How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf
This book has a plot pulled from quirky old TV shows with a bit of a Twilight-type love tossed in. The setting of Grundy, Alaska is a dead ringer for the town in Northern Exposure; the hero, hunky werewolf Cooper Graham, struggles with the same issues as did Oz in Buffy (“Am I a killer?” “Why am I always naked in fight scenes?”); the lovers put up a token resistance to their powerful, somewhat scent-based lust for one another. The novel is light, predictable, and pleasantly lacking the gloom and doom often found in tales of the not-quite human.
Mo Duvall-Wenstein — it would be a spoiler if I told you what Mo is short for —has rather abruptly moved to Grundy, a small town in Alaska, where everybody is an idiosyncratic character. She’s run away from her over-protective, hippy parents — they renamed themselves Saffron and Ash when they met – and the boring, unfulfilling life she had in small town Mississippi. Mo is looking for a home — a place where she can be her fairly mainstream self. She picks Grundy because she liked its charmingly Spartan Web site and its vast distance from her mother. Almost everyone in Grundy likes Mo from the moment she arrives — she’s an attractive single woman (it’s Alaska, where single women are in short supply) and she cooks well enough to immediately land a job in the local diner. The only people who don’t instantly like Mo are the surly waitress at the café who sees her as competition for the hottest -single-girl-in-town title and Cooper who dislikes “outsiders.”
Cooper has a great butt and some serious issues. He used to be the alpha werewolf of the nearest pack but is now on the outs with both the pack — it’s a family thing – and anyone who has the nerve to move to Grundy. Despite disliking Mo from the moment he meets her — he’s sure she’ll be another wimp who can’t take the Alaskan winter — he can’t stay away from her. To him, she feels (and these are his primal instincts talking) like home. She too finds him wildly attractive, and by the time the first big freeze rolls in, he and Mo are keeping each other warm during the long cold nights.
Ms. Harper is a funny writer albeit, at times, a little overly cute for me. Her jokes too often reference faddish popular culture — Ginsu knives and bad Will Farrell movies for example — and, frankly, it’s a little weird that Mo calls Cooper’s manly part the “Mighty Morphin Power Penis.” But, overall, Ms. Harper’s writing kept me laughing — her descriptions of Mo’s mother’s machinations are hilarious, as are the descriptions of Mo’s Alaskan suitors. Mo and Cooper, and indeed, most everyone in the book, don’t seem particularly realistic, but are all amusingly rendered. Grundy too seems the stuff of fiction and even the animals in the book — there’s a cute dog, a scary bear, and various other fauna — are all creations rather than viable natural creatures. That’s okay though because it’s all exceedingly entertaining.
Ms. Harper is the author of an enjoyable vampire series (the Jane Jameson trilogy) and, if you liked those books, I think you’ll like this one too. Mo is a lot like Jane — likable, self-deprecating, and chatty. Cooper is less remote than Gabriel, Jane’s vampire beau, and he spends a lot more time naked. The plot is fairly forgettable and the ending expected, but, hey, who cares? Sometimes, paranormal fiction readers just want to have fun, and How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf is a lot of fun.