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Monday, August 23, 2010

Little Red and The Wolf by Alison Paige

Little Red and the Wolf by Alison Paige
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Contemp
Length: Full Length (160 pgs)
Type: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Dandelion

Who said being eaten by the big bad wolf was a bad thing?

Maizie Hood struggles to keep her bakery turning a profit, her landlord from evicting her, and her dear Granny in a nursing facility. Wrestling with the decision to sell Gran’s cottage is hard enough. The last thing she needs is her childhood big-bad-wolf nightmares turning into real-life adult fantasies. Sexy businessman Gray Lupo’s sudden interest just makes matters worse. Is he the answer to her problems, or just a wolf in gentleman’s Armani?

Since his wife was killed twenty-one years ago, Gray’s life has been focused on two things: protecting the pack and avoiding the grown daughter of his wife’s killers. When it becomes clear he can’t do one without compromising the other, Gray finds playing “big bad wolf” to Maizie Hood’s “Little Red” is a role he enjoys far more than he expected.

A real bad wolf’s attack on Maizie changes everything. Gray can’t deny the pull she has on his instincts—and his heart. Suddenly he finds himself taking on a role he never thought he’d want, as her protector and mate. Until the truth about his connection to her nightmarish past comes to light…

This shape-shifter story about Gray Lupo and Maizie Hood is a fun take on the “Little Red Riding Hood” tale – just a whole lot sexier!

From the start, conflict abounds, as Maizie is trying to protect her Granny’s property from two men who want it for their own: Gray, who wants it as part of his forest preserve, and businessman Anthony Chadwick, who wants to develop it. Neither man’s motives are entirely pure, and Maizie spends a lot of the book trying to figure out which one she should trust. From the start, though, her chemistry with Gray is off the charts, which isn’t a surprise. He’s known her for twenty-one years, since her parents died in a car accident that also claimed his wife.

The connections between the characters are well thought out and explained – although sometimes too much so. Long passages chronicling the relationship between Gray’s pack members took away from the flow of the story - at least for me. The best parts of the book are the many encounters between Gray and Maizie, when they realize they’re meant to be life mates. The sex is terrific and terrifically described! Of course, the fact that he’s a werewolf and she’s a human makes for a little conflict early on. While I felt that certain aspects of Maizie's reactions to a rather stressful situation were a bit mild, all things considered, I still enjoyed this heroine.

Also, the story’s black moment turns on a conflict that falls dangerously close to the “with a single question it could have been cleared up” plot device. Maizie spends a lot of the story questioning Gray, which is fine, but rather than simply asking him the biggest question of all at the end, she assumes the worst. Then, after a dramatic showdown with the other major players, the problem is easily resolved.

So while I felt the plot of this story had some minor issues, I did enjoy the overall romance. Gray and Maizie are clearly meant to be together, and their relationship develops wonderfully over the pages of the novel. Minor characters are also interesting and compelling, especially Granny and Annette, Gray’s assistant (who has a terrific scene with Maizie near the end of the book). If you’re looking for a shape-shifter story that delves into the experience of transforming between human and animal, and provides some steamy sex along the way, Little Red and the Wolf is a good pick for you!

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