Rating: 5 stars
This Book 5 in Shelly Laurenston's "Pride" series, but it is the first book I have ever read by this author. From the cover I expected it to be a very sexy story (which it was, but not overly so) and very action-packed and intense. There was some action in this story but more than anything, this book made me laugh. The humor in this story really took me by surprise.
For me, this story was all about the personalities of two main characters - Blayne Thorpe (wolf/dog hybrid shifter) and Bo Novikov (polar bear/lion hybrid shifter). As unlikely as it seems after being first introduced to the characters, they do have some things in common. They are both hybrids, and they were both raised by very tough military father figures. And, as Blayne says, that kind of upbringing usually makes you go in one of two directions - either you embrace order and discipline, making it your way of life or you run from any and all semblance of order and never run your life on a schedule. Bo is the first type. He is an OCD badass hockey player, nicknamed "The Marauder", who lives and dies by his schedule and his single-minded obsession with keeping control of “his” hockey puck. He even has backup copies of his lists in case something happens to his original copy. Blayne Thorpe is the second type. She’s a roller derby girl who hangs with a pack of wild dogs, and wears watches that don't usually work but are beautiful yet cheap. The two first cross paths years ago in Bo's early hockey days. No words are spoken but it's the total "across a crowded room" experience except, due to Bo's size and the general swirl of violence that surrounds him on the ice, Blayne runs away in fear. Flash forward to the present and they cross paths again because Blayne is close friends with a hockey team that is courting Bo to sign with them. He signs with them in order to be close to her and try to have some type of romantic relationship for her. Due to their own unique personality quirks, and their differences, there are some very funny moments between the two. The main story for me was the romance between Bo and Blayne. I loved the unusual chemistry between the two. The "B" story was the storyline involving the capturing of hybrids and using them for fighting in much the same way that people breed and train pit bulls for illegal fighting. I loved when Blayne & Bo were in his hometown. The scenes with Blayne and the townspeople, and with Bo's uncle were at times funny, sweet, and interesting. At first I thought Blayne would be a little too ADD for me to stand, but what made me like her was that she was genuinely nice to her friends and others. In fact, that's one of the plot points - she's too nice to go for the kill while she's doing her roller derby thing. I also liked that Blayne wasn't as oblivious as people gave her credit for. Her friend assigns tough she-wolf Dee Ann to shadow Blayne for her protection, but don't tell her about it or the reason why. What they don't realize is that Blayne knows she's being tailed, and she even correctly guesses the reason why and kind of understands the thinking behind the reason. What hurts her is that nobody was straight with her about it. It really hurts when she finds out she was micro chipped - courtesy of Dee Ann (who thinks of Blayne as an annoying toy dog). I really enjoyed this romance and will check out others in this series.