Wolf with Benefits by Shelly Laurenston
ORDER A COPY: Wolf with Benefits (The Pride Series)
Publishing Date: March 26, 2013
Paperback: 400 pages
Rating: 4 stars
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.
Jackal shifter, Antonella “Toni” Jean-Louis Parker is the only one of her ten siblings who is not a child prodigy. Because of this, she takes care of scheduling all their classes, recitals, concerts, gallery showings, and competitions. She is overworked and underappreciated, and with the encouragement of her mother’s best friend, Irene Van Holtz, she attempts to finally start to live her own life and gets a job with the hockey team, the New York Carnivores taking care of schedules, travel arrangements, appearances and competitions for a much larger set of prima donnas. A job she is well qualified for.
It is outside of the Carnivore’s arena where she first meets Ricky Lee Reed, a wolf shifter and an employee of Llwellyn Securities. At least she thinks he has a job, but he always seems to have plenty of time to follow her around and “wait for the entertainment to find him.”
Toni’s self-centered siblings don’t like that Toni is no longer at their beck and call and are using their talents to plot a way to get her to quit her new job. Between the temperamental prodigies, the hot headed athletes and the sexy wolf who’s chasing her around, Toni is more than ready for a melt down of her own.
Another enjoyable Pride story by Shelly Laurenston. Both Ricky Lee and Toni were very likeable characters and her temperamental siblings added a lot of humor to the story.
We first met Toni’s parents in the anthology When He Was Bad (another good story). Jackie was the roommate of Irene Conridge, now Irene Van Holtz, mate of the Alpha Niles Van Holtz. Jackie too was a child prodigy and she too relies on Toni’s help to corral all of her younger children. Although Jackie agrees that Toni should have her own life, she calls Toni with her problems as much as the younger children.
Ricky slides himself into Toni’s life, whether she wants him there or not, and his laid-back personality is beneficial to Toni. He quickly learns how to manage Toni and helps stabilize her whenever her siblings or her new job start to push her over the edge.
Shelly Laurenston is another author who drops you right into a story and you just enjoy it from start to finish with just the right balance of humor and action. She’s always a good choice.
Received ARC from netgalley.com courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
“It’s six thirty? A.M.?
Freddy nodded. “Uh-huh. Mommy made you waffles and bacon.” Freddy smiled. “I’m so glad you’re home.”
Toni smiled at her brother. “Me, too.”
He walked to the door, stopped and said over his shoulder, “You’re invited, too, Mr. Reed.”
“Just call me Ricky Lee.”
“Okay, Ricky Lee.”
Her brother walked out and Toni spun around, landing on her knees. “You were here the whole night?”
Yawning and scratching his head, the big wolf rolled onto his back. “I guess so.”
“What the hell were you thinking?”
“That I was tired…that you were tired…that we were tired.”
“But you were here all night. And in my bed. And Freddy saw us!”
Resting on his elbows, Ricky raised himself up. “It’s not like we were naked.”
“That’s not the point. Once Freddy knows, the world will know.”
Ricky shrugged. “Don’t make me no never mind.”
“Well it does to me.”
“That ‘cause you’re ashamed to be seen with me?”
Surprised by the question, Toni immediately replied, “Of course not!”
“You sure? I know most of your friends are important artists and musicians. I ain’t nothin’ but a good ol’ wolf from Tennessee.”
“Your accent certainly does get thick when you’re trying to make me feel guilty.”
“Is it working?” He reached over and wrapped his arm around her waist, pulling her close. Laughing a little when she fell into him.
Toni braced her hands against his chest but didn’t try too hard to pull away.
“I swear,” he said, gazing at her mouth, “I didn’t mean for this to happen. I just thought we’d sleep for an hour or two. Not all day and night.”
“I was more worried about us being up all night. You know, from the change in time.”
“I think dealing with those bears just wore us out. It was the first time you could sleep without worrying.”
Toni smiled. “But that doesn’t explain why you slept so long.”
“That’s your fault.”
“Snuggling up to you just makes me so dang comfortable. Why would I bother moving?”