. Her latest book is no exception. At first glance, Dee Ann Smith who is country bred, tactles, and always ready for a fight doesn't seem to have anything in common with Ric Van Holtz who is a rich, wily, and sophisticated chef and restaurant owner. But both are involved in tracking down the people who are capturing hybrids and using them in fights for entertainment. Ric knows that Dee Ann is the woman for him even though their families hate each other.
It isn't only this relationship that fills the book. This story also talks about a number of unlikely friendships and reintroduces us to characters from earlier stories. Dee Ann, as a wolf, has a fierce rivalry with a tiger who is also part of the group trying to protect the hybrids. Dee Ann has a love hate relationship with Blayne who is herself a wolf-dog hybrid and who irritates her with her cheerfulness and hyperactivity. Ric has a troubled relationship with his father and is using a tough-love relationship with a younger cousin who screwed up, was forced out of the Pack, and is now in trouble. Ric also has a wide variety of friendships with shifters of various kinds.
The humor in this book wasn't as overt as in some of Laurenston's books but I still found myself smiling frequently. The jibes as some of the characters sparred with each other caused me to do lots of grinning. Overall, though, the topics in this one were more serious -- Ric's unhappiness with his father and his father's actions and the hybrid investigation didn't really lend themselves to humor.
I would recommend this to lovers of Laurenston's style. If you have read the other stories, this one is a great addition to the series. The romance was less "hearts and flowers" than "wear her down until she gives in" but Dee Ann is not the "hearts and flowers" type. Sometimes the romance took a back seat to the other issues being dealt with in the story.
It had been ages since he'd been on a date? He knew that! What would be the point of going on a date with a woman he knew would never be who he wanted? It wasn't that he was a saint or anything, but Ric had never been one of those one-night stand guys. He never knew how to extricate himself from those situations the day after. It was a skill he simply lacked. Like his inability to golf well.I bought this book from Amazon. You can find the trade paperback or ebook version there.