Brava, $14.00, ISBN 978-0-7582-2036-3
Fantasy Erotica, 2007
The Mane Event is a collection of two stories designed to introduce folks to Shelly Laurenston’s urban fantasy setting where shapeshifters Wolves, Lions, and Hyenas are baring their teeth at each other as if they are the new Jets and Sharks in New York. This collection, if you can’t tell already by its title, focuses on the Lions.
Christmas Pride sees Mace Llewellyn and Dez MacDermot reconnecting after having gone their separate ways once high school was over. The only thing is, Mace is a Lion and he’s supposed to be taking care of Pride business while Dez is a cop who happens to be investigating the murder of some poor sucker who was the member of Mace’s Pride. However, any hint of story is pushed to the periphery as Dez and Mace warm up the sheets several times over by the time someone remembers that there is a murder mystery in this story.
Shaw’s Tail has some inter… um, interracial – I suppose that’s the word to use, heh – romance between a Lion and a Wolf as Ronnie Lee Reed, our Wolf heroine, ends up taking in our injured and feverish Lion hero Brendon Shaw. Brendon’s injuries are due to events that took place during Christmas Pride, by the way. At any rate, he decides that he wants Ronnie to be his mate while Ronnie realizes that after years of eluding responsibilities and breaking men’s hearts it’s time she settle down and pucker up her lips to Brendon. Don’t ask me what their kids would turn out to be. I don’t want to know.
The problem with these two stories is that they are way too short and the sex scenes dominate the two stories to the point that the stories seem to be an afterthought after all that sizzling between the sheets. This is a pity because the characters have potential to be memorable, especially Ronnie. Instead, Ms Laurenston resorts to the whole “mate/bond/lust at first sight” shortcut to justify her characters’ true-love-forever thing and wraps up the story neatly once she’s burned up most of her allocated word count on sex scenes.
Not that there is anything wrong with those sex scenes, of course, but the really underdeveloped non-sexual aspects of the stories and the characters do result in a vaguely unsatisfying read.