The Beast Within
Erin McCarthy, Bianca D’Arc and Jennifer Lyon
Kensington, Aug 31 2010, $14.00
“The Howling” by Erin McCarthy. Liv wonders whether she should delay her marriage to Scarborough as she still loves his brother Sebastian, who obviously rejected her having vanished with her money six months ago. While Scarborough flies to New York on business, Sebastian runs as a wolf while healing from when his sibling tried to kill him. He vows to return to lead his pack, but is angry with Liv for moving in with his brother.
“Smoke on the Water” by Bianca D’Arc. Donna is immune to the zombie contagion so has been partnered with veteran CIA operative John. They head to Tennessee to conduct undercover surveillance of Elizabeth who allegedly created the disease. John and Donna pretend to be newlyweds on a fishing vacation as the lodge next door makes observation easier. They begin to fall in love but neither knows where Elizabeth conceals her horde.
“Redeeming the Wizard” by Jennifer Lyon. Mira hates Gage the wizard who she blames him for the deaths of her parents, killed by trolls while visiting him seventeen years ago. Still she needs his help when a wizard kidnapped her matchmaking Gram. He asks what she offers in payment and she responds with anything he desires. Seventeen years ago Gage trusted his apprentice Jillian who seduced him and stole some of his power when she tried to bring over a demon, but lost control. The demon killed Mira’s parents. Gage killed Jillian and banished the demon, but his power overloaded and fried to unusable. As they fall in love he remains her enemy.
The male leads know what they want and go after the women they want while the fantasy elements are cleverly designed to feel genuine although the story lines are thin.