by Beverly Rae, paranormal (2010)
Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-945-8
Cougar is actually about a ménage ` trois with furry heroes instead of an older woman deflowering barely jailbait boys. I hope you won't be too disappointed, heh.
The cougar in question is Chase Reya, a shifter who is full of disdain with anyone who isn't one of his kind. In order to improve his social manners, the cougar council orders Chase to go spend some time as a ranch hand at the Shiloh Hills Ranch, which is run by a human ally, Bob Tally. Shannon Tally, Bob's niece, also considers herself a cougar, which befuddles Chase because he can't sense any trace of cat on her, heh. She decides to start playing the field after experiencing one too many heartbreaks. Meanwhile, Dirk Claxton - not a porn actor, really! - is a werewolf cowboy working at the Ranch. Chase and he are initially at odds with each other, but you know how it is. Shannon is here to apply some love and make the boys play nice with each other.
It's pretty obvious early on that Chase and Shannon have eyes for each other and that Dirk is just allowed along for the ride, so if you are expecting a happy ending featuring all three walking off into the sunset, you're going to be disappointed by this one. I admit, I feel a slight pang of disappointment that Dirk isn't coming along, but that is because Dirk and Chase have a fantastic manly rapport that has me laughing. There is no fluid sexuality here - those two guys don't do each other - instead, they are so territorial and possessive when it comes to Shannon, even during happy hours, they make me laugh. At one point, Shannon tells to stop behaving like vampires, arguing about marking her and what not, and the whole thing is just too funny.
That's the beauty of Cougar. The plot isn't deep and the characterization is just adequate to ensure that the characters aren't cardboard thin, but the whole story is not only erotic but too much fun to read too. There is humor co-existing very nicely with the erotic aspects of the story. This one doesn't take itself too seriously, just going with the flow, and ends up being a most entertaining read as a result. Being a Cougar is indeed the new way of life.
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