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Monday, February 28, 2011

Vicki Lewis Thompson: WILD ABOUT YOU SERIES

Plot Type: Soul-Mate Romance (SMR)
Ratings:  Violence2; Sensuality4; Humor4
Publisher and Titles:  Signet Eclipse
       Werewolf in Manhattan (1/2011)
       Werewolf in Greenwich Village (e-novella, 9/11)
       Werewolf in the North Woods (10/2011)
       Werewolf in Seattle (4/2012)
       Werewolf in Denver (10/2012)
       Werewolf in Alaska (7/2013)
       Werewolf in Las Vegas (3/2014) (FINAL-probably)

     This post was revised and updated on 4/7/14 to include a review of  Werewolf in Las Vegas, the sixth novel in this series. That review appears first, followed by an overview of the world-building and reviews of the first five novels:.  

            NOVEL 6:  Werewolf in Las Vegas            
     Most of the books in this series are 90% romance and 10% external conflict (the action part of the plot), but this one is 100% romance. Giselle Landry is the chief financial officer (CFO) for the San Francisco pack, and her brother, Bryce, is supposed to be taking over the alpha position (aka chief executive officerCEO). Bryce, however, has run away from his duties, breaking off his engagement and heading for Las Vegas to disappear into the neon lights and crowds of tourists. When Giselle arrives in Vegas, she learns that Bryce is in the company of another runaway: Cynthia Dalton, a human who is the sister of Luke Dalton, owner of the Silver Crescent Casino. Although Luke and Giselle believe at first that Cynthia and Bryce are lovers, they soon learn that is not the case. They are just friends who have decided to work together to make Luke understand that he has to stop trying to run Cynthia's life.

     The Silver Crescent was originally built by Harrison Cartwright as a haven for werewolves, but he lost the Casino to Luke's father, Angus, in a high-stakes poker game. Both Harrison and Angus have recently died, and as the story opens, Harrison's son, Benedict, is trying to win back the Silver Crescent. Unfortunately, Benedict is not a very good poker player, and when he bets his bar, Howlin' at the Moon, against Luke's Silver Crescent, Benedict loses. Unfortunately for all the Vegas werewolves, the bar sits on top of a huge underground forested area that Harrison built as a fantastical werewolf playground. 

     So…we have three very minor conflicts in the story: the search for the runaway couple, Luke's gradual change from overprotective father figure to supportive brother, and the werewolves' loss of Howlin' at the Moon. Mostly, though, we have the romance that flares up instantly between Giselle and Luke as they team up to find their missing siblings. That search turns out to be a kind of scavenger hunt filled with various adolescent-level pranks, most of which involve water being used in some type of humiliating manner against Luke (e.g., water balloon to the head, bucket of water over doorway).

     This is by far the lightest and fluffiest novel in the series so far. The story basically consists of one bedroom scene after another interspersed with various water pranks. In fact, one sexy scenefeaturing creative uses for chocolate mousse cake on white sheetscovers three entire chapters (13-15). The fact that Giselle is a werewolf and Luke is a human is a problem that is faced and resolved in several paragraphs near the end of the book. Needless to say, Luke and Giselle get their HEA and Cynthia and Bryce go off to their separate lives, secure in the knowledge that they are in charge of their own destinies.

     If you enjoy this series, I'm sure that you'll like this book, which can definitely be read as a stand-alone.  Click HERE to read an excerpt (chapter 1) from Werewolf in Las Vegas

     At the end of this novel, Thompson includes a "Dear Reader" letter in which she states, "I've loved cavorting with my sexy werewolves, but every once in a while a girl likes to try something new. In my case, it turned out to be three novellas gathered under the banner of The Perfect Man." According to, these novellas were published as e-novellas in mid-2013, but in September 2014 they will be coming out as a single paperback and e-book. Thompson does not explicitly state that she has finished the WILD ABOUT YOU series, but I'm guessing from her statement that she is ready to turn away to new characters and plots.    

     In this world, paranormal beings have not come out to the human population, although they secretly live among the humans. The wealthy and powerful werewolves are divided into packs across the U.S. in most of the major cities. In New York City, the Wallace family heads the pack, with Howard, the pack leader; Aidan, his heir apparent; and Roarke, his youngest son. Werewolves in this world tend to marry other werewolves, and the idea of a male werewolf taking a human bride is frowned upon with disdain and outright hostility. Needless to say, the Wallace sons soon shake up the traditional werewolf outlook on intermarriage with humans.

     Each book follows the long and rocky romantic road of an alpha werewolf and his newly discovered true mate, who is usually human or half-human. Books 1 and 2 follow the romances of the Roarke brothers, and books 3 and 4 tell the stories of the MacDowell brothers, from Scotland.

     This series has the same levels of violence, sensuality, and humor as Thompson's very funny HEX series, which follows the adventures of a witch and a wizard in Big Knob, Indiana (and they don't call it Big Knob for nothing!).  Thompson's stories are always sexy, face-paced and humorous, with quirky characters, humorous dialogue, and plenty of sensuality.  

            NOVEL 1:  A Werewolf in Manhattan            
     In book 1, Emma Gavin is the author of a popular series of werewolf novels. She's human, and as normal as apple pie. Emma does not believe that werewolves exist in the real world. All of the details of her werewolf stories come directly from her extremely creative imagination. Unfortunately, Emma gets everything right about werewolf culture, and the werewolves suspect that one of their own must be supplying Emma with inside information—risky behavior that must be stopped immediately. Howard orders Aidan, who his chief security officer, to put Emma under heavy surveillance in order to identify her werewolf source. Aidan has been pledged since birth to marry Nadia Henderson, daughter of the Chicago pack leader, but they don't really love each other. (Note the mirrored spelling of their names.) As Aidan watches Emma and learns more about her, lustful feelings begin to creep into the picture. Eventually, the two meet at one of Emma's book signings and become friendly...and friendlier...and even more friendly.

     The mostly non-violent villain (actually, more of a brat than a villain) is Theo, the teen-age son of the pack leader of Chicago, who sends Emma a series of romantic e-mails in which he tells her that she needs a real werewolf in her life and that he wants to show her just why he's the one for the job. As Emma sets off for Chicago on the first leg of her book tour, Aidan goes along as her bodyguard in order to keep Theo from revealing any werewolf secrets to Emma. You can guess what happens to Emma and Aidan's relationship as they are thrown together 24/7. By the end of the trip, both of their lives have changed forever. The Theo-related plot is just a small jolt on their slightly bumpy romantic road. Click HERE to read the full text of this novel. Click HERE to read the first two chapters. 

            E-NOVELLA 1.5:  A Werewolf in Greenwich Village              
     If you read the first novel and felt a bit sorry for fashion designer Nadia Henderson (Aidan's former fiancée), you'll enjoy seeing her get her HEA with Quentin Wallace (Aidan's cousin) in this novella. This is a rare story for this series: a romance between two werewolves. The personal conflict between them centers on the fact that Nadia is several steps above Quentin in the werewolf hierarchyheiress to the Chicago alpha position. She lives in a world of expensive clothes, private jets, and luxurious limousines, while Quentin is a blue-collar building contractor who is more comfortable in jeans. As he explains to her, "You're royalty and I'm a peon. But I want you anyway." (chapter 2) 

     Their blossoming relationship  is one of those lightning-strike romances that is common to novellas. Just so that there is a bit of external conflict, the author makes Theo (Nadia's loose-cannon brother) the villain once again as he challenges Nadia for the position of alpha. 

     The conflict between the soul-mates centers on the fact that he is a wolf from a different pack who is well below her in the pecking order. In the end, Giselle must make a choice. She can either mate with Quentin or she can take her place at the head of the Chicago pack…or can she do both? Click HERE to read the full text of this novella.

            NOVEL 2:  A Werewolf in the North Woods            
     In the second book in the series, Abby Winchell's Grandpa Earl lives alone in his long-time home in the woods outside Portland, Oregon, where he has become an inveterate bigfoot hunter. When he finally sights a pair of sasquatch, he manages to take one grainy picture, and that's enough to set off a rush of amateur bigfoot sleuths to the dismay of the werewolf alpha whose property abuts the woods in which Grandpa Earl made his discovery. The alpha, Cameron Gentry, requests assistance, so Roarke Wallace, an anthropology professor, is dispatched to Portland to defuse the situation by denouncing Grandpa's claims. Abby decides to try to talk Roarke into easing off on his ridicule of her grandfather, but instead, she accidentally sees him shifting into werewolf form and gets some incriminating photographs. She uses these to blackmail Roarke into accompanying her into the woods to track down the sasquatch so that she can get pictures for her grandfather. The two, of course, fall head-over-heels in love in no time at all.

     The villain of the story is Gentry, who wants to force Grandpa off his land so that the werewolves can buy it. There isn't much action, but there are plenty of steamy sex-in-the-forest scenes and lots of humorous sniping between Abby and Roarke. Donald, the earnest young Sasquatch hunter the couple meets in the woods, also provides humor, as he attempts to impress Roarke with his knowledge of supernatural creatures. Click HERE to read the first two chapters.  

            NOVEL 3:  Werewolf in Seattle            
     As book 3 begins, Scottish werewolf alpha Colin MacDowell, Laird of Glenbarra, arrives at his late aunt's private island off the cost of Washington State near Seattle. Aunt Geraldine died recently and left him her entire estate, which includes a huge castle and surrounding woodlands. Colin plans to sell the estate even though he has fond memories of spending his summers there during his teen years. What Colin doesn't expect is the beautiful female werewolf who welcomes him to the castle. Twenty-seven-year-old Luna Reynaud was his aunt's assistant, and she definitely doesn't want Colin to sell the island. She has a plan to turn the estate into an exclusive retreat for werewolves and hopes to convince Colin to keep the current staff and hire her as the manager.

     Colin and Luna are immediately attracted to one another, and that attraction just keeps getting hotter and hotter. When Colin discovers that Luna is a virgin, he can hardly believe it since most werewolves begin their sexual activity when they are in their teens. Then he learns that Luna has been on her own since she was very young and had no one to teach her about her werewolf heritage. Her parents both died long ago—her father before she was born and her mother when she was eight—so Luna didn't even know that she was a were until she shifted the first time. Their love-making sessions mostly involve Colin teaching Luna the A-B-Cs of sex—and she is definitely a fast and enthusiastic learner. By the end of the story, Luna learns new facts about her parents and makes connections with some long-lost relatives.

     The plot follows the romance, which starts out smoothly but then gets rocky when Colin learns that Luna's mother was human. Collin is one of those traditional werewolves who believe that werewolves should mate only with their own kind. That doesn't stop him from enjoying as many bedroom (or beach, or hot-tub) pleasures as he can with Luna before he heads back to Scotland.

     As in past books, the villain here is relatively harmless—just a misguided, jealous man who made a wrong decision a long time ago that has emotionally crippled him ever since. He doesn't even show up in the story until the closing chapters. It's not a spoiler if I tell you that Colin and Luna achieve their HEA. After all, this is a soul-mate romance, so how else could it end?  The story is constructed in much the same manner as the first two books, with lots of sex, a light-weight villain, and a few quirky supporting characters to add to the humor. Although Luna believes that she and Colin can never be together, she really has no long, anguished interior monologues. In fact, she made me think of Dolly Parton with her wide-eyed innocence backed by a naughty sense of humor and a pragmatic outlook on life. If you enjoy light and fluffy werewolf romances, you'll like this one. Click HERE to read the first two chapters.  

            NOVEL 4:  Werewolf in Denver                
    As book 4 opens, Kate Stillman is picking up her nemesis Duncan MacDowell at the Denver airport. Kate is the leader of HOWL (Honoring "Our Werewolf Legacy), the group who champions pure were-were relationships and advocates the continuance of werewolf secrecy from the human world. Duncan, the brother of book three's Colin, is the leader of the mostly male WOOF (Werewolves Optimizing Our Future), who want to let the general public in on their furry secret and who are in favor of mating with humans. When the two are stranded overnight in an isolated cabin in a plot-convenient blizzard, they hit the sheets and begin a romantic relationship they both fear is doomed before it even starts.

    The plot follows Kate and Duncan as they eventually make their way through the snowdrifts to the first-ever worldwide were-con, which is being held by the Stillman pack. The reader knows from page one that the two will reach their inevitable HEA. It's just a matter of how bumpy their road to romance will be.

     As in previous books, a villain shows up late in the story and doesn't pose too much of a threatbut more than in the previous book. A few characters from previous books show up on the fringes of the action, but most of the scenes are between Kate and Duncanso not much action, except the bedroom kind.  

     This book is typical of the serieslight, humorous, and talky, with elements of darker emotions and a pinch of violence. Click HERE to read the first two chapters. Click HERE to read the full text of this novel.

             NOVEL 5:  Werewolf in Alaska                
    The scene shifts north to Alaska in the fifth book as we follow the love story of Jake Hunter, a cousin of New York's Wallace family. Jake's mother was a Wallace who married into the Hunter clan of Idaho, where Jake was raised. We met Jake in Denver in book 4 when he resigned his position with the Worldwide Organization of Werewolves (WOW) because he believed it was becoming too liberal on the were-human mating issue. Jake is a staunch werewolf conservative who has since formed his own organization, Werewolves Against Random Mating (WARM), and he spends much of his time working to expand its membership. Jake has lived for several years in a tiny, isolated Alaskan town called Polecat, where he has a rustic cottage on Polecat Lake. 

     Jake's soon-to-be soul mate is Rachel Miller, a renowned wood carver who lives in an equally rustic cabin directly across the lake from Jake. Ever since Jake and Rachel met three years ago (in the Prologue), each has secretly lusted after the other. Jake, however, will not give in to his hormones because Rachel is human, and he is determined to mate with a werewolf who will give him pure-blood children. Rachel admires Jake through binoculars every night as he skinny-dips in the lake, but she thinks that he is a bit stand-offish. When he returns a sculpture of a wolf that he bought from her the first time they met, she takes it as an insult to her art. Currently she is trying to find a boyfriend through Internet dating sites, but so far that's not working out.  

     Early in the book, Jake rescues Rachel from a bear attack in his wolf form, but is badly injured, so Rachel takes him into her house to heal him, thinking that he is someone's pet wolf or hybrid wolf-dog. During those chapters (about 60 pages), all of Jake's scenes are interior monologues, while Rachel speaks to him as if he were a big, shaggy dog. After a day or so, when Rachel finally lets Jake the wolf run free, he heads straight home (still in wolf form), and she sees him enter Jake's house. Now she's suspicious, and she does some snooping, uncovering Jake's big furry secret. The rest of the story focuses solely on their rocky road to romance. As in the previous books, the villains don't show up until the closing chapters, and the hero is able to defeat them within a few pages. They do, however, bring a new, nefarious organization into the story, and I'm sure that group will be turning up in future books.

     Of course we know from the book's first page that Rachel and Jake are soul mates, but it takes the entire length of the book for them to realize it for themselves. This book has much less action, humor, and conversation than the previous books, and the brief snippets of dialogue don't have the snarky verve that is the mainstay of the other books in the series. Mostly, what we have are pages and pages of interior monologues by the two lovers as they think and over think and rethink all of the ups and downs of their impossible situation.   

      I have to admit that this is my least favorite book in the series because of all the repetitive, angst-filled chapters. Jake and Rachel are O.K. as lead characters, but it would have been nice to have a bit more substance to the plot and a lot more humor in the dialogue. Click HERE to read the Prologue and Chapter 1 to see how Rachel and Jake meet for the first time. 
Click HERE to read the full text of this novel.  

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