In Shelly Laurenston's laugh-out-loud funny, deliciously sexy novel, a shape-shifting Grizzly and a single dangerous feline collide--and discover untamed, unstoppable attraction...
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.
Family drama dominates this pugilistic paranormal romance, the fourth in Laurenston's Pride series (after 2008's The Mane Attraction). Lock MacRyrie, a part-time grizzly bear, and Gwen O'Neill, a lion/tiger hybrid shifter, meet during a brawl. The fists never stop flying as they face down hate crimes, interfering relatives and the challenges of starting a furniture business. Despite being billed as a tough, streetwise Jersey girl, Gwen is a surprisingly and frustratingly passive heroine who has a hard time standing up to her dismissive family. In true cat fashion, she's plagued by jealousy yet leery of commitment, making her romance with Lock a struggle for both of them. With a sharp eye for detail, Laurenston manages to combine Animal Planet and The Sopranos with bonus life-altering roller derby. Fans of the series will enjoy this latest addition. (Nov.)
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1 . Good read!
Posted November 24, 2010 by MEC , Gilbert, AZI said it before I'll say it again I'm hooked on her books. I can't put them down. They are funny and full of action. Love them, love them.
October 25, 2009
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Excerpt from The Mane Squeeze by Shelly Laurenston
As soon as the earrings and shoes came off, he knew it was a brawl.
A brawl he wanted no part of. Especially when he'd been trying to sneak out. And one of the hardest things for someone like him to do was sneak anywhere. Yet he couldn't walk away, he couldn't turn his back. This was his friend's wedding, and he wouldn't let a couple of cats ruin it because they couldn't hold their liquor or their predatory instinct to maul. But maybe, just maybe, if he defused this fast enough, he could still make it out without being caught. The key was to prevent an audience. No audience, no witnesses, and sneaking away could continue.
There. A goal. He liked goals.
And with that goal solidly in mind, Lachlan "Lock" MacRyrie walked through the trees surrounding the Long Island, New York, property that held his friend's wedding. He'd never been to a wedding at a castle before but it fit the style of the bride, who brought geekiness to a whole new level. In fact, she was the one who'd told him to go. Wait. That wasn't right. She didn't tell him to go. She'd told him to, "Make a break for it! Before the hounds of darkness come for you and destroy our plans to release our people from their enslavement! Go, Lachlan MacRyrie of the Clan MacRyrie. Go! And don't look back, my friend!" It would seem strange to those who didn't know her, but Lock knew it was simply Jessica Ward's way of saying, "Could you look more miserable? Just go already!"
He'd never been so grateful, although it wasn't Jess's fault he was having a miserable time. He did a little better at full-human events since he mostly received the "shock and awe" reaction. But among his own kind, the reaction was much less . . . welcoming.
Not exactly surprising, though, when the predators knew what he was. Knew that he could shift to a ten-foot, fifteen-hundredpound, silver-tipped grizzly bear whenever the mood struck him. How did they know? Because from early childhood, shifter parents taught their cubs and pups to recognize a few things: the cackle of a hyena, the roar of a male lion, the howls of nearby wolves, and the scent of a grizzly. For the first three on that list, the directions were simple: "If you hear one of those and we're separated, call for me. Right away." But when it came to the grizzly, the directions were much more . . . specific: "When you catch that scent, go in the opposite direction. If you stumble across one, do not wake it up. If you do wake one up, pretend you're dead or climb into a tree. High into a tree. And if you get between a sow and her cubs--pray."
Tragically, Lock couldn't even argue that any of what the other breeds said was false, although it was perhaps blown a bit out of proportion.
In the end, though, none of that mattered, because he didn't like parties, detested weddings, and being trapped in this tux was annoying him beyond reason. Normally, to save his sanity, he wouldn't even attend something like this, but he couldn't miss Jess Ward's wedding. A more amazing woman, shifter, and friend a man could never hope to have, and that's why Lock was going to undertake the painful task of getting between two snarling females before they started tearing into each other. He was almost on them, was only a few feet from getting past the trees and between them, with luck before blood was spilled, because nothing attracted shifter attention quicker than the scent of fresh blood--and, of course, two drunk chicks fighting.
Yet before he could take those last steps, she was there, shoving the two females apart before they'd made contact. With her fangs out, a low and deadly growl rolling past her lips, she held her arms out from her body to keep them separated.
"A mixed breed," some lioness had sneered about her earlier in the evening when this feline had passed. The more politically correct term was, of course, hybrid. A ridiculously gorgeous hybrid, too, whom Lock had first caught sight of at the ceremony. At the time, he'd felt someone staring at him, but that wasn't unusual. People stared at him all the time. Yet when he'd finally glanced over his shoulder, out of mere bear-curiosity, to see who it was . . . well, he'd looked right at her. And, for the rest of the evening--through the synchronized wild dog dancing, the county- wolf line dancing, and the incessant conga lines led by some annoying male lion--Lock had watched her any time she'd come into his line of sight.
It was hard not to watch her when she was wearing that deliciously thin sleeveless black gown, equipped with only two little strings tied around her neck to hold the delicate material up, displaying the shoulders of an Olympic swimmer, while the thigh- high slit slightly off to the side revealed the legs of an Olympic gymnast. Or maybe he was fascinated by that striking face with those almond-shaped, bright gold eyes; the small nose that made him think of a house cat's muzzle; those full lips that made him think of nothing but hot, sweaty sex; and those almost razor- sharp cheekbones that made him think she might be nothing but trouble.
Was it really any surprise he'd been unable to look away--or that he'd spent most of the evening thinking about asking her if she wanted a drink? Yeah, he'd thought about it. He was a bear and bears were notorious thinkers. They'd study, they'd think, then they'd move. Unfortunately he'd never found the chance to move. Not with her flitting all over that reception. Not that she was being social, though. She wasn't. He watched her talk to a few people, but mostly she seemed to be on the hunt for something or someone, her gold eyes ever watchful, ever scoping out a target. He was surprised the Marines hadn't recruited her. They'd snagged Lock right out of college and placed him with the Shifter-only Unit. He could easily see her as one of his teammates. Then again, probably not a good idea. He wouldn't have gotten much done if he was busy staring at her all day.
"Cut this shit out right now," she snarled at the two females. Her voice was low, a little rough. He liked it.
"Back off!" one lioness said. "This whore's mine."
"That's it!" The hybrid let out a breath, lowered her arms to her sides. "That is it. Whatever Roxy O'Neill told you, it's a load of crap."
"How do you know?"
"Because I do. And if you weren't on your fifth martini and you on your seventh Long Island iced tea, you dumb bitches would know that, too."
"Watch how you talk to me."
"I would, if I thought you had a brain in that fat lion head of yours." Does she really think this is helping? "But you don't. So cut this shit out right now or--"
"Or what?" the other lioness demanded. "What are you going to do about it, rescue kitty?"
The first lioness laughed and suddenly the two enemies had bonded over a new target.
The hybrid knew it, too. He could tell by the way her body stayed relaxed, but her gold eyes sharpened. This wasn't her first time in a fight and she wouldn't feel bound by shifter-etiquette to fight with only her claws and fangs. He'd bet cold cash that she was armed. Not with a gun--too noisy--but with something sharp that could be quickly used and tossed away before the cops came.
The two She-lions were up against something they simply couldn't handle. Something deadlier than a mere feline or hybrid. They were dealing with a Philly girl. Or, as Lock also liked to call them, a Pennsylvania Pain in the Ass.
As a Jersey boy who'd spent many a childhood summer at the Jersey Shore with his vacationing parents, and then as a bouncer during the summer months when he was big enough to pass as "legal," Lock had dealt with more than enough visiting Philly girls to last him a lifetime. He'd never known anyone--regardless of breed--who liked to argue as much as the Philly females. They could--and would--argue over anything. And God help you if you took it past arguing, if you took it into something physical.
How did he know this particular hybrid was a Philly girl? Because she had it spelled out in easy-to-read script on the gold necklace hanging around her throat.
Knowing he had seconds to end this before he was forced to call the cops or dispose of bodies--both of which he'd really like to avoid, if possible--Lock moved around the three females until he was upwind of them. A small, summer-night breeze passed and both She-lions raised their heads, their noses sniffing the air as their bodies tensed, and they seemed to sober up immediately. He watched as they slowly faced him, their dark gold eyes wide as they gazed at him in mute horror. He could have done a lot of things at that moment, but Lock didn't need to. He kept the hardcore bluffing for his own kind.
Instead, all he did was curl his lip the tiniest bit and give off the softest, faintest grunt. Almost a hiccup. It worked like a charm, too, the two cats tripping backward, slamming into each other before they skidded on the damp grass and took off running into the wedding.
That left him and the hybrid. She hadn't moved at all while the cats were scrambling around her, trying to get away. But now that they were gone, she faced him. Her bright gold gaze traveled from his head to his feet and back again. He knew she might run, knew she might take a wild leap for the trees. Not hard when she had those legs.
She did neither. Instead a slow smile spread over those lips and she said, "Jersey bear to the rescue." Her head dipped a bit and she looked up at him through pitch-black lashes. "Because we both know what I would have done if they'd made a move on me, don't we, Jersey bear?"