It’s not every day that Elsa Bjornberg feels delicate, not when she hosts a home renovation show where she can effortlessly demolish a kitchen. But from the moment she meets Howard Barr, this bear of a man makes her feel like a woman. And the way he looks at her, as if she were a pot of honey he’d like to lick…
Howard is not like most men. For one thing, he’s a shapeshifter. And he always thought his celebrity crush would never amount to anything more than drooling at Elsa on TV. When his meddling vampire employer gets involved, the star is suddenly within his grasp—and within a hair of her life. For an ancient curse forbids their newfound love, and Howard is suddenly torn between his desire for her and his desire to keep her alive.
Ahhh, classic Kerrelyn Sparks! Fun, fast, sexy and romantic with a little bit of mystery. “Home Improvement” meets “Yogi The Bear” is the best way to describe it. And, if that description put’s a smile on your face, then be prepared to have sore cheek-bones for a few hours.
The 13th installment of the Love at Stake series is wonderful! We have all met and fell in love with Howard our were-bear. He’s fierce, protective and just an all-around wonderful person, loves his donuts and will do anything for someone he feels is family. Now we get to meet his mate, Elsa Bjornberg, aka Amazon Ellie, and watch the two of them fall in love. Well, after some trials and tribulations, that is. But, would we expect anything else from this series?
Elsa is one of the stars of International Home Wreckers, on HGRS (Home and Garden Renovation Station) and Howard is madly in love with her. Shanna, unbeknownst to Howard, has found his stash of DVD’s of the the television show when she returns to her home in White Plains, NY to get it ready to sell. And, the match-making begins! Howard is in Port Mishenka, Alaska after 20 years of being banished and is plotting to take down Rhett Bleddyn. We met Rhett in “Wanted: Undead or Alive” when he tried to force Phil’s sister, Brynley into marriage, kill his family and steal their lands. It is because of Rhett that Howard was banished all those years ago. Who better to have at his side to carry-out his plans than Phil and Dougal? But, at what cost? His family and his friends are all now in danger and he has some major decisions to make. And then there is the curse that his grandfather has been going on about for years. How will that play into his plans for revenge on Rhett?
While he is in Alaska, Shanna puts her plans into action and contacts HGRS to renovate her new home near Dragon Nest Academy. Of course, she will not be able to meet with the builders during the day since she “turned” so who better than Howard to represent her? Time to bring him home where he is needed. And, when he does return, what a surprise awaits him – his dream girl is standing right in front of him! What’s even more of a surprise is that she is part of the “curse” and the key to breaking it. Elsa is a “guardian”. Not only a guardian, but the Guardian of the Forest and it was her direct ancestors who put the curse on the “berserkers” for killing the guardian that made them. Now, Howard needs to get her to trust him and what they feel for each other while keeping her Aunts and Rhett from killing him.
I had a great time reading this book. Kerrelyn Sparks always made me smile and this was no exception. She brought new characters into the book in Aunt Greta and Aunt Ula. And, what a hoot they were! They just added another dimension to a story that already had so many layers to it. We get to know Howard better, we meet Elsa, Rhett is a story in itself and then there are the twins, Jesse and Jimmy – Howard’s cousins. Shanna is still dealing with being turned and Tino and Sofia are as adorable as ever. I can’t wait to see what is in store for them as they grow up (yea, I’m hoping for this series to be going on that long).
I had so many favorite parts in this book but I think seeing Howard as the soft, lovable bear was my favorite. Watching him woo Elsa was so sweet (teaser ahead):
“It was Howard. She groaned. How was she going to tell him she never wanted to see him again? Just the thought brought a pang to her chest. It was going to hurt him. It was already hurting her. And it was too cruel to reject him in a text message. But if she saw him, she didn’t know if she could resist him. Huge, handsome Howard.
She read the message.
Look out the window.
She peered out the kitchen window, and her heart swelled. There he was, standing near the woods. How long had he waited there to catch a glimpse of her through the window?
He concentrated on the phone in his hands, and soon her phone dinged again.
I have a picnic basket.
She glanced out the window, and he was lifting a large basket for her to see. A bear with a picnic basket. Her mouth twitched, and she texted back. Did you get that at Jellystone Park?
Don’t turn me in to Ranger Smith.
She smiled and texted back. Is it full of donuts?
Come and see what’s inside.
He pocketed his phone, then reached into the basket to pull out a checkered blanket. He stretched it out onto the ground under the canopy of trees.”
Aw, sweet, sweet Howard! And, that’s just a glimpse of some of the romantic things he does to win the woman he’s in love with. You’ll be wishing you were Elsa and had a “honey-bear” chasing after you!
Kerrelyn Sparks again brings her characters to life, making them real and has you cheering for them to get their HEA. Her writing leaves you breathless and she always keeps you guessing as to what is going to happen next. But, most of all, her stories are heartfelt and brilliantly written. I am so looking forward to the next book in the series. I know we have a request for Dougal to get his HEA, but, I will be happy with whoever she decides is next. Enjoy!