I read pretty much anything, from fantasy (City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett) to romance (Bared to You by Sylvia Day) to classics (Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad). The only genres I don't read are self-help and comic books/graphic novels.
14/5 - I think this is the largest number of pages Laurenston has gone without anyone having sex with anyone else (main or secondary couple). The closest Toni has gotten to Ricky Lee is accidentally sleeping on his chest on the couch after a hard first day at work. It's actually quite refreshing to be able to say with absolute honesty that the character development side of the story has been fully satisfied, and that the secondary characters aren't just shells to fill out the main couple's backstory. I would be interested to read Cooper, Oriana, and Delilah's own stories, especially Delilah's as she is quite the enigma at the moment and Toni's worry, not for Delilah but for the people she meets, is intriguing/disturbing. To be continued...
16/5 - I think this book must be some kind of anomaly for Laurenston. When I wrote that I thought where I was up to in the book must be the longest stretch of pages without sex of any kind, I was only up to p156. Well, I had to wait nearly another 100 pages before ANYTHING happened, not even any kissing or innuendo. 246 pages? I've read Laurenston books that aren't that long and yet have multiple supremely hot sex scenes. I think maybe Laurenston took a sick week and her publishers asked an assistant to churn out a Laurenston-esque shifter romance in a hurry because the release date was looming. And then, to top it all off, the sex was mechanical and short. There was the main coming together scene and then like 1.5 extremely short further scenes. If this hadn't been Laurenston it wouldn't have been such a big deal, but with Laurenston you expect a certain level of quality, and I really didn't feel that I got that with Wolf with Benefits.
Ricky Lee and Toni had absolutely no sexual chemistry, they were great as friends, but I felt to tension or excitement coming from either of them. Usually Laurenston's guys are constantly trying to get the girls naked, and the girls are constantly trying (and sometimes partially/temporarily failing) to fight their own inner desires all the way through till the deed is finally done. In Wolf with Benefits Toni had no inner desires (except to get back to her family and make sure they weren't killing each other and getting arrested for it) and the only example of Ricky Lee's desire for Toni was his insistence in following her around. He never made any sexual advances, never tried to kiss her or touch her, never even said anything that would tell a reader that they were more than good friends.
Actually, the more I write about it the more disappointed I get with the potential that was wasted here. The tag line on the front of the book says "No leashes attached". That makes me think the book is going to follow the trope that neither main character wants a commitment, but they're sexually attracted to each other and so get a 'friends with benefits' thing going and eventually, begrudgingly fall in love. Instead it was friends, friends, friends, go to Russia, friends, time for some dull sex now, friends, off-stage sex, friends, hunt down psycho bitch, love you, me too, yay, the end.
If I was rating based on the fact that this is Laurenston I would be giving it a 2, but without the Laurenston brand I think it would be worth a 3. Before the sex appeared, before I was disappointed with it, I was giving it a 4 for the hilarious dialogue, but my issues with the sex are really bringing the rating down. I think somewhere between 2.5 and 3 is fair, which would be my lowest rating for a Laurenston, so far. Sad that my final Laurenston for a while was a below par offering.