Howling For My Baby
by Beverly Rae, paranormal (2009)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-484-2

Howling For My Baby was previously published as the more genial-sounding Kissin' In The Moonlight back in 2007 by everyone's favorite publisher Triskelion Publishing. This edition has been revised as well as reissued, according to the publisher website.

Sydney Skeller is expected to take up the family business of putting no-good shifters down, but clearly our heroine has read enough erotic paranormal romances because deep inside she's yearning for some animal loving from a guy who turns into something resembling an overgrown wolf when the mood strikes him. Hey, different strokes of monster pee-pees for different people, I suppose. Sydney has been experiencing nightly erotic dreams of hot boinking with a shifter... which makes me wonder: how does she know that her nightly boink-friend is a shifter? Does he turn into Scooby-Doo while he's happily doing his thing with her? "Honey, can you please try to clamp your snout shut? Your drool is dripping all over my face..."

Jason Cannon and his friend Benjy Boudoir are not porn stars. No, really, what gives you the idea? They're business partners and they crunch numbers on software for a living. I'll always be disappointed that Benjy isn't the hero here, because a name like that is created for a hero in a werewolf romance, I tell you. Anyway, Jason "Not Gay Either!" Cannon is tired of playing the field but lucky for him, shortly after the story opens, he smells out a woman who is his mate and he's off on the chase. Guess who the woman is. Rescuing her from a misbehaving treadmill machine will win him some brownie points with her, right? Well, wait until her family finds out what the boyfriend has in common with Fido the doggie...

Howling For My Baby is an amusing story with likable characters, although the story starts out pretty awkwardly by having the heroine go through a few scenes straight out of a bad slapstick comedy. The story picks up steam as it progresses, concluding in a most satisfying high note. The romance isn't too deep as the author uses the whole mate-mate-mate thing as a shortcut for relationship development, but Jason and Sydney make an amusing pair that complement each other's personality nicely. A little more love and romance will be nice, but given that this story is fueled more by amusing punchlines and sizzling chemistry that works, this one is actually a pretty decent read.

The main thing holding me back from giving this story more generous praise is the writing. This story is very unpolished compared to the author's more recent works. There are some pacing issues as some scenes can drag on and on while adding nothing to the story line, for example, and the author's sense of timing with the punchlines here isn't as good as that in her previous efforts. For example, her previous full-length story I Married A Demon has a heroine who isn't exactly a rocket scientist, but the punchlines come fast and loose with impeccable timing. Despite my misgivings about that book, I can't deny that I laughed hard and often while reading it. For Howling For My Baby, however, there are some obvious misfires and some long awkward moments where the scenes just drag on and on. Perhaps it's good that I get to see that the author has polished up her craft since Triskelion Publishing closed its doors, because this book isn't as good as some of the author's more recent efforts.

Rating: 74

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