Howlin'
by Allyson James, paranormal (2007)
Ellora's Cave, $4.45, ISBN 978-1-4199-1366-2


Allyson James is Jennifer Ashley's alter-ego as a serious sexy erotic paranormal romance author. With it being what it is, Howlin' features a romance between two shapeshifters, helped along by a matchmaking fellow who also joins them in the bedroom, so while there is a wedding for two at the end, don't be surprised to find three people doing the ugly throughout the story.

Patrice Spencer has recently turned 25, just in time to meet a shaman named Jackson Gray who tells her that she's going to turn into a werewolf soon. Our policewoman heroine dismisses his words as nonsense, of course, but she thinks at the same time that it's a pity that such a hot fellow turns out to be crazy. Unfortunately, while playing with herself in front of the mirror one night, she finds herself covered with fur at the end of the happy moment. I'm sure grandmothers everywhere who have warned randy boys to watch where their hands are going will now feel most validated indeed.

Meanwhile, Alain Dupree is the kind of fellow who lives and runs wild in the rugged countryside of Sedona. Judging from this book, he's also the kind of stand naked on the front porch to play with himself. Maybe the night breeze makes everything better, I don't know. When Alain meets Patrice who meets Jackson, fur literally begins to fly. There is also a plot here, believe it or not, about the missing girlfriend of Alain's late father.

Let's start with the good things first. I like how Ms James actually depicts the werewolves here as mean and dangerous types who behave just like territorial wolves would. However, Ms James also manages to insert plenty of wry humor in the story, such as when Patrice nabs the bad guys in wolf form only to then revert to her human form to tell them to freeze because she's a cop. Also, I can't help thinking that the whole thing about these werewolves playing with themselves until they sprout fur is a nice little salute to the granny's tale about how too much masturbation will make hair grow on your palms. The sex scenes are also pretty hot, I find, especially when everyone goes at it with enthusiastic gusto in some interesting positions and all.

Now let's move on to the bad stuff. I don't know whether it's the full moon or what, but Ms James is unreasonably fond of the word "silver" here, especially when the word is used to describe the color of Alain's eyes. Yes, silver is bad for werewolves, but I don't know why Ms James insists on reminding me again and again to the point of overkill that Alain has silver-colored eyes. The word "silver" shows up so often that I can't help thinking that it is no wonder that some werewolves in this story died of silver poisoning.

Howlin' is a quick and easy read. It's not high romance and I suspect that any reader expecting this story to be high art is going to be very disappointed at the end of the day. But at the same time, this story manages to combine humor and the more bestial and primal sensuality/savagery of the werecreatures in this story so well that the end result is simultaneously erotic and laugh-out-loud funny. I like this one very much, so yeah, this one is definitely fine where I am concerned.

Rating: 85


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