REVIEW: Must Love Lycans by Michele Bardsley
Dear Ms. Bardsley,
About 1/3 of the way through this book, I realized I’d read another in the Broken Heart series. I think it was Cross Your Heart; I remember something about a ghost and some sort of evil. That was the only book I’d ever picked up in the series, and it was amusing but didn’t push me to jump on another series wagon. I have to admit, I pulled Must Love Lycans off the TBR stack because I liked the fact that Damian (the hero) shows up naked. Yeah, I needed a thrill while on our family vacation since the door to our bedroom never closed.
Dr. Kelsey Morningstone is a psychotherapist who is lucky to have a job. After allowing a psychotic killer to manipulate her, Kelsey was sued by every relative of the killers victims, lost everything including the shirt off her back and was repeatedly interviewed by the FBI. Adding insult to injury, Kelsey’s mother, a famous psychotherapist (think appearances on Oprah), has cut off all communication. But Kelsey manages to land a job that pays off all her debts and takes care of all her associated problems at the Dante Clinic, a privately funded psychiatric hospital that seems a lot more like Promises in Malibu than Pilgrim State Hospital. It’s weird enough that I wouldn’t take that job, but Kelsey is an empath, hides her abilities, and knows her options are limited to the Dante Clinic or nothing.
Damien is a new patient that is brought into the clinic. Suffering from amnesia, Damien doesn’t know who he is, where he’s been or what’s happened to him. But the minute he senses Kelsey, it all starts coming together for him. Kelsey’s first encounter with Damien is her observation of him after he’s been brought to the clinic. He’s naked, has a giant wang, and hair that the Herbal Essences chick would kill for. So she falls for him immediately. You may be wondering why I’m not writing much more about Damien here. Since the book is written in first person from Kelsey’s POV, I had a hard time getting much of what Damien was thinking or feeling beyond what Kelsey thinks about. As the story progresses, Damien bites her and wants to mate her but fights it because his bite could end up killing her. Surprisingly, the sex was well written for first person, but it could have been in a vacuum because I felt so little connection to Damien.
Kelsey, on the other hand, has an amazing backstory and crazy parental and barely-explored sibling relationships. But obscuring a lot of this (and confusing me) is the fight between the parakind (author’s word) and ETAC (the Ethics and Technology Assessment Commission, tasked with destroying anything alien) which is the thread that helps link all of the Broken Heart novels together. I found following the Para/ETAC stuff and reading all of the Glossary’s (there are three of them) mentally exhausting. Damien has two brothers that are sequel bait, and there is a giant cast of characters that were all in the previous Broken Heart novels. I was able to glean enough from the text to not have to go through all of the Glossary entries with a fine tooth comb, but I’m sure I ended up missing a lot of the humor and how and why all of these people are connected to each other. With all of that, I still managed to read the book in a day and a half, while playing with five kids, four in-laws, swimming, biking, running, hitting the beach and getting hit by a hurricane (Irene). Because I had to repeatedly pause for clarification and couldn’t get more from Damien, this one gets a C.