The Beast In Him

Shelly Laurenston
2008, Shapeshifter Romance
Brava, $14.00, 352 pages, Amazon ASIN 0758220375
Part of a series

Grade: B
Sensuality: Hot

The Beast In Him is Shelly Laurenston’s loose sequel to her earlier book, The Mane Event. You do not have to read the first book to enjoy this one, but it does help to get to know the characters.

Bobby Ray “Smitty” Smith is a wolf shifter, a retired Navy SEAL now in business with his friend Mace Llewellyn, a lion shifter (and yes, they know every cat and dog joke there is.) When he was still a kid, he befriended Jessie Ann Ward, an orphaned dog shifter. His alpha sisters used to beat her up, and since she had no pack, poor Jessie was the lowest of the low, but Smitty did his best to take care of her. After 16 years, Smitty has lost track of Jessie, but at one of their first jobs (security for a party), lo and behold there she is.

Jessie now owns a successful software company and has a pack to back her up. She’s beginning to feel the urge to get a mate of her own, but most of the other males she meets are not up to her standard - they are just too geeky. When Jessie meets Smitty, bells ring, and pheromones run wild. On his part. Jessie wants nothing to do with him, but when a wolf has the scent, he is nothing if not persistent.

The Beast In Him is funny, I mean really, really funny. It so full of throwaway lines that I could fill pages with them. I also laughed until I cried at some of Smitty and Jessie’s behavior. When they are about to make love, she find his “happy spot” at the base of his skull and proceeds to scratch it until his leg starts thumping. Jessie is a successful (albeit still nerdy) president of her own company, but like most canines, she can be distracted by the slightest little thing, which makes for some very funny situations.

The plot is very thin and it takes a long time to get started, but there’s so many one liners and funny happenings in the book that I can’t complain too much. The Smiths have a reputation for putting their pack first; Smitty's father in particular is insistent on pack loyalty. He wants his son to come back to Tennessee to take over the family's territory, but Smitty insists on staying in New York with Mace and their business, which complicates an already complicated relationship. Then too, one of the Smith pack - a very distant member of the pack - is trying to make trouble for one of Jessie's pack. . Eventually, with the help of his mama, the couple solve their problems and everything ends up smelling like roses for them. (Oops - ought not to have said roses since Jessie is violently allergic to flowers).

If you want a book with a nice tight plot where all the pieces fit together, you might want to read The Mane Event, which is shorter and neater. But if you don’t mind loose ends and love funny lines and situations, The Beast In Him is right up your alley.

-- Ellen Micheletti

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