Wild About You
Avon / November 27, 2012 / $7.99 print, $5.99 digital
It's not every day that Elsa Bjornberg feels delicate, not when she hosts a home renovation show where she can effortlessly demolish a kitchen. But from the moment she meets Howard Barr, this bear of a man makes her feel like a woman. And the way he looks at her, as if she were a pot of honey he'd like to lick...
Howard is not like most men. For one thing, he's a shapeshifter. And he always thought his celebrity crush would never amount to anything more than drooling at Elsa on TV. When his meddling vampire employer gets involved, the star is suddenly within his grasp—and within a hair of her life. For an ancient curse forbids their newfound love, and Howard is suddenly torn between his desire for her and his desire to keep her alive.
Kerrelyn Sparks has included many shifters in her Love at Stakes vampire series, werewolves, were-panthers, were-tigers, but none is more cuddly and complex than the were-bear Howard Barr. Howard is quiet and shy, he generally keeps to himself as bears usually do, and he loves his donuts, but as a Kodiak grizzly bear, Howard is definitely one were-bear you want on your side during a fight.
Howard has been part of the series since the first book. He's a former linebacker for the Chicago Bears and now head of security for the Draganesti family, and has always been a trusted and an integral character of the Love at Stake series.
Now Howard has a problem—a big, gorgeous, blonde bombshell of a problem. Elsa Bjornberg is the most beautiful woman Howard has ever seen. He is impossibly drawn to her just by watching her home renovation show. In an attempt to play matchmaker, Shanna Draganesti invites the crew of International Home Wreckers to renovate the former gatehouse at Dragon’s Nest Academy. When Amazon Ellie and her crew show up to begin the project at the new Draganesti home, Howard will do anything to convince Elsa that they should be together.
“Oh.” Her heart swelled in her chest. Howard had given her flowers?
She rushed over the table. “They’re beautiful!”
Flowers from Howard. She touched the card with his bold handwriting, then gently stroked one of the pink roses. She couldn’t recall ever getting flowers before. Her last boyfriend had surprised her on Valentine’s Day with two tickets to a wrestling match. Somehow, guys never understood that inside her large body there was a woman who craved pretty, girly things as much as any other female.
But Howard understood.
Being an honorable man, Howard knows that he has to confess to Elsa that he is a were-bear. Although Howard would never hurt anyone but how does a great big were-bear prove he is just a cuddly teddy bear at heart?
“Oh, Howard.” She rested her head on his shoulder. “I do want to believe you, but this were-bear stuff is so…”
“Frightening.” She leaned back to study his face. “What if you lose control?”
“I’m always in complete control. Of the bear, that is. Other parts seem to have a mind of their own.”
She gave him a wry look. “Beast.”
As if things are not complicated enough for Howard and Elsa, they soon learn that both of their families tell legends of a family curse involving beserkers, mystical creatures and guardians of the forest, and although there are differences in their family stories, there is only one ending to all these tales—the beast kills his lover. If there is any truth to these stories, can Howard and Elsa break a family curse that has followed their families for centuries, or are the risks to their safety too much for their love?
“But your grandfather still believes you are cursed?”
Howard waved a dismissive hand. “It has no power unless you believe in it.”
She nodded. That’s what she’d always thought. But the curse had been much easier to dismiss before she’d learned that berserkers were real.
When your outward appearance is so large and foreboding, how do you show someone the gentle soul within wants nothing but love and affection?
Lucy Dosch writes book reviews for her blog http://ebookobsessed.com. Her e-reader has turned her love of reading into an obsession. When she is not reading, she likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters.