Bear Meets Girl
Bear Meets Girl by Shelly Laurenston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think this is the first time in this series that the cover models resemble the characters in the book.

Anyway, the latest in Shelly Laurenston’s series puts the focus on Lou ‘Crush’ Chrushek, a polar bear shifter and Marcella ‘Bare Knuckles’ Malone, a tiger shifter. Whilst I think Chrush has made a brief appearance previously, Malone is already firmly established as one part of the triumvirate that is she, Desiree MacDermot and Dee-ann Smith who work together for the protection of the shifter society.

Whilst previous exposure and her nickname suggest that she is something of a heavy hitter (usually with Dee-ann, who is a surprisingly close friend despite being a wolf) and she is, but Bear Meets Girl also shows that she is also a “contractor” for KZS (an shifter protection group for cats run by cats) and a (over) protective mother to her teenage daughter, Meghan. Last, and of greatest shock to Crush, she is the enforcer to the Carnivores, the ice hockey team to which Bo Novikov belongs, Van Holtz owns (and is goalie for) and of which, Crush is a super fan.

Because of all these connections, a lot of the major characters from previous books make welcome appearances which range from brief mentions to large parts. And still we are introduced to new characters such as Jai Davis (Malone’s best friend), Meghan as mentioned previously, Meghan’s father and Rivka, his new bride to be and some of Malone’s family. All of them suitably fleshed out.

And even with the multitude of characters, which is a given for a character driven book, there is also a decent story or plot device. Previous books have concentrated on the hybrid fights but as that has been resolved, there is a new danger of shifters being hunted like wild animals, stuffed and put on display for the sick amusement of some fairly disgusting, evil men.

Whilst that story is not resolved, it doesn’t really matter because it’s most likely just there to provide some impetus to moving the characters to where they need to be. The main part of the book, Chrush’s and Malone’s romance is actually told in typical Laurenston style and is very sweet without being cloying and to quote Malone’s team mates, made me feel like going ‘Awwwww!’.

Unfortunately, with this being the latest book having just been released, there are no more for me to enjoy in my TBR pile. Fortunately though, I only have to wait until August when Howl For It, an anthology with Cynthia Eden is out which tells the story of Dee-ann’s father, Eggie Ray Smith. Can’t wait!

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