Reviewed by: Candace
Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars
Confession time: The Undead Next Door was the very first adult paranormal romance novel that I bought. I read, not realizing that this was book four in the Love at Stake series or that vampires could be funny. Thus began my love affair with the world of adult paranormal romance and with Kerrelyn Sparks’ books.
Phil was the big introduction to the world of the shifter and we have had more exposure to shifters mixing with the Undead. Which leads us to Howard Barr, his name being a clever play upon what Howard really is: a werebear.
My previous impression of Howard was that he is a shifter perfectly content to bark (oops, wrong species) roar orders to the other daytime security personnel of Angus’ security firm. However, we find with Wild About You that Howard is the silent observer who takes in all information from his surroundings before executing retribution with the brute force that only a bear can deliver.
Howard has spent time observing his family in Alaska, even drawing Dougal and Phil there, to help save his former home. Having set his plans into motion, Howard returns to his duties as daytime security for the Draganesti’s children as well as others who attend the school that Shanna and Roman have set up.
Shanna, newly-turned vampire, discovered that Howard has a fascination with a reality TV home improvement star, Elsa Bjornberg. Elsa and Alastair, a co-star, arrive at the Draganesti’s gatehouse under the guise of completing an improvement job for a future show. Shanna has done everything she could to get Howard home. The plan works as the 6-foot tall, “big boned” beauty sets eyes on Howard. The attraction is there.
Elsa and Howard both are drawn to each other like…well, bears to honey. But Howard’s earlier plans involving some payback and aunts who claim mystical connections and curses, get in the way of Elsa and Howard’s potential relationship.
Sparks is spot-on with her humor in Wild About You. Not only is she a gifted writer, she is pretty damned funny. (Come on, Bleer? My husband has a stash of Coronas in our pantry. Those of us with husbands of the non-fanged variety can appreciate the humor). My problem is that there is a lot of emphasis on weight in the Love at Stake series. I get it. Women are driven by the images society forces upon us. But there is one point here where Elsa is offended, emphasizing that she is below 200 lbs. We eventually find out she is between 160 and 170 lbs. She’s 6 feet tall. If you look at a BMI chart, that’s pretty spot on. There is another part where Shanna suggests that she wishes she could teleport ten pounds lighter. While the heroes are all lauded for their masculine beauty. Maybe that’s a personal point of view, but I wish there would be less emphasis on the weight.
Sparks rebounds from that setback with old heroes. Phineas gives us a typical Love Doctor wisecrack. Ian visits Elsa and Howard. Phil and Dougal are there throughout. Shanna and Tino are a constant presence. We also get bits and pieces from the vampire who started the whole series, Roman.
Fans who need humor with your fangs, this series is for you.
Sexual content: Sensual situations, sex