Mating Games by Dana Marie Bell
Emma's loved Max for years, but to him she was invisible. Now she's in business--and out of her shell. Max returns home to become the Halle Pride's Alpha, and he finds Emma has blossomed into--his mate! Taking her out for a bite ensures she'll be his. But first she must convince the Pride she has what it takes...
Getting attacked by some she-devil wasn't part of Becky's plans when she agreed to attend a masquerade. In a few slashing moments, she learns things about the man she loves that she never suspected. When Simon rescues Becky from on of his Pride, he finally confirms that she's his mate. Carrying her off gives him the chance to mark her as his. But a strange illness threatens to turn their sweet dreams into a nightmare.
Cat of a Different Color
Adrian has friends, a thriving business, and the occasional Saturday night date. Life is good. Until Sheri hits town. Sheri knows Adrian is her mate, but she's running from an ex who's got the teeth to take whatever he wants. With Adrian by her side, though, she might just survive--if he doesn't become lunch...
After reading Bear Necessities last month, I knew I wanted to read more Dana Marie Bell--I enjoy her voice which is full of fun and her heroines (and heroes) who are full of snark. This book consisted of three novellas from the Halle Pumas series featuring the Alpha, Beta, and Marshall and the mates they find and have to keep safe. All of them were enjoyable, although I felt that the third book really suffered from this shorter format--I would have preferred more details...
The Wallflower was my favorite of the three...Emma is a straight talking, no-nonsense woman who has always liked Max Cannon but knows that he has never actually seen her as a person. Years ago at their high school prom an altercation took place between Emma, her best-friend Becky, and Max's girlfriend, Livia, who Max broke up with soon afterword and who has been plotting to get her claws back in Max ever since. Emma is unaware that Max is a puma and the alpha of his Pride, although Livia is in the know and is determined to become the Curana, or alpha-mate. As soon as Max hears Emma on the phone giving his Beta hell, he knows he needs to meet the sassy owner of the sexy voice. When he does he realizes Emma is his mate and he wants to kick his ass for overlooking her all those years ago. He wastes no time claiming Emma and gleefully plans on using her to finally get Livia off of his back...unfortunately Livia isn't planning on giving in that easily. Emma is a delight and Max is a sexy kitty who has absolutely every intention of getting what he wants--I loved it (and while Livia was totally over the top, there is always something so enjoyable about watching a truly catty person getting what they deserve).
Sweet Dreams picks up right where The Wallflower left off, with Becky's attack from an irate Pride member. When Simon, the Beta, announces she is his mate and threatens to kill her attacker, Becky is taken aback to learn there are more than humans in Halle and that her best friend is apparently now a shape shifter. She takes it fairly well in stride, appearing more surprised that Simon, the man she has loved from afar for years, is interested in her as well more than the fact that he turns furry. When Becky starts experiencing hallucinations, she is diagnosed as hypoglycemic, but there seems to be more going on than just low blood sugar. Can Simon figure out how to keep Becky safe and healthy before it's too late? Simon has liked Becky for months and thank goodness Emma and Max decided to work to get the two hard headed, love-sick people together or who knows if they ever would have gotten their acts together long enough to go after one another themselves. After the attack, it takes an act of Congress for Simon to allow Becky out of his sight. The fact that she often suffers attacks when on her own doesn't play in her favor for independence either.
Cat of a Different Color needed to be about a hundred pages longer. Sheri is running from a possessive, abusive ex and I would have preferred to know more about him...we were told some things about Sheri's past with Rudy and we see some attacks by him on various people but I would have preferred more depth and more time for the suspense to really build. This story also involves bringing in a local Pack as Rudy is a wolf and I would have liked more page time to get to know the Pack Alpha as well as his Pack mates. With all of that, plus Adrian and Sheri's mating, everything happened so quickly that it was fairly overwhelming in volume of events and fairly underwhelming in volume of details and back story. Great ideas, just not enough time for the proper execution. There were some definite hints at a great romance to come between the Pack Alpha and a pride mate who helps defend Sheri and is injured in the process. I am looking forward to reading their story!