by Celia Kyle, Nina Pierce, and Tina Holland; paranormal (2008)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-59578-480-3
I'm sure you can guess from its title that Furry, Fluffy And Wild is an anthology revolving around shapeshifters. Of course, you can also guess that this is an anthology about people who wear rubber suits of animals, complete with synthetic fur and even feathers, and make bizarre love while making animal sounds, but let's get real here. Nobody wants to read about two people doing naughty things to each other while wearing bearskin rugs.
Celia Kyle's Were What? opens with wolf woman Lyla in human form running away from a bad date who has rape or maybe even murder on his mind. I'm told that Lyla is overweight and in a dead-end job, but when she finds her way in the heart of town where it seems like every wolf man there is a rapist in the making, she has to put her safety in the hands of human Army man Michael. Michael has just discovered the existence of spooks in this world and he is not pleased to be saddled with one of those creatures that haunt his nightmares. Still, his libido has to admit that he finds this one a cute spook.
The characters are pretty memorable and I like how Lyla can take care of herself as well as Michael when the going gets tough, but I am confused by Lyla. She's supposed to be overweight and I deduce that she must be unattractive in some way since she manages to hit thirty without getting a mate. But in this story, it seems like Lyla is one hot lady attractive unwanted attention from rabid creeps who have read way too many of Laurell K Hamilton's books to the point that they imagine every spooky woman is begging for it everywhere and anywhere all the time. Which is which? Still, all things considered this is a fun, if very underdeveloped, short story.
Jayda Kynslan - worst name ever, I tell you - and Cole Takoda meet up in the Whip and Bull Tavern and have plenty of hot sex in Nina Pierce's Blue Moon Rising. She's hot, she's looking to get laid, and she rides the mechanical bull like a pornographic fantasy come to life. What's not to want, eh? There is also a plot here involving Jayda learning that she's a shifter and that the whole town is full of such folks as well as a dead body.
Apart from the heroine's cringe-inducing name and the fact that the villains pretty much blab out their plot within the heroine's earshot, this one is an enjoyable story. I've mentioned in a previous review that Nina Pierce is one of those authors who seem to always get what a short story should be about. This one is no different - it feels like a complete and much longer story, the characters are adequately developed for a story of this length, and the plot actually complements the sex scenes very well.
Tina Holland's Beauty Is A Beast is the sole futuristic romance in this anthology. Set in 3024 AD, this story has zombies wandering around eating everything and generally spoiling the scenery. There is a love story between one Michael, or the Air Clan, and one Nizhoni, a Mojave shapeshifter woman, but that is all I can tell you because the rest of the story leaves me feeling lost. The story seems to be part of some ongoing series that I have not read. I know it is related to the setting of the author's short story in the anthology Of Flesh And Blood, but I am still lost while trying to make sense of this story. It's like that Walt Disney cartoon version of Pocahontas with all the songs sung backwards in a language that I am unfamiliar with, also with all kinds of spooky stuff thrown in.
The first story is pleasant if forgettable, the second story is good, and the third story... well, the less said about it the better. That makes this a one and a half out of three for this anthology.
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