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Bear Meets Girl
Series: Pride #7
Other books by this author that I've reviewed include The Mane Event, The Mane Event, The Mane Squeeze, The Mane Attraction, Beast Behaving Badly, Big Bad Beast, Here Kitty, Kitty!, Hunting Season, Pack Challenge, Go Fetch!, When He Was Bad, Everlasting Bad BoysS, Howl for It, Wolf with Benefits, The Unleashing, The Undoing.
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Seventh in the Pride paranormal romance series about several groups of shifters living in and around New York City. The couple focus in this story is on Lou Crushek and Marcella Malone.
There are so many reasons why you really want to start at the beginning of this series. Sure, you can jump in anywhere, but the reading is so much richer if you’ve been following from the start with Mane Event: “Christmas Pride” and “Shaw’s Tail”.
I always love reading a Laurenston because she’s so danged funny. Using shifters for her romance focus allows her to really go wild and crazy with the characterizations and their interactions. And Bear Meets Girl is no exception with both the farcical actions and the honorable behaviors. It’s like a tiny group of wildly stereotyped countries all interacting in a few square miles.
It’s a bit confusing that Laurenston has slid away from earlier story concerns about hybrids and she no longer examines this. On the other hand, it’s a much nicer segue away from such bigotry. I do love that she still brings in the characters from earlier stories in this series. I just love the wild dogs and their exuberance let alone the whole Smith clan and their antics,
In this story, Marcella goes wild — she just loves to (ooh, wait, is that “loves to” or “lives to”?) irritate anyone, but Crush is now her prime focus. She reckons that it’s not everyday you meet a biker gang meth dealer who has the moral fortitude of Martin Luther. Then there’s the bear logic. True and absolute. It’s not as pronounced as in other bear stories in this series.
Too typical: ‘You’re not going to give me a chance to prove that I’m a wonderful person?’
‘You already think you’re a wonderful person. What do you need me for?’
In most stories, the dorky back and forth about “pretend” boyfriend just wouldn’t work, but Laurenston’s stories are never normal, instead they’re just flat out crazy and off beat which almost makes the dorkiness work. It’s easy to forgive because Laurenston just keeps making you laugh even as her characters go out of their way to right the wrongs, etc.
“‘I don’t consider a wake an actual party.’
‘It depends on who died.'”
Oh, man, poor Crush…throughout the story, the female shifters get all happy whenever they catch Cella and Crush doing something romantic…awwwww…”
I’m curious as to why BPC’s goal is left unmentioned. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the next installment. I don’t get Peg’s issue. Yeah, she’s a mean old, NASTY sow, but her dealings with Whitlan “appear” to be using him as a snitch. What’s her deal with worrying about those dealings getting out other than having been duped like every enforcement and law enforcement agency out there?
For those of you interested in a bit of bondage, Crush and Cella have this “thing” with cops and handcuffs.
It’s all those Jell-O shots at Dez and M’s party that got him into this. And that damned feline! It only gets worse when Crush is forced to get a haircut, except, he meets Blayne. A force of nature, Blayne brings him into the hockey world Crush reveres and it’s all…hmmm, it really could go either way…uphill…downhill…it just depends on where you are in the story!
Cella is just a major pain and loves getting on everyone’s nerves until her most-hated aunt jumps on the matchmaker bandwagon and suddenly Cella needs a “boyfriend”. And she knows just where to find a “pretend” boyfriend. But it takes a special extortion from Dr. Jai before Crush will agree to this.
Crush’s new job with the elite shifter unit at the NYPD and the cocaine-honey bust cements the partnership for Crush and Dez along with the issue with the taxidermist and the shifter hunts. Only, it’s a lot bigger than expected. And Peg Baissier is worried about Lou. She knows that if he comes up with any evidence, it’s his word that will be believed.
And it’s Blayne and Gwenie’s weddings.
Detective Lou “Crush” Crushek is also known as “By the Book” Crushek. He’s a polar bear and he hates change. He REALLY hates change. He knows his job as an undercover meth dealer, but at home, he wants to know what will happen day after day and night after night. Lola is his pet English bulldog. Whoops, I mean the dog he’s “fostering”. Conway is his about-to-be-ex-partner, a coyote shifter. His new boss is Division Director, Unit Commander Lynsey Gentry, a black bear sow. Chazz and Gray are his triplet brothers working for Peg Baissier.
Tiger shifter Marcella “Cella” Malone has two careers. A sniper with Katzenhaus Securities (KZS) and the enforcer on the Carnivores pro hockey team. In her personal life, she’s a single mom and has carried the title of “Bare Knuckles Malone” for over five years. Her approach in life is to knock it all out there and the more irritating she can be to others the better.
She still lives at home…well, heck, the whole street is full of her relatives! No one, not police, cabbies, other shifters, will ever walk down their block. Not if they know what’s good for them. Meghan is her 17-year-old daughter (Brian Carpenter is her dad and getting married to Rivka). Meghan’s best friend is Josie, Jai’s daughter. The Davis family is the only non-tiger bunch on the block; Butch talked the Malones into letting the Davises move in and Jai Davis became Cella’s best friend when they found out they were both pregnant at the same time. Now Jai is an orthopedic surgeon with a specialty in artery repair — very useful when you’re the team doc for the Carnivores. Cella’s parents are Barb and Butch “Nice Guy” Malone. She’s a wedding planner and he’s a retired hockey player.
Dee-Ann Smith is a fellow Marine and She-wolf and really, really good at finding people and sliding in to cut their throats. She’s mated to Ric (see Big Bad Beast). Detective Desiree “Dez” McDermot is with the Brooklyn special shifters police squad. Yeah, she may be a full human, but stand back. Mace Llewellyn is a lion shifter and married to her (see The Mane Event: “Christmas Pride”, 1).
Reece Lee Reed is a wolf shifter in the New York Smith Pack and recently moved up to the majors with the Carnivores. Bo “the Marauder” Novikov is the Carnivores’ star player and a polar bear-lion hybrid but a major pain with his OCD; he’s mated to Blayne Thorpe, a wolf-wild dog (Beast Behaving Badly). Ric Van Holtz, a.k.a., The Gentleman, plays on the hockey team he owns (he’s also a wolf shifter). Lock “Tank” MacRyrie (grizzly) is another hockey player and mated to Gwenie O’Neill (tigon; see Mane Squeeze).
Michael Patrick Callahan, a lion with the Callahan Pride, is quite a clever puss. The treatment of Sophie DiMarco demonstrates the d
eep divide between Group, KZS, and BPC. Frankie Whitlan is an ambitious snitch who plans carefully and has a lot of irons in the fire. The Bear Preservation Council (BPC) is a bears-only enforcement agency run by Peg Baissier. She used being a foster mom as a cover and she’s not above betraying anyone. She was once Crush’s foster mother. Group is a pan-shifter enforcement agency protecting shifters and full-humans. Hannah is a bear hybrid and Abby is a dog hybrid whom Dee-Ann and Blayne rescued.
The Cover and Title
There’s a snowy feel to this cover due to the very bright light fading out the background of leafy trees. All the better to focus on Crush and Cella. Marcella is kneeling at his feet, but it is not a subservient pose as she twists to look out at us, a challenge in her eyes and claw marks across Crush’s chest.
Oh, yeah, it’s definitely Bear Meets Girl with this somewhat primitive group of characters. No, not primitive in the usual sense, but as one of total honesty.