Petite, kind, brilliant, and young, Stevie is nothing like the usual women bodyguard Shen Li is interested in. Even more surprising, the youngest of the lethal, ball-busting, and beautiful MacKilligan sisters is terrified of bears. But she’s not terrified of pandas. She loves pandas.
Which means that whether Shen wants her to or not, she simply won’t stop cuddling him. He isn’t some stuffed Giant Panda, ya know! He is a Giant Panda shifter. He deserves respect and personal space. Something that little hybrid is completely ignoring.
But Stevie has a way of finding trouble. Like going undercover to take down a scientist experimenting on other shifters. For what, Shen doesn’t want to know, but they’d better find out. And fast. Stevie might be the least violent of the honey badger sisters, but she’s the most dangerous to Shen’s peace of mind. Because she has absolutely no idea how much trouble they’re in . . . or just how damn adorable she is.
Note: STEVIE IS THE BEST.
I love Charlie – she’s the best big sister ever and I could only dream of being as good as her. But Stevie is the BEST.
Review – In HOT AND BADGERED we were introduced to the MacKilligan sisters – same deadbeat, waste of space father (a honey badger shifter), but different mothers (all different shifter types). The trilogy is part of a larger universe (Laurenston’s Pride World), but honestly I’ve found that you can read these without having read those books. Granted some of it may not be as…amusing shall we say, and politics may go over your head, but largely you can read about the MacKilligan girls without prior knowledge since they didn’t factor into those books.
The trilogy has an overarching plot line or three, so while the main romance focus is on one sister per book (H&B was Charlie, BADGER WAY is Stevie) everyone makes continual appearances as they try to track down the assholes experimenting on hybrids, attacking the girls to get back at their deadbeat father, and attempting to kidnap one, two or all three of them at any given time.
Stevie was my favorite in H&B, with her panic clinging to Shen the panda shifter, but I was pleased to see that all three girls had forward motion in their character arcs. There’s a (very unhealthy, but functional) symbiotic relationship between them that gets some much needed looking at and dissection.
Meanwhile…ok look. I get it. Stevie basically bulldozes Shen into a relationship (well Stevie, Charlie, Max, Shen’s sisters, Kyle…), but that’s kind of the point. Shen overthought everything about what it would mean for them to be together while Stevie cut through that bullshit and was like “I like him, he understands me and I feel safe – what more do I need?” When even the most egotistical character in the whole book is certain they should just hook up (yes I’m looking at you Kyle) its probably a good idea.
What’s been great about these Badger books is that we’re seeing some of the other couples – like Blayne and Bo from BEAST BEHAVING BADLY – in a different light. When a couple is the star of their own romance, even in the interconnected world of the Pride Series & Honey Badger trilogy – you tend to sympathize with them and side with them. Poor Bo is kind of abused here by Stevie as she swiftly tears up his wife Blayne then crushes Bo’s spirits about hockey. In their book I would have seen Stevie as the bad guy, but here BLAYNE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER. Who goes around hugging random people???
What’s also wonderful is that because this is focused on Stevie (mainly) the book delves a little more into her self-care/mental well being that she tries so hard to control. Its when she goes off routine that Max starts to worry – not in the same way that Charlie does constantly, but in that “I know my sister, I know she knows how to take care of herself, and this is not what she does” way that is a) healthier all around and b) illustrates how well Max knows her sisters (despite her cavalier attitude at times).
A small spoiler – Stevie has to find a new therapist and the therapist immediately is like “and your sisters can go to my colleagues!” and I want to see more of what the therapist said to Charlie to make her realize some of her codependency anxiety issues and what the therapist made of Max.
I know these books aren’t for everyone – there’s a certain glorification of violence and killing that is a through line of all of Laurenston (and her alter-ego’s GA Aiken’s) books that don’t appeal to everyone. I find these to be so much fun, sexy and arguably some of the healthiest expressions of how couples should be in any romances I’ve read.
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Published by: Kensington
Release: March 26, 2019
Series: Honey Badger Chronicles Book 2
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