"The perfect balance of humor, romance, action, violence, and drama. A must read!"
Reviewed by Maria Munoz
Posted March 15, 2011
Paranormal Romance | Erotica Paranormal | Fantasy Urban
I have to say that when it comes to Shelly Laurenston I am
completely biased. I love her books, and have read them all
at least two (or is it four?) times. Her Pack and Pride
series have the perfect balance of humor, romance, action,
violence, and drama. She expertly brings to life both the
animal and human aspects of the shifters. The men and women
are tough, tender, and loyal. Given my love for these
characters, I approached BIG BAD BEAST with a bit of
caution. This is Dee-Ann Smith's story. This is the woman
who, if you sprained your ankle, would give serious thought
to killing you just to save you both the trouble of going to
the hospital. How could an entire book revolve around
Dee-Ann and still retain the twisted charm and humor of the
earlier books? Now, I hang my head in shame at my lack of
faith. By page five, I was laughing out loud and cheering
for both Dee-Ann and the man who loves her, Ulrich "Ric" Van
Ric, of the wealthy Van Holtz Pack, fell in lust (love?)
with Dee-Ann Smith, of the Tennessee (and now New York)
Smith Pack, the minute he spotted her at the apartment of
mutual friend Lock MacRyrie in The Mane Squeeze. Now,
Ric is her supervisor as she works for the Group to take
down the evil full-humans who stage pit fights using
abducted young hybrid shifters. Dee-Ann, who takes after
her lone-wolf daddy, doesn't walk away from a fight and is
more than capable of killing as needed. She plays by her own
rules and doesn't hesitate to show up uninvited in Ric's
apartment day or night. A chef by trade, Ric uses her
visits as an opportunity to feed her (she's too skinny!).
He also wants to charm her into getting naked with him.
Dee's not buying it... except she's starting to realize that
Ric may be one of the few people she can trust, and he is
supermodel handsome. Now, if they can keep Ric out of the
shallow grave Dee-Ann's daddy has dug for him, they just
might have a future together.
I thoroughly enjoyed BIG BAD BEAST and have already started
re-reading it to catch all the little details I missed the
first time. Dee's terseness (and violent tendencies) are
softened just a tiny bit, but it's enough to make her
likable as a main character. Her toughness is balanced by
the prominent re-appearance of many of the characters from
earlier books in the Pride and Pack series. Ric is powerful
and smart, and can both nurture and challenge Dee. They make
a great couple!
BIG BAD BEAST is a must read. If you haven't read them
already (and really, what are you waiting for?), start with
the earlier books in order to get the most
enjoyment out of the latest installment in the Pride series.
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.
Ric paid the cabbie and stood, Dee-Ann glaring at him from
the front stoop of his family's restaurant.
"What did you want me to do?" he asked.
"Tell them no."
He shrugged. "I liked the idea. Besides, we should all be
working together to stop this -- don't walk away from me,
His stern warning ignored, Dee kept walking but Ric caught
up with her and pulled her into the alley between the
restaurant and the deli next door.
"Don't you find it curious," he asked, standing in front of
her, "that suddenly felines who are so into pure bloodlines
they could be British royalty are suddenly concerning
themselves with hybrids?"
Folding her arms over her chest, Dee did that thing he hated
where she looked right past him. Then again she only did
that when he was right about something and it pissed her off.
"If you're really adamant about not working on this, I can
put someone else on it." He tried to think of the one person
who'd really set Dee off and he realized that one person was
waiting for him right inside one of the private dining
rooms. "I'll give it to Blayne."
Ric took a step away but Dee's hand shot out and caught hold
of his arm. "Pardon?"
"I said I'll put Blayne on it since you don't want to -- "
"Teacup? You're going to put Teacup on this?"
"She's a great ambassador for the Group, gets along well
with felines and bears, and she already knows Dez
"She babysits for Desiree."
"She's also taken on bigger responsibilities with the Group
and that's worked out just fine."
"With the hybrid pups and cubs. It's not like she's ever
been in the field."
"But she handled herself just fine in Ursus County." Ric
still had a hard time believing that his goofy, loveable
wolfdog buddy was the same She-predator he'd seen decimate a
gang of full-human males trying to kill them. And she'd done
it with nothing more than a couple of blades in her hands
and sheer willpower. Then again, Blayne's knife skills only
made a real appearance when she was backed into a corner
with no way out. Of course... he didn't have to mention he
knew that to Dee.
"Ursus -- " The She-wolf gritted pearly white fangs and
snarled at him like he was trying to take her favorite chew
toy. "The only reason she lived through Ursus County was
'cause of me. The only reason she has a job with the Group
is 'cause of me. The only reason she breathes my precious,
precious air is 'cause of me!"
It was true. The one person who could really set Dee-Ann
Smith off was and perhaps always would be Blayne Thorpe.
"I understand that, but -- "
Dee's head dipped low, bright gold eyes looking up at him
through dark brown lashes. "Fine. I'll do it."
"Not if you're just going to use this as an opportunity to
beat up on Cella."
If it was possible, Dee-Ann's expression turned even
angrier. "That's true. I wouldn't want to hurt your
Ric blinked. "My what?"
"Forget it." She stepped around him, ready to leave, but Ric
caught hold of her wrist, keeping her in place.
"I promised you food."
"I don't need you feeding me, Van Holtz. I'm not some
"I never said you were. And what happened to Ric? It sounded
so nice when you called me Ric. And you have to eat,
Dee-Ann." He gripped one of the loops of her jeans, tugging
"One good tug and these will come off. You're too skinny."
"When did you become my mother?"
"See? Even your mother is concerned."
"No, she's not."
He led her to the backdoor. "Come on. You have to eat,
otherwise I'll be up all night worrying you've passed out
somewhere. Unable to take another step due to lack of
Ric had his hand on the doorknob, giving Dee a wink over his
shoulder. But the door swung open from the inside, shoving
him back and right into the She-wolf. He slammed into her,
his body pushing hers into the wall behind them.
"Sorry, boss," one of his crew said, tossing a bag of trash
into the Dumpster. "Didn't see you there."
Ric didn't reply, he was too busy being seriously aware of
the woman he had pressed against the wall.
"You planning to get off me anytime soon, supermodel?" she
"Or we can stay this way forever. That's an option." One he
was more than willing to explore.
"Good Lord!" Dee pushed him back and walked toward the alley
door. "If Cella's not your girlfriend, we need to get you
"Cella's not my girlfriend. She works for me. It would be
Dee-Ann stopped in the open doorway and faced him. "So do I,
but that hasn't stopped you from demanding I get naked every
"True, but I don't sign your checks."
"Which means what exactly?"
"I don't know, but if you give me some time I'm sure I can
come up with something completely logical that could be
argued in front of the Supreme Court."
"Ya know... I bet you could." *****
Dee didn't know why she should suddenly care if Ric was
going out with Malone or not, but she'd admit to herself
that she kind of did care. Maybe she was just feeling moody.
Maybe a little homesick. Whatever. She'd get over it.
She stood outside the kitchen while Ric went back in and got
their food. It seemed to take longer than she thought it
would, which meant that he was cooking it himself. But when
he finally came out, he smiled at her -- back to his
happy-go-lucky, goofball self because he'd cooked something
up in a pan -- and motioned down the hall toward the private
dining rooms. Figuring he probably wanted to discuss next
steps before she had to deal with Malone on a daily basis,
Dee started walking. One of the waiters slipped past her
carrying a big tray piled with more food.
"Here," Ric said, when the waiter stopped at one of the rooms.
That seemed like a lot of food for the pair of them, but
maybe he was hungrier than she realized.
Once at the door, Ric reached around her with his free hand
and pushed it open. The waiter went in and Dee followed, but
she froze at the doorway and snarled, glaring back at Van Holtz.
"What?" he asked, trying to look innocent.
"I really should have killed you when I had the chance,
"And where would the fun be in that?" He pushed her into the
room before she could make a break for it, and that's when
she was noticed.
"Deeeeeeee-Annnnnnnnnnnnnnn!" she heard seconds before a
crazed wolfdog female wrapped herself around Dee and held
on, hugging her tight.
"You've been missed," Van Holtz whispered in her ear before
he walked into the room, grinning at the table filled with a
small group of people she tolerated but didn't necessarily
want to spend much time with.
"I'm so glad you're here!" the wolfdog said, arms tightening
so that Dee's air was almost cut off.
"Get off me, Blayne."
"You're staying, aren't you?"
"Get off me, Blayne."
"You have to stay so we can eat and talk. It's been ages!"
She rested her head against Dee's shoulder. "I've missed you
That's when Dee reached for her bowie knife but Ric caught
her hand before she could clear the sheath and held it
behind her back.
"Why don't we all sit down and eat before the food gets
cold?" he offered.
"Okay!" The wolfdog released her death grip on Dee's neck
and skated back to the table -- why she was wearing roller
skates in the middle of a restaurant, Dee didn't want to
even hazard a guess -- unaware as always how close to death
she came every time she insisted on the touching.
"Put it away," Van Holtz whispered in Dee's ear, "or I'm
taking the whole hand."
With a grunt, Dee shoved the knife back. "There, supermodel.
"Thrilled." He released her but not before she felt his
fingers slide across the skin of her forearm. "You have the
smoothest skin," he murmured, looking down at her arm.
"Yeah. It's the scar tissue from all those knife fights.
After a few years, it heals up real soft."
What do you think about this review?
2 comments posted.
Re: The perfect balance of humor, romance, action, violence, and drama. A must read!
I think the reviewer hit the nail right on the head. In this book Shelly Laurenston shows why she is an excellent author and a must read. When an author can take a character of whom you are not too fond, make her the heroine and have you end up really liking her, you know that is someone you are going to read again and again. And when you and your friend talk about the characters as if they are real, you also know that Shelly is going to be around a long, long time.
(Pat Richardson 8:35am March 20, 2011)
Looking forward to a great read. I've followed the series from the beginning and have always enjoyed a great ride with the Van Holtz,Smith and Magnus pack.
(Adaiah LaVonda 8:26pm March 20, 2011)
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