Wolf with Benefits (Pride #8)
Shelly Laurenston, New York Times bestselling author and a star in the paranormal romance genre, comes the eighth book is the successful Pride series, that blends outrageous humor and sexy shapeshifters to create irresistible heroes that readers fall in love with.
Ricky Lee has no plans of getting serious about anyone, but he will protect Toni Jean-Louis Parker. Not just because he’s been hired to do so, but because it’s the right thing to do. And if that means traveling around the country with one complicated She-jackal, dealing with chocolate-eating wild dogs, instigating trouble between his brothers, and having the most amazing sex he’s ever had…well, who said his job didn’t have perks?
Toni doesn’t know how she keeps getting herself into these situations. But even she has to admit there’s something about Ricky Lee Reed that she finds kind of interesting…and downright sexy. Now they just have to survive long enough to figure out if what they have is worth fighting for…
A Laugh a minute! Wolf with Benefits is another hit in a great series by an author with the oddest sense of humor, leaning even into the scary and psychotic a bite, but damn I love it! For those who have never read one of Laurenston’s stories (or her alter ego G.A. Aiken) you might find yourself a little concerned for the sanity of not only the characters but the author. As a faithful follower of this author in both her guises I can tell you that the hilarity never ceases, even when the love sneaks up on the lovers or death and destruction reign.
I have long loved the Reed boys and Ricky as the laid-back middle boy is a wonderful character and his sense of the ridiculous is a perfect match for Miss Toni and her eccentricities. Of course the whole Smith Pack holds a special place in my heart as they also hail from Tennessee! But personal biases aside I love how Ricky can go from lounging to lethal in a NY minute when someone he cares about is threatened, then turn right around after destroying the danger and he his sweet goofy self. The personalities of the shifters in this world vary across the spectrum, but the lethal nature of their animal sides keeps the reader guessing just how one of them will react to a perceived slight. Ricky Lee is just a sweet good-old-wolf (‘coughs’) who loves his momma and when Toni unexpectedly snags his entire focus, not much will keep him from grabbing hold and keeping her. Even if she just can’t figure out why the hell he’s hanging around! :)
Toni, a new character to the series, is a new personal favorite of mine. She’s spent her whole life as wrangler to her ten prodigy siblings and really doesn’t have a life outside of that. When she’s given the chance to change that, she doesn’t exactly grab it with both hands, but more is forced to hang on as those around her grab it for her. She’s always felt average, but as she slowly comes out of her self-imposed cocoon, Ricky is there to keep her sane and show her just how special she really is. Even if she’s not interested in anything long term with the hillbilly wolf, what girl can resist taking a bite out of him, especially when they are alone together in a foreign country with nothing to keep them busy except jumping each other’s bones! I loved Toni’s spunk and her ability to cut through all the bullshit around her and just get things done.
There were many great twists and turns in this story, with a lot of time for the reader to guess what was really going on in the background. A large problem with Toni’s new job: a minor issue with a large group of Russian Bears leads to some interesting times for both Ricky Lee and Toni. Toni’s family however are the main issues that Toni is forced to deal with as she slowly begins to see that she CAN have a life of her own that doesn’t revolve around her siblings.
With a lot of script time for some of my favorite couples from previous books, Wolf with Benefits is like a reunion for faithful readers. Blayne and Bo, of course are still the cutest, most psychotic, and terrifyingly perfect couple. We even get to glimpse some of the characters from other series, like the Magnus Pack. My favorite of course continues to be the sarcastic and majorly terrifying Dee-Ann smith of course and even with Rick reining her in (slightly) she is still terrifying the masses. We also got to meet a few new characters that I’m hoping to see more of in the near future… mainly Livy and Vic, maybe a book about them together would satisfy Ms. Laurenston’s love of the dramatic and flare for the ridiculous.
Laurenston’s trademark dark humor kept me laughing through most of the book and let me tell you I got plenty of funny looks for just randomly bursting into deep belly laughs for some of the scenes. The relationship aspect of this book was a little lacking compared to other books in the series, but you could definitely see Rick and Toni beginning to become a team and friends… with benefits of course. (Yes, I know the pun is terrible but I couldn’t resist!) Once they see what a great team they are and wrap up all the obstacles in their crazy lives, Toni and Ricky Lee have definitely proved they have what it takes to be a great couple. I personally cannot wait for the next installment and will be waiting on tenterhooks. For those who are looking for something on the lighter side of romance or with a light sense of humor, this is not the series for you, sorry. But if you find the lethal beauty of a mama wolf protecting her pups or the scary wit common to soldiers more your style, start from the beginning and enjoy being immersed in the imagination of the dark and somewhat twisted, but gloriously awesome Ms. Shelly Laurenston.
Rating: 4 stars