Pack Challenge
by Shelly Laurenston, fantasy (2006)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 1-59998-122-X


Oh dear, I'm still laughing after having finished Pack Challenge. People, this one is a truly incredible campy werewolf romp with a heroine who is so outrageously trashy and kick-ass.

Sara Morrighan is scarred in the face and one of her legs is all but completely useless, but when our hero Zach Sheridan comes to her rescue when our drunk heroine is captured by two villainous werewolves, he arrives in time to see her grab a sharp piece of metal from one of her boots to stab one of the bastards hard with it. Zach has been looking for Sara all this while on the orders of his pack's Alpha Female.

Sara has no idea that she is actually a werewolf like Zach. In fact, the town was run by werewolves who protect her. Now that her grandmother has passed on, the town elder Marrec allows Zach and his buddy Conall to stay. Sara's parents were killed as a result of a pack feud and now that her location is discovered, her parents' killers are on to her as well. Zach has enough problems of his own trying to become the Alpha Male of his pack, and here he has to bring Sara back to the pack. He doesn't want a mate and he doesn't want Sara to be his mate, but when Sara can't stay out of trouble, he's definitely in for the long haul, heh.

He saw the struggle on her face. Knew what she wanted to do. And knew what she could handle. He expected her to walk away, and she didn't let him down. She walked away... for about five feet. Then, with a snarl, she spun back around and grabbed Casey from behind. One hand in the woman's hair, the other grabbing the denim jacket she wore. Sara snatched her off the bed and slammed Casey, face first, into the wall. She yanked her back, leaving a splash of blood on the white paint, and slammed her again. Then Sara threw her. Across the room and out the door, an arc of blood slashing across Marrec's bed. Zach heard Casey hit the wall with a sickening thud.

Wow.

He glanced at the rest of the Pack females and, to his growing pride, Sara picked up on it immediately. Her head snapped around and she nailed the four other women with one brutal scowl. "What are you bitches looking at?" she snarled.

Immediately they all look at the floor, the door, the ceiling — everything and anything but Sara. Zach bit back a smile and thought about mounting her right there in front of everybody.

Awesome.

Once gone, Yates went over to see the damage to his female. They all knew his time as Alpha Male was now over. And the man seemed relieved.

Conall shook his head and grinned. "Your woman is a major bitch."

Zach grinned back. "Isn't she, though?"

I want to be Sara when I grow up.

What I love about Pack Challenge is how unapologetically tough the heroine is. Think Geena Davis' character in The Long Kiss Goodnight and that's Sara. She is pretty smart too, as evidenced in a really gripping denouement where she tries to hold off the enemies as long as she can while the her Pack comes to her rescue. Ms Laurenston gives Sara a little bit of angst to give the character some depths, but Sara's pretty awesome already. Zach is an alpha hero who is more of a grouchy teddy bear when it comes to Sara. He loves the fact that she's tough as nails and she pretty much hands him the Alpha Male title on the platter sprayed with poor Casey's blood.

Pack Challenge is a blast. It's funny, sexy, and has a tough heroine throwing the Pack upside down without them knowing what has hit them. The only downside I feel about this book is that sometimes Sara's friends in this story come off too much like cartoon characters in their antics, but given the overall exaggerated feel of the story, I probably shouldn't be complaining.

Pack Challenge can sure pack a hell of a punch, I tell you.

Rating: 91


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