Mary and the Bear by Zena Wynn
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Hibiscus
Mary Elizabeth's life is spiraling out of control. Her twin sister, Babs, was killed in an automobile accident. Her bereaved brother-in- law has decided now is a good time to renew their college romance, and her healthy, domineering mother is demanding that she move back home and slave, ah, make that care for her. What's a woman to do? Get the heck out of Dodge! She jumps on the promotion offered by best friend, Kiesha Morgan, and moves to Refuge, NC. The last thing she wants or needs is
a man. She's got enough going on in her life.
Hugh Mosely owns and operates Refuge's only eating establishment. As a favor to Alex Morgan, good friend and alpha of the Raven Pack, he agrees to rent the empty apartment above his diner to Mary Elizabeth and keep an eye on her. Hugh is also a were-bear who's actively searching for a mate, a she-bear he can breed with and continue his nearly extinct species. Despite his nearly overwhelming, instant attraction to Mary Elizabeth, he has no interest in human females.
Unfortunately (or is that fortunately?) for them, the true mate bond doesn't care about personal agendas. Watch as they both get caught up in the Mating Fever and try to fight their way out.
I enjoyed this tale of shape-shifters and their mates. It put a new twist on what has become a standard story.
Mary Elizabeth is the supposed ugly duckling daughter whose twin sister, Babs, gets everything: their parents' love, friends, beauty, attention and even Mary Elizabeth's fiancé. When Babs died, I felt so sorry for Mary Elizabeth. When I read how her own parents wished she had been taken instead of the beautiful twin, it devastated me. I was glad that Mary Elizabeth moved away from everyone to be with her boss on the new store venture. I liked the idea that she left all her furniture and things behind to be sold and was starting fresh in Refuge, North Carolina. I got the impression that she is a strong, capable woman as her family always leaned on her to get things done and it took real strength to leave behind all that was familiar and start off in a new place by herself.
Hugh Mosley is Mary Elizabeth's landlord. He owns the town's only diner and only apartment. He retired from the military after 20 of service and is taking life easier. I got the impression that Hugh would love to settle down with a mate and have a family but he is resigned to the fact that it may never happen as there are few were-bears around. I loved Hugh's reactions to Mary Elizabeth. It was as if he didn't want to want her but he didn't want anyone else to sniff around her either. His growls at the party had me in stitches.
When Hugh realized that Mary Elizabeth was his mate, it was precious. I could see how he cared for her, not only when she was sick but how he fed her all the time and held her night and day. Mary Elizabeth didn't want to get into a relationship but was willing to be with Hugh for the time being. Watching Hugh wear away her defenses without her even knowing what he was about just made me smile. The sexual scenes between Hugh and Mary Elizabeth burned the pages on the computer. Watching Hugh try to restrain his beast while having intimate relations with Mary Elizabeth was a feat to be applauded, especially since Mary Elizabeth wanted his inner beast to come out and she didn't even realize it.
We have the very bad guy in the character of Charles Remington. He is Mary Elizabeth's ex-fiancé and now grieving brother-in-law. Unfortunately, Charles wants to be back in Mary Elizabeth's life and pesters he continuously. He is very rich and he even involves her parents in his campaign.
The only bad part to this great story is the editing. There are many grammatical errors and tense errors. It's not as bad as it could have been but it does make reading difficult in parts. I know this is not the fault of the author but I would have ranked this story higher if it did not have these errors. If you are able to ignore these types of errors, then I recommend Mary and the Bear. It is a very detailed story with a new slant on shape-shifters and their mates and takes a wicked twist at the end that I did not see coming.
I look forward to reading more about Refuge, North Carolina.