The Pride Series by Shelly Laurenston
Over the course of the long Labor Day weekend, I devoured Shelly Laurenston’s Pride series. I was going to do individual reviews for each book but honestly, they all blurred together. So instead, I’m going to do my first series review.
Book 1: The Mane Event
How come all the good-looking ones are insane?
That’s what runs through NYPD cop Desiree “Dez” MacDermot’s mind the minute she hooks up again with her childhood buddy, Mace Llewellyn. It isn’t just the way he stares at her with those too-sexy gold eyes―as if he could devour her on the spot. Or the six-four, built-like-a-Navy Seal bod-o-death. It isn’t even that he sniffs her neck and purrs, making her entire body tingle. It’s more about that disconcerting, shifting-from-man-to-lion thing that unhinges her…and makes her want more.
Mace likes making Dez crazy. In fact, he likes her any way he can get her―in bed, on the desk, here, now, again. Together, they’d always been trouble, but Dez has no idea just how good trouble can feel…
Brendon Shaw, hotel owner and lion shifter, has seen better days. He’s been beaten, had a gun to the back of his head, and had to be rescued by a Pack of shape-shifting wolves. He didn’t think he’d survive the night, much less find the woman of his dreams. And he never thought the woman of his dreams would have a Tennessee accent and wear cowboy boots. Once he sets his sights on her, the predator in him is ready to pounce and never let go.
Ronnie Lee Reed is ready to change her life, and New York City is the place where any girl―even one who runs with a Pack―can redefine herself. First order of business: find a mate, settle down, and stop using men for sex. Even big, gorgeous, lion-shifting, oh-my-what-big-um-paws-you-have men. Then again…
Review: I’m not usually the biggest fan of novellas but these two seemed like complete stories.The reader is introduced to two main couples in the series: Dez and Mace and Brendon and Ronnie Lee.
Book 2: The Beast in Him
Description: Some things are so worth waiting for. Like the moment when Jessica Ward “accidentally” bumps into Bobby Ray Smith and shows him just how far she’s come since high school. Back then, Jess’s gangly limbs and bruised heart turn to jelly any time Smitty’s “all the better to ravish you with” body came near her. So, some things haven’t changed. Except now Jess is a success on her own terms. And she can enjoy a romp-or twenty-with a big, bad wolf and walk away. Easy.
The sexy, polished CEO who hires Smitty’s security firm might be a million miles from the loveable geek he knew, but her kiss, her touch, is every bit as hot as he imagined. Jess was never the kind to ask for help, and she doesn’t want it now, not even with someone targeting her Pack. But Smitty’s not going to turn tail and run. Not before proving that their sheet-scorching animal lust is only the start of something even wilder…
Review: This was not my favorite book in the series. Usually, I like reunion stories but I felt that Smitty and Jessie just spent too much time fighting.
Book 3: The Mane Attraction
Description: Weddings have the strangest effect on people. How else to explain the fact that Sissy Mae Smith woke up in Mitch Shaw’s bed the morning after her brother Bobby Ray tied the knot? Or that gunmen are trying to kill Mitch, and Sissy Mae now has to escort a bleeding, stubborn, yet still incredibly sexy lion shifter to her Tennessee Pack’s turf to keep him safe? It doesn’t help that Mitch’s appraising gaze makes her feel like the most desirable creature on earth, or that the ultimate stray cat is suddenly acting all kinds of possessive…Mitch is an undercover cop who’s about to testify against some dangerous ex-associates. Even more worrisome, he’s harbouring hot, X-rated fantasies about the fast – talking little canine – and he has to deal with every male in Sissy Mae’s Pack sniffing around her in a way that makes his hackles rise. Mitch has his pride, and he intends to show Sissy Mae that when a lion sets out to make you his mate, the only thing to do is purr, roll over, and enjoy one hell of a ride…
Review: I liked Mitch as a character a lot more than I liked Sissy Mae. She just got on my nerves. Nice introduction to Dee Ann, one of my favorite characters in the series.
Book 4: The Mane Squeeze
Description: Growing up on the tough Philly streets, Gwen O’Neill has learned how to fend for herself. But what is she
supposed to do with a nice, suburban Jersey boy in the form of a massive Grizzly shifter? Especially one with a rather unhealthy fetish for honey, moose, and…uh…well, her. Yet despite his menacing ursine growl and four-inch claws, Gwen finds Lachlan “Lock” MacRyrie cute and really sweet. He actually watches out for her, protects her, and unlike the rest of her out-of-control family manages not to morbidly embarrass her. Too bad cats don’t believe in forever.
At nearly seven feet tall, Lock is used to people responding to him in two ways: screaming and running away. Gwen-half lioness, half tigress, all kick-ass-does neither. She’s sexy beyond belief and smart as hell, but she’s a born protector. Watching out for the family and friends closest to her but missing the fact that she’s being stalked by a murderous enemy who doesn’t like hybrids…and absolutely hates Gwen. Lock probably shouldn’t get involved, but he will. Why? Because this is Gwen-and no matter what the hissing, roaring, drape destroying feline says about not being ready to settle down, Lock knows he can’t simply walk away. Not when she’s come to mean absolutely everything to him.
Review: I really enjoyed this book. Gwen and Lock were a good match with his calm and her craziness. The plot with her being attacked didn’t really flow with the story though and I was completely lost during the roller derby chapters.
Book 5: Beast Behaving Badly
Description: Ten years after Blayne Thorpe first encountered Bo Novikov, she still can’t get the smooth-talking shifter out of her head. Now he’s shadowing her in New York-all seven-plus feet of him-determined to protect her from stalkers who want to use her in shifter dogfights. Even if he has to drag her off to an isolated Maine town where the only neighbors are other bears almost as crazy as he is…
Let sleeping dogs lie. Bo knows it’s good advice, but he can’t leave Blayne be. Blame it on her sweet sexiness — or his hunch that there’s more to this little wolfdog than meets the eye. Blayne has depths he hasn’t yet begun to fathom — much as he’d like to. She may insist Bo’s nothing but a pain in her delectable behind, but polar bears have patience in spades. Soon she’ll realize how good they can be together. And when she does, animal instinct tells him it’ll be worth the wait…
Review: Most of this book, Blayne got on my nerves. However, I was pleasantly surprised about how well the relationship between Bo and Blayne worked. Truly an opposites-attract story.
Book 6: Big Bad Beast
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.
Review: Dee Ann is one of my favorite characters in the series. I loved watching her change from the rough Marine to someone who truly loves Ric. Favorite book of the series.
Book 7: Bear Meets Girl
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. .
Review: See post
Book 8: Wolf with Benefits
Description: Ricky Lee has no plans of getting serious about anyone, but he will protect Toni Jean-Louis Parker. Not just because he’s been hired to do so, but because it’s the right thing to do. And if that means traveling around the country with one complicated She-jackal, dealing with chocolate-eating wild dogs, instigating trouble between his brothers, and having the most amazing sex he’s ever had…well, who said his job didn’t have perks?
Toni doesn’t know how she keeps getting herself into these situations. But even she has to admit there’s something about Ricky Lee Reed that she finds kind of interesting…and downright sexy. Now they just have to survive long enough to figure out if what they have is worth fighting for…
Review: I was surprised how much I liked Toni and Ricky Lee as a couple. They worked really well together. Her family was an interesting contrast between the Southern ‘hillbilly’ theme of the Smith and Reed families.
Book 9: Bite Me
Description: Livy Kowalski has no time for idiots. When you shapeshift into a honey badger, getting through life’s irritants is a finely honed skill. Until she gets stuck housing her nutso cousin and dealing with her dad’s untimely and unexplained demise.
That’s where Vic Barinov comes in—or his house does. Vic can’t step outside without coming back to find Livy devouring his honey stash and getting the TV remote sticky. It gets his animal instincts all riled up. But he’ll have to woo her at high speed: all hell is breaking loose, and Livy is leading the charge…
Review: Two words. Honey Badger. Second favorite book in the series.