Ellora’s Cave, $5.95, ISBN 1-84360-807-3
Fantasy Erotica, 2004
If you have not read any of the Lora Leigh – or is it Lora’s Cave? – Breeds series, then in a nut shell, it revolves around some secret evil shadow government agency that has been playing with human/animal DNA and mixing and matching their traits and then raising what they think will be the purrrrrfect soldiers. MEOW! By the time we get to Elizabeth’s Wolf we have already met the Feline Breeds and found out about their assorted clan of Lions and Tigers, but no Bears, nope that will probably be the gay romance series. Oh and notice I did not say one word about their barbed peniseseses… peni? of course that is knot the problem the wolves have. Knot get it? um, remind me not to quit my day job.
Elizabeth’s Wolf starts us right off and introduces us to Dash Sinclair, bad ass soldier extraordinaire. A Wolf Breed that escaped the Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS evil labs and hid himself in the US military fighting foreign wars and kicking much butt. When we meet him he has suffered a tragic accident that took the lives of his men and as he lays in a coma someone starts reading him letters from a little girl by the name of Cassie Colder. Cassie tells him all about her and her mommy Elizabeth. Something magic happens and Dash knows, he just knows, they are in trouble and so he gets his act together and runs off to find them.
Out of all the Breed books this one rocks so hard. The typical Breed in your face formula (mating sex, love sex, anal sex, baby sex) gets delayed and for the first half we have a straight on story of the Dash dude coming to the rescue, who does not go on and on about super secret laboratory sex-perimentation and well he actually had a life and he has people who like him and stuff, and his fight to help save little Cassie (Calling Damien! Oh Damien!) and mommy Elizabeth and keep them safe from the bad guys.
The bad guys are not so overly defined like in the other books and are far less mad scientist scary government like omnipotent and/or ridiculous in that order and more of your TV style bumbling Mafia type evil bad guys. Like the ones found on Law and Order.
Note to the author: less sex labs, more militant mafia types… OK?
I think the fact that the kid Cassie is around in the first half keeps us firmly planted in the fast paced action adventure story with only minor sweaty lovers clinches and I’m gonna fuck you threats so we get an actual build up of emotions before the act so to speak. That is till about half way through when Lora decides this would be a good time to shove the old Callan Lord of the Pussy into the picture. So here are these well drawn characters with depth suddenly running into a wandering pack of comic book cut outs. Oh my, what a messy messy meeting that was. The book was screaming, “I wanted to be an only child Lora! Why? Why?”
Despite these faults, I still love this book and hell, I think Lora Leigh does too. This one is not officially really part of the Wolf Breeds series. It stands out by itself in the listings and also in the writing. The author actually seemed to have a story to tell, she had interesting characters to introduce us to and this was definitely not just another book perfunctorily written as a place mark for some minor Breed character she introduced as a member of the gang back in book one and now feels obligated to write their story even if all the good plots are already taken.
The world she has built over the series comes to life here and the characters and their situations bring depth to it unlike… well, you know, meow. It’s just too bad that the rest of the series just seems to fail more often than not. Even though hope, I heard, she springs eternal.
I find it scary that I get drawn into this world of two dimensional characterization and hokey sex vibes and well, things that I should not be worried about in romance books. Like why do the felines act just like the wolves and coyotes so often? So grab Elizabeth’s Wolf and if you really like it go back and start with the Feline Breeds series and see how far you can stand it.
I am not saying you will not enjoy all the Lora Leigh Breed ebooks. My personal rule of thumb is the first ebook of each trilogy is usually the best of the three. Notice I said ebooks there? Mind you, I have read the paperbacks and um nah stick to the Ellora’s Cave offerings way much more better if you catch my drafty drift there. Let us not put down pure formula people. I love popcorn and cotton candy and watching Tom Cruise get blown up over and over again just like everyone else. I am simply gonna say in the end, I was happy I had read this one book out of that whole series.