The New York shifter community is full of wolves, hyenas, lions, tigers, grizzly and polar bears. Lou Crushek (Crush) – polar bear shifter – and Marcella “Bare Knuckles” Malone (Cella) – she-tiger shifter – meet the morning after a party where they had more than their share of jelly shots. They end up having to work together to find who is hunting and killing shifters for sport.
Crush is an introverted cop who hates change.
Cella is a high skilled feline contract killer who has a passion for hockey. Drama seems to follow her wherever she goes. Adding to that, her nickname is “Bare Knuckles” because she has no problem with punching someone in the face, male or female, and usually knocks them out.
When I saw this book, it immediately went on my TBR list. I have read werebear (bear shifter) books in the past and thoroughly enjoyed them because I like it when a woman pokes a surly bear. From the synopsis and the cover, it seemed that Crush was as surly as they come. I was excited. I like dour, grumpy heroes who come out of that shell for love. What I was not prepared for was how much I loved Cella’s personality.
Cella is crass, loud, and unapologetically outspoken. From that description alone, you would think that her character would be unlikable. I loved the fact that she was a skilled assassin who used her talents for the good of her people. Plus, she was not arrogant, but still very sure of her abilities on and off the ice.
In the beginning she antagonizes Crush by doing all sorts of outrageous things to get him to react. I knew sooner or later she was going to have to ease up if they were going to get together. Of course, once he agreed to be her “pretend boyfriend”, I knew that they were well on their way to romance town.
What to say about Crush? Let’s just say, “I’m crushing on Crush.”
He is a big hulking polar bear man, described as looking like a meth dealer/possible serial killer. He is as straight as an arrow cop who believes in using the proper channels to achieve justice. He is scary looking and hopes that will encourage people to leave him alone. But when he is thrust into a room with his hockey idols (coincidentally one is Cella’s dad ), we see what a hockey fan boy he is. It was endearing.
Crush knows that he is attracted to Cella.
Her scent made him want “to roll around until he was completely saturated with it.”
However, unlike other shifter books I have read, it is not a we-are-fated-to-be-mates type of scenario. They still have to decide if attraction is enough.
“Crush has no idea what to do with this woman.
He knew what he’d like to do with her…”
Bear Meets Girl was a winner and I am glad I discovered this author. This story has romance, humor, and a touch of suspense. The resolution of the main problem was not resolved to my satisfaction, but it was minor to me with regards to the story line. I was rooting for Cella to have her happy ending and I knew that Crush was the perfect guy for her. Plus, Crush needs a woman like Cella because she keeps him from taking himself too seriously and helps him deal with change in a more productive way. The supporting characters helped to paint a complete picture and, in the end, I wished they were real so I could hang out with them.
Funniest line in the whole book-
“Hey, I haven’t broken a guy’s leg for money- and hockey doesn’t count- since I was sixteen.” – Cella’s dad