'The Mane Event' introduced the group of characters who appear in this book - shapeshifting Wolves, Hyenas and Lions. In 'The Beast In Him' Smitty (Bobby Ray Smith), business partner of Mace Llewellyn in the previous book, meets up with a childhood friend, wild dog Jessie Ann Ward. He last saw Jessie Ann when he went to join the Navy at 18 years old, trying to once again protect her from bullying from the young female wolves of the Smith Pack. However the Jessica that he meets now, fourteen years later, isn't that shrinking and scared young wild dog but is instead the Alpha of her Pack.
And thus follows a chase - Smitty trying to catch Jessie, Jessie holding herself aloof from him at times, at others giving in. Jessie wants him to prove that she is important to him by the standards of his Pack, a rather rough mating, but Smitty wants to treat Jessie right and not hurt her. Thus the 'misunderstanding' of the plotting which was really rather a damp squib. There's a plot line of a potential kidnap and of family disharmony over Smitth and Jessie's relationship but the vast majority of the story is about Smitty and Jessie's discovery of each other - mostly in a horizontal fashion.
As with the previous book, this one wasn't entirely satisfying. The world of the Wolves, Wild Dogs, Cats etc was interesting but rather subordinate to the main story. There was little romance in the relationship between Smitty and Jessie, they seemed to spend a lot of the time misunderstanding each other. They had little in common and in some ways that part of the relationship worked well but overall it was a disappointing read. The roll-call of characters from the previous book became confusing occasionally and at times the story seemed to meander around in a rather directionless manner. It's a reasonable read but nothing particularly special.
Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2008