Reading level: Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Trade Paperback: 407 pages
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Release date: March 27, 2012
Series: Pride #7
Reviewed by: Stéphanie
Source: ARC provided by the publisher
He's big, burly, and way smarter than your average shapeshifting bear. He's also about to get trapped by own his game. . .
Lou Crushek is a reasonable, mellow, easygoing kind of guy. But once someone starts killing the scumbags he works so hard to bust, that really gets under his fur. Especially when that someone is a curvy she-tiger with a skill set that's turning Crush's lone-bear world upside down--and bringing his passion out of hibernation. . .
As a member of an elite feline protection unit, Marcella Malone has no problem body-dropping anyone who hunts her kind. But Crush is proving one major pain in her gorgeous tail. The only reason she's joined forces with him is to track down the wealthy human who's got her entire species in his ruthless sights. It sure isn't because Crush's stubborn and contrary attitude is rubbing Cella in all the right ways...
This is the first book that I’ve read from this series. Now usually, I’m not one to read a series out of order but this book sounded too intriguing to wait until I’ve caught up with the series. After a little investigating, I realized that, from book to book, the main characters are always different, so it bothered me even less to jump in so far into the series. I’m glad I decided to read it right away because it was an enjoyable paranormal romance. It’s exactly what I was in the mood for so it was perfect.
However, I must admit that it took me some time to really get into the book because this shapeshifting world is unlike any that I’ve encountered before, and it was a bit complicated. Especially with its many shapeshifting law enforcement agencies like The Group, the KZS and the BPC. Oh, and sometimes the regular NYPD. I’m sure by reading the previous books, I would have gotten a smoother introduction to all these agencies but, like I said, I was a bit to excited to read this novel.
Especially when I realized that the main female character, Cella, was in a pro shapeshifting hockey league. And a co-ed league on top of that. Awesome! Obviously, in real life, you would never see a female play in the NHL but as a shapeshifting feline, she was able to play with the boys and excel at what she did, which is bash every one that gets in her way. Since I’m a huge fan of hockey, I became a huge fan of Cella, just because of what she did for a living (she did have an other job as a sniper for the KZS, but I won’t go into details). Sure, Cella has an annoying and rowdy character at times but her fierceness and dedication made up for everything. I also really admired her dedication to raising her daughter. Everything was planned so that she could give her daughter the best of everything, and that was really touching.
Cella might not have been my favourite female lead but I did fall in love Crush, the typical stand-up cop, always doing the right thing kind of guy. I just wanted to give him a big hug since he seemed so huggable as a shape-shifting polar bear. Just reading about his size and muscles made me swoon. He was the boy next door with an immovable and strong, serious character, and was obsessed with everything hockey. He might have been broody from time to time but that’s what made him so charming.
I admit the storyline did not move much beyond the romance story but we did encounter a serial killer that hunted shape-shifters just for fun and cruelty. But what the book lacked in the mystery/action department, Shelly Laurenston made up for it with the romantic tension. Cella’s habit of calling Crush her pretend boyfriend was entertaining since, as readers, we all knew he’d end up being her real boyfriend eventually. The relationship between those two was interesting and amusing. Their playful banter and quick dialogue was funny and natural. I could actually imagine the characters in my mind, going at it with words (and with their fists, most of the time, since lets face it, they are shape-shifters). Like the title hints, this really is a “boy meets girl” story. Although, I must admit, not every “boy meets girl” story has an awesome hotel room scene that includes handcuffs. That was pretty hot.
Despite the lack of storyline beyond the romantic plot, I really did enjoy the book. It might have been predictable and unrealistic on occasion, but I will absolutely continue reading this series. I kind of regret not having read the previous books before. It would have given me a lot more background information about the secondary characters and the different shifter groups. However, trust me when I say it can be read as a stand-alone. The author gives us enough information and since the story mainly revolves around Cella and Crush, I never got lost in the romantic plot. I would suggest this book to anyone who enjoys a good romance, especially those of you who are true hockey fans.