As much as I wanted to give this five stars because I’m a huge fan of Shelly Laurenston’s work, I just couldn’t. Like a Wolf With a Bone contained a lot of the usual elements in telling the story of Dee-Ann Smith’s parents; Eggie Ray Smith and Darla Mae Lewis. It had numerous types of shifters but mainly wolf, lion and bear along with the rivalries between them leading to some bitch slapping. It had typical family arguments leading to bitch slapping and some hot scenes of loving which…didn’t lead to any bitch slapping. Perhaps because one just does not do that to Miss Darla Mae.
And I think it was that that was missing from the story. A lot of the best of the author’s books, whether writing as Shelly Laurenston or G.A. Aiken contain a fair amount of conflict between the fated couple. After all, how can you know when someone truly loves you unless they’ve bitten / clawed / chained / muzzled you? There was none of that in Like a Wolf With a Bone. Darla Mae just happily accepted her rescuer and decided to go for it and Eggie Ray also didn’t put up any fight. All of that was left to Darla Mae’s sisters and from there we discover the origins of Smithtown’s famous pie shop and the road race between the wolves and lions.
As a comparison, When He Was Bad containing Miss Cogeniality is a better story of some of the more ‘mature’ characters. Or perhaps that should just be ‘older’ characters?
Cynthia Eden’s Wed or Dead story maintains the standard that I’ve come to expect in that it was a good short story on a par with the story in the When He Was Bad anthology. This is the story of Kayla and Gage and starts right as they are walking up the aisle to get married. She’s a hunter who works for a company contracted by the government to capture or kill supernaturals that the ordinary police couldn’t possibly handle.
He’s a wolf shifter.
A perfect match for each other then if not for the tiny fact that Gage is Kayla’s latest target for elimination.
Wed or Dead had a lot going in its 150 pages or so. Everything from some hot sex between the couple, numerous betrayals, family matters, a lot of fighting and two weddings. In fact, it was probably too much happening all at once but the fact that despite everything going, there was still a resolution to the story speaks of a very good effort. However, there was probably enough here for a full novel with a just a little more fleshing out.
On the whole, a worthwhile read filling out more of the history of known characters of Shelly Laurenston’s world with the added bonus of a story from Cynthia Eden.