The Mane Squeeze, the fourth in Shelly Laurenston’s Pride series, begins with grizzly shape shifter, Lachlan “Lock” MacRyrie, aiding hybrid liger shifter Gwen O’Neill break up a fight at a friend’s wedding. He later encounters the Philly feline again when a pack of wolf shifters attack her and her fellow hybrid friend, Blayne, and he is startled, giving help unwittingly. From there, with the assistance of their scheming friends, they find themselves placed together and falling in love. The story has romance, action, humor, a well-developed universe with its own politics and prejudices, and, of course, the paranormal.
This is the first book by Shelly Laurenston that I have read. I decided to give it a try when Amazon.com offered it for free for a limited time on the Kindle. It was a pleasant surprise to me how good the story and characters were. I cannot believe I’ve been missing out on such a great story universe for such a long time.
I loved that rather than sticking with the usual werewolf story, Laurenston’s story is filled with a wide variety of shifters. Having a grizzly and a hybrid shifter couple was nice. Lock’s bear qualities and ticks were sweet and hilarious (particularly the scene where he teaches Gwen to play with her toes). Gwen’s troubles with being a hybrid and the prejudice against them added a realistic touch to the story.
I also liked that Lock was not a dangerous (though he is dangerous when startled) bad boy hero who needed to be saved from himself. He is well-adjusted, having had his issues from his past mostly worked out before the story began. Gwen is an outsider due to her hybrid breed, who is looking for where she belongs.
I am definitely looking forward to reading more of Shelly Laurenston’s novels. She has several series published, including one under the pseudonym G.A. Aiken.