Reader’s Edyn

I always felt like I could do something more than just read. Finally, I have found both a creative outlet and a chance to do something meaningful with my reading. This blog was created in appreciation of and tribute to all of the authors who have brought me joy through their books. These reviews are my way of giving back to authors and providing recognition for the hard work that each one completes every day!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Review: Just One Bite by Barbara Elsborg

Title: Just One Bite
           Ellora’s Cave QUICKIES Series
Author: Barbara Elsborg
Release Date: November 23, 2011
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Category: Contemporary Erotic Paranormal Romance
Type: Kindle

Book Blurb:

Liv is having the day from hell. Hit on by her piggish landlord, a victim of an attempted mugging by a guy who bites, and then her hair gets caught in the coffee machine. Things go from bad to worse when she’s stalked on her way home, and the stalker turns out to be the morning’s mugger. Except he’s tall, dark and delicious, offering an apology, flowers and a body to die for. Oh, and he wants to cook a steak dinner just for Liv.There’s just one snag.

He’s a raving lunatic who thinks he’s a werewolf.

Book Excerpt:

It wasn’t the worst day in Liv Miller’s life, that spot was taken by the day she’d slipped her father’s brand new car into reverse instead of park, plowed over a set of golf clubs and through the garage wall to end up in the fishpond. Oh God. Who knew Land Rovers were so powerful and walls so thin? And that grown men could be so attached to sporting equipment? Good thing that she and her father were close. He eventually forgave her. Afterward, when anyone in the family had a bad day, someone managed to bring up that day to top it.
But this day was coming close to that all-time low. Liv had been late for work because her fat, balding, chauvinistic pig of a landlord had grabbed her as she exited her apartment. His suggestion of a way she might like to pay her next month’s rent made Liv’s stomach crawl. When his rancid breath hit her face, she heaved, and that saved her because he thought she was about to throw up and let her go.
Liv had rushed out the building and hardly turned the corner before some fuckwit attempted to mug her. They’d tussled until she’d recalled the one surefire way to hurt a guy. A knee in the balls. He’d doubled over and she ran.
Less than an hour later, Liv proved that accidents in the workplace were indeed a daily hazard when she managed to trap her hair in the coffee machine. Her vindictive boss cut her free, no doubt snipping off far more than she needed to. That hair wouldn’t grow back anytime soon. And now after eight hours of grueling work checking insurance claims, the most stupid of which was from a woman knocked out when she yanked a frozen chicken from her freezer, Liv was being bloody stalked.
She walked faster, certain she wasn’t mistaken. She’d caught sight of a dark-haired guy in a leather jacket staring at her as she left work. He’d popped up again as she got off the bus and had crossed the road after her when she’d tried to give him the slip by dashing over on a red light. There had been a squeal of brakes but no thump, so she guessed he’d made it.
“Excuse me?” a man called.
It had to be him. A stalker with manners was a novelty, but Liv kept going. Her apartment building and safety, assuming Creepo the landlord was out, lay around the corner.
“Could I have a word?” the guy asked.
The tap on her shoulder flipped her from annoyed to furious. Liv gripped her purse tighter, ready to swing it into his face, and turned to confront him. Then she froze, because in front of her stood the man who’d tried to mug her that morning. He held out a bunch of flowers, and when he saw her scowl, lowered them to cover his crotch.
“I have no problem kicking flowers,” Liv snapped. Not when the target lay just beyond.
“I can explain,” he said, taking a step backward.
She scowled harder. “You have five seconds.”
“Name’s Cal Masterson. Not trying to rob you. Wanted to ask for directions, but you didn’t give me the chance to speak.” He flashed a devastating smile.
Potential homicidal mugger slowly morphed into Mr. Tall, Dark and Delicious.
Still…he’d followed her to tell her that?
“You bit me.” Liv glanced at the marks on her arm. He’d drawn blood. She hadn’t realized until she sat down on the bus.
“That was your fault,” he said.
Liv’s jaw dropped. “How can you biting me, be my fault?” She activated her death-ray glare, able to repel a normal man at thirty paces. This one smiled more broadly.
“Your arm got in the way of my mouth.”
“I was trying to defend myself. I thought you were attacking me.”
He rolled his eyes. “You flung your arm into my face. My mouth was open. I was trying to speak when your knee unexpectedly made contact with parts of me I feel particularly fond of, and I bit you. Sorry.”
He pushed the flowers into her hand. Liv sagged. She’d reacted because of Creepo’s earlier grope and maybe she hadn’t given this guy a chance to explain. If he’d wanted to mug her, he wouldn’t have tracked her down to apologize. Liv was a sucker for guys with good manners. Oh damn.
“Apology accepted. I’m fine. Just a few scratches. ’Bye.” Liv turned and he was suddenly in front of her. Wow, speedy guy.
“The thing is,” he said, “and I’m really sorry to have to tell you this, but I might have infected you.”
Liv gulped as the bottom fell out of her world. “Wha-wha-wha…” Damn, she sounded like a helicopter. Her head flooded with thoughts of hepatitis, HIV, the Ebola virus, bird flu.
He bent to whisper in her ear, “I’m a werewolf.”
Liv’s jaw didn’t just drop—it hit the ground and bounced. Oh God, he was out on day release from an asylum. Tall, dark and delicious regressed to tall, menacing and…darn it, he was still delicious. Plus, she had to give him points for an original pick-up line. He looked at her expectantly.
Play nice with the lunatic. “I see,” Liv said, and nodded in what she hoped was a caring way, sliding her foot back as she spoke and looking round for men carrying a tight-fitting white jacket in his size. “I’ll be sure to look out for signs of rabies.”
He gave her a puzzled look.
Okay, not rabies. That’s good. Liv took another step back.
He moved forward and glanced up. “It’ll be a full moon tonight.” His eyes darkened.
All the better to… Oh God.
“Mmm.” Another step back. Next time she went out, she was buying mace or a machete. Maybe both. Liv spent her days dealing with the results of the unexpected, but even she hadn’t expected to ever meet a werewolf. Not that he was, of course.
“It’s possible nothing will happen,” he said. “But I can’t take the risk. I need to stay and look after you. I’d never forgive myself if you were hurt. You’re much too pretty.” He smiled again with those perfect teeth.
All the better to… Stop it. Liv exhaled. Hopefully it was a coincidence she wore a red dress. If only they’d been in a bar and he’d bought her a drink, or three, and they’d spent a few hours flirting, and he’d called her pretty a half-dozen times, then maybe, just maybe she’d have been up for this. Except for the werewolf bit, of course. She took another step backward.
“Going to invite me in?” he asked.
His question triggered a memory of a TV show. “No.” She stared at him. “So you can’t come in, can you?” Why did the attractive ones have to be either gay or nut jobs? “I haven’t invited you into my apartment so you have to stay outside.”
“That’s vampires.”
Damn, so it was. Her shoulders slumped. “So you don’t sparkle either?”
He glared. “You’re not taking this seriously.”
Liv put on her stern face and thought of her old Latin teacher who had eyes like a hawk, a sharp mouth and loved pop quizzes. Guaranteed to snap her straight into gloom. “I am taking it seriously.” You’re insane, that’s very serious.
She glanced around. Where were crowds when she needed them?
He sighed. “Please let me come with you to your apartment. No funny business, I promise.”
“Let me think. No.”
Actually, bad girl that she was, idiot that she was, Liv fancied a bit of funny business. It had been far too long since— She gave herself a hard mental slap. He thought he was a wolf. She was allergic to dogs. This was not a match made in heaven.
“I’ll cook for you.” He held up a bag. “Steak.”
He had huge black eyes, the longest lashes she’d ever seen, and her willpower was a weak, pathetic little thing easily stamped on.
“Oh all right,” she muttered.
It beat watching a rerun on the TV while she ate a soggy microwave meal, plus her father had always told her to be kind to those less fortunate than herself—such as basket cases. Especially if they made her heart jump and her bits tingle, except not if they thought they’re a werewolf. Well no, her father hadn’t said any of that. His advice when Liv left home was, “Keep your knickers on.” Bless him.
I’ll bear that advice in mind, Liv thought, trying to remember which underwear she’d put on that morning, and led Trouble with a capital T to her apartment.
I’m such an idiot.

Dialogue Highlight:

Cal shifted back and raced to the other side of the counter. “Oh fuck.” He dropped to her side, brushed her sun-tousled…mmm…oddly cut hair aside and patted her pale cheeks. “Liv?”
He’d anticipated a scream, not that she’d faint. Cal hadn’t been able to think of a better way to prove he was telling the truth than to transform, but maybe he should have thought harder. Christ, the whole thing had gone tits up since their encounter this morning. He was winging this and not doing it very successfully.
Liv opened her eyes and he breathed a sigh of relief.
“Where am I?” she gasped. “Who are you? Why are you naked? Is this heaven?” Then she sneezed three times.
Cal had to fight the impulse to growl. “You know the answers to those questions.”
Liv exhaled. “I dreamed you turned into a wolf.”
“I did.”
She swallowed hard. “You weren’t lying.”
“I never lie.” Though if I’m being honest and there’s no point lying to myself, I live a lie.
“You tell everyone you’re a werewolf?”
Cal’s lip twitched. Liv was smart. “No. I’m not supposed to tell anyone.”
“So now you’ve told me, you have to kill me?” she whispered.
“Why would I do that?” Oh God, don’t be too smart.
“In case I tell someone?”
Crisis averted. “I trust you not to.”
He pulled her into a sitting position and, with reluctance, let go of her hand. Her fingers felt so soft. Cal clamped his teeth together and yelled at his twitching cock to calm down.
“You know my name.” She furrowed her brow. “You called me Liv.”
“I heard someone say it.” Which wasn’t a lie.
“I can smell something burning.”
Cal rushed back and pulled out the grill. Liv’s steak was black and had shrunk to the diameter of a shot glass. He shoved his steak under the heat and pulled on his boxers. When he turned, Liv was back on the stool. She looked up so guiltily, he guessed she’d been staring at his ass. Cal swallowed his smile.
He pushed the lump of charcoal toward her. “Done enough?”
“Let me check.”
He thought she was joking, but she cut the burnt offering in half and inspected the interior.
“Perfect.” Liv smiled at him and his cock tented his shorts. Fuck.
Cal wrestled his bloody steak onto a plate and sat on the opposite side of the counter, hiding his erection.
“I’d check for a pulse on yours,” she said. “Might say ouch when you cut it.”
At least she was joking and not curled up in a corner babbling with fear. He couldn’t believe she’d let him into her apartment. Plan F had been to knock her out and take her to his. He’d gotten nowhere with plans A to D. E was going okay, so far.
Oh God, she was gorgeous. That short, tight red dress clung to every curve, and Liv had lovely curves. He wondered when she’d figure out that the dress needed to come off if she ever wanted to wear it again. It had killed something inside Cal every time he’d seen anyone else touch her. If his pack knew what an idiot he’d been agreeing to this, he suspected his position as alpha would be under threat.
By the time Liv put down her knife and fork in the center of her plate, she’d polished off two glasses of wine. When she reached for the bottle, he moved it.
“It’s not going to help,” he said.
She cast him a pleading look.
“That’s not going to work either.” Though those puppy-dog eyes definitely had an effect on his cock, but Cal wasn’t sure it could get much harder.
“I don’t think I can wrap my head around this,” Liv said with a groan. “I thought you were insane, and now I’m wondering if it’s me who’s lost my mind.”
“It’s okay to be scared,” he said. “I’d be more worried if you weren’t. I’m going to help you through this. That’s why I’m here.” Not for sex, but hey…
She stared at him. “If it happens.”
He met her gaze. “If it happens.” When it happens. It had to happen.
“Pros and cons?” she asked.
Cal sighed. That was easier to deal with than that further truth—that he’d bitten her on purpose. He hadn’t planned it that way, he’d just taken advantage of the opportunity. “Pros are super speed, super hearing, super sex…nses.”
She snorted. “I didn’t miss that last one, super stud.”


This story was pretty stinkin’ cute. It is somewhat of a familiar take on the werewolf story, but also presented in a way that makes it unique to itself. By familiar, I mean the basics ~ werewolf finds its mate who is NOT a werewolf (sorta) and has to make her a believer of the things that go bump in the night.

Liv has seriously endured the worst day of her life starting with Landlord Grab-Ass who delivers a less than desirable proposition to be given in lieu of rent. Gag! Of course she is already running late for work, then in an effort to escape Landlord Gag-Me-With-A-Spoon, she smacks into Too-Bad-I-Don’t-Carry-Mace Mugger whom she delivers a painful blow to ~ yep, right in the jewels ~ to which he responds by biting her. Somehow she manages to get away and get to work only to realize that I-Really-Need-To-Get-That-Mace Mugger has become Whackado Stalker. But … as is commonly the case … things are not always as they seem.

Cal is not a stalker, or mugger, but a werewolf. Yeah … Liv has trouble swallowing that too. Moves him back into the Holy-Crap-You-Need-A-Straight-Jacket category. Yet something about how incredibly hot he is and his … well, he is incredibly hot. Is there anything else that matters? Exactly! Anyway, he offers to cook her dinner and she chastises herself while simultaneously agreeing and letting him in her apartment. And in no time, Cal seems to be a genuinely likeable guy. But Cal has a few secrets of his own. Secrets that Liv might find objectionable when the truth comes to light. But hey, he is incredibly hot, so she’ll probably forgive him.

I have to tell you all that I chuckled my way through this whole story. Ms. Elsborg took a light-hearted and fresh approach to a story of paranormal destined love and wrapped it all up with a snarky little bow. I really enjoyed the inner thoughts of the characters as they grasped with the events unfolding. Liv and Cal have spark. And did I mention that Cal is incredibly hot? Plus he’s a werewolf. Shifter score! For Ms. Elsborg to create such a fun story within a few short pages, well, let’s just say that I call JUST ONE BITE a MUST read! It is super fast, super cute, super fun, super snarky, and super sexy! I think I am going to create a new rating … I dub thee SUPAH! But don’t take my word for it, check it out for yourself.

(eBook copy provided by publisher for review.)


  1. Sounds like fun! I'll have to check it out.

    1. Hi Bea! This story was so much fun! I really enjoyed the snarky inner monlogue that each character has in addition to the witty comebacks. Ms. Elsborg took a light-hearted approach to this story and in thr process created some very likeable characters. It is super fast to read. I am confident that you will find the time spent enjoyable. Thanks so much for taking the time to read the review!


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