I have mad, mad love for Shelly Laurenston’s Pride series. Each book is a wacky, crazy fun time that is sometimes crude and outlandish, the dialogue is ridiculously hilarious and the sexy scenes are smoking hot. This is a series where I put each new release on my auto-buy list and look forward, with relish, to reading it as soon as it comes out. I can’t help it. In an over-saturated paranormal romance genre these characters and their relationships stand out for me. Shelly Laurenston has managed to give every character traits that personify their shifter animal while at the same time making them seem very human and personable.
Ricky shrugged. ” Okay. So you wanna make out?”
“No, I do not.”
He stared at her, waited about a minute, then asked, “What about now?”
Wolf with Benefits tells the story of Toni Jean Louis Parker and Ricky Lee Reed. Toni is a jackal, oldest of eleven children and the only one of those eleven children who is not a prodigy of something. Math, music, dance, art, every child in her family is a genius. Toni isn’t a prodigy, but she’s the one who has kept everyone in order all these years. Even her parents can’t control and manage the family as well has she can. She’s basically put her own life on hold in order to take care of her crazy, selfish brothers and sisters and self-absorbed parents. Ricky Lee is one of the “Reed Boys”, brother to a pregnant Ronnie Lee and member of the Smith Pack. He and his brothers have come to New York to join Bobby Ray Smith’s pack and work for him in his security business. The middle of three boys, he’s the laid back one, the one who is patient and willing to wait for the good stuff to come to him.
Ricky Lee meets Toni for the first time at his brother’s hockey practice, she’s there so her brother can get an autograph from the great Bo Novikov, but since it requires all her attention to keep her siblings in line, she barely notices the good-looking wolf. He’s intrigued by her and her crazy family , but tends to let the entertainment come to him rather than chasing after it. They run into each other again and again, and he soon realizes that this she-jackal is just what he needs. After dealing with several problematic hockey players Toni gets the chance to finally branch out on her own and find out what makes her happy. She gets a job offer with the hockey team and her first order of business is taking a trip to Russia to deal with a group of bears who are a pain in the ass. Ricky comes along for the ride as her security detail, after all someone needs to protect her from the notoriously difficult Russian hockey team.
Ricky and Toni’s romance is a little quieter than others we’ve seen in this series. He’s a southern good old boy, who follows Toni around and is willing to wait for her to finally accept him. He protects her, keeps her from cracking under the pressure of separating from her family and supports her while she’s realizing she has gifts of her own. I freaking loved Ricky Lee. This couple is surrounded by craziness: her siblings, the hockey team, the wolf-dog pack across the street, Bo, Blayne, Dee Ann…. One of the things I enjoy most about the Pride series is that beloved characters don’t go away at the end of a book, they reappear again and again as integral parts to other romances. I honestly felt that this was the best of the series. Ms. Laurenston has managed to take the romance of Ricky and Toni a little slower while still giving the reader all the laugh out loud moments and zany situations. There are several new characters introduced who are sure to keep the laughs going in upcoming installments. I especially loved Toni’s best friend who is one of a kind, vicious and might be the most bad ass woman we’ve seen yet. Wolf with Benefits is book eight in a series that continues to make me laugh and look forward to what’s coming up next. Final Grade: B+
“See ya,” she said as she opened the door.
She stopped, faced him. “What?”
“When will you see me? Tonight? Tomorrow? This weekend?”
“I’m not dating you.”
“Who said anything about dating? We’re shifters. Shifters don’t date. That’s for full humans.”
“Then what are you suggesting?”
“Sex. Preferably lots of it.”
“Just sex? That’s all you want?” she pushed.
“What? Do you like to talk or something?”
Ricky grinned. “So you wanna just hit it?”