Four humorous and erotic novellas featuring werewolves and vampires could only be the work of Mary Janice Davidson, the author who has cornered the market on hilarious paranormal romance. First there is “Santa Claws,” the story of Alex Kilcurt, a Scottish werewolf who is in Boston to pay his respects to his sire. While there, he meets his mate, who happens to be volunteering as Santa Claus during the holidays. But can a human and a werewolf make things work?
Second in the lineup is “Monster Love.” Richard Will is a vampire who really digs the undead life but is feeling a little lonely. Janet Lupo is an aggressive, foul-mouthed she-wolf who does not dig being part of a pack. The two meet under less-than-ideal circumstances but soon find that they are very attracted to each other, and realize that they can more than adequately meet each others needs.
The third novella, “There’s No Such Thing As a Werewolf,” features a blind physician who also happens to be a werewolf, making his own way in the world. Dr. Drake Dragon has spent much of his life alone because disabilities in the wolf world are not tolerated. When he chances upon Crescent Muhn and realizes that he can actually see her, he knows he has met his mate. But Crescent’s strange belief that she can fly makes him also realize that she isn’t a typical human. And she, a woman without a family, learns the truth of who she really is.
And finally, A Fiend in Need tells the story of George the Fiend, a character straight out of Davidson’s Undead series. George is a very strange vampire, one who has few verbal abilities but a strong need to knit. When Antonia Wolfton, a psychic werewolf and pack outsider, arrives in Minneapolis, she recognizes George as a man named Garrett Shea from one of her visions. George/Garrett suddenly makes great leaps in his progress toward a speaking, fully-functioning vampire. Betsy and her gang learn his story, and Antonia finds what she’s been looking for – a family that accepts her and a mate to love her.
Davidson’s background as a writer of erotic romance is readily apparent in this collection of paranormal romances. The first two novellas contain multiple explicit love scenes and their shortness doesn’t allow much for romance. All four are funny and follow a theme of a lost, lonely person finding his or her other half, despite the fact that the other half is a complete opposite in nearly ever way. Werewolves with humans, vampires with werewolves… It boggles the mind.
While the set is entertaining, it also falls victim to the plight of all short stories: not enough character development. Too much happens in too few pages, and if not for the stereotypical plot device of immediate if irrational attraction, the quick progression from “how do you do” to “let’s jump in the sack” would be even more improbable than it already is. It truly felt like sex really WAS the whole point of the book, and Davidson didn’t even try to confuse the issue with mushy, overly sentimental endings. That, along with the unique characters, makes Dead and Loving It rather refreshing.
Despite this lack of development, the tales are funny and touching. Davidson does what she does best – strong, mouthy women and handsome, thick-skinned men who somehow find their ways together. Davidson has combined the worlds of the Wyndham werewolves with the Minneapolis vampires in a very intriguing, entertaining way. And on a personal note, as a fan of her Undead series, it was very gratifying to see George the fiend get a happy ending.