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Friends With Benefits, by Cheyenne Meadows

 
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Friends With Benefits, by Cheyenne Meadows

Book Info

Book Series
Shifter Hardball #1
Publication Date
January 28, 2015
Pages
123 pages
Note
Filed on personal Goodreads shelves: 
2016 reads, Divine Magazine 2016, 3 star reads 2016, male/male, romance, shifters, werewolves, short stories
ASIN
B00SO2W4LY
Excerpt
“I NEED a favor.” 

“Ummm?” Ram sipped his drink, keeping his gaze on his friend’s face, curiosity piqued. As teammates, he and Wiley were best friends, 
having gotten to know one another during a long and boring baseball game. Both had stared at Trigger Mallow’s finely sculpted ass with 
admiration and appreciation for a couple of innings before they noticed the other doing the exact same thing. A friendship started and 
solidified from that moment on. Neither managed to explore the catcher’s perfect rear, as the man proved way too picky, cranky, and one stuck-up
 son of a bitch, but they didn’t feel cheated. Not in the least. After all, Mallow was a typical grizzly bear shifter full of a superior 
attitude mixed with solitary tendencies. He didn’t play well with others, but played the game of baseball exceptionally well. That’s what 
truly mattered. Anyway, eye candy remained, and they had formed an odd bond on and off the field.

“I… well….”

“Oh, just spit it out. You know I’ll do it.” Ram cut into his steak, forked a large bite, and stuffed it in his mouth as he studied his friend. Wiley drew attention like bees to a flower for a reason. He was a charmer and had the body to tempt a saint. Gray eyes normally flashed with amusement, but today turned dull with worry. Short black hair, curled at the ends, added an element of cuteness. Though shorter than Ram by only a couple of inches, Wiley carried muscle and strength in a lean body reminiscent of a long-distance runner. He’d never be a huge bodybuilder, but his quickness and natural toughness got the job done. Just fine judging by the amount of interest he garnered on and off the field.

“Pack Founders’ Day is this weekend.” Wiley blew out a breath and pushed his food around his plate.

“So?” Despite having a lion for an inner beast, Ram understood wolf pack dynamics. Both wild cousins lived in family groups, though with some definite differences in philosophy and attitude. Not to mention, wolves were thick on the ground. Hard to avoid them in any shifter community, unlike his particular variety. Lions weren’t nearly as common, and no society resided nearby.

“It’s like this. I’ve got to bring a date.” Wiley met Ram’s gaze with intensity. “Or I’m doomed.”

Really curious now, Ram swallowed and waited. When no further explanation followed, he prodded Wiley. “Doomed?”

“Yes. Doomed.” The wolf shifter set his eating utensils down and scrubbed his face. “My family seems to think it’s time I settle down with a mate. Since I can’t claim one or even say I’m searching heartily, they’ve decided to help. They even moved up the date of this year’s Founders’ Day so I could attend before the season gets officially started.”

Ram’s lips twitched. So much for Wiley’s automatic excuse every time a family event presented itself. Sure, professional baseball kept them busy most months of the year, but even they got weekends off during spring training now and again.

Wiley’s words about searching for a permanent partner replayed through Ram’s head. He knew Wiley had a healthy sexual appetite and spent more nights with another person than alone. Obviously, fuck buddies didn’t equate to mate searching in the wolf pack dictionary.

“Let me guess. They’ve lined up a good man for you.”

Wiley groaned. “I wish. It’s worse.”

“How bad can it be?”

Grimacing, Wiley’s shoulders slumped. “My grandmother has lined up several ‘potential mates’ as she calls them. Both men and women. All 
wolf shifters more than eager to tie the bonds with someone else.”

“Oh, boy. Looks like you’ll get one fantasy fulfilled.” Ram grinned wickedly. “Talk about a major orgy.”

Wiley rolled his eyes. “Yeah, right.”

“Wait. Women? Doesn’t she know you’re gay?”

“Umm. I’ve never told her that exactly.” Wiley’s gaze dropped to his plate. “It’s not like I’ve been hiding the fact, I just don’t talk 
about my escapades at the dinner table.”

A tiny bit of sympathy nudged Ram. “Can’t you just tell them no? After all, you’re barely over the century mark. Still quite young for a 
shifter.”

The wolf shifter’s mouth thinned. “You haven’t met my grandmother. No one tells her no and lives.”

Ram blinked. “She tears her own family apart limb by limb, then serves their carcass in soup later?” He couldn’t help teasing Wiley; it 
was the basis of their relationship. Easygoing and lighthearted described them well, mirroring their personalities. Neither liked to 
focus solely on the serious nature in life. Instead, they embraced humor and frat house attitudes. Work hard, play harder. Besides, Ram’s inner 
beast had a penchant for laziness. Getting all twisted up over minor things simply fell to the wayside as not worthy of expending the energy 
necessary to fix.

“Hardly.” Wiley snorted. “She gives you the evil eye.”

“That’s… horrible.” Ram choked back a laugh.

“It’s not funny. Bad things happen when Grandma does that.” He wiped his hands on his napkin. “Besides, Grandma is a force to be 
reckoned with. Whatever she wants, the family gives her.”

Opting to quit teasing his buddy for a minute, Ram simply shook his head. “So, despite what you want, she’s determined to see you mated 
at the event? Like an arranged marriage.”

“Something like that. She thinks I’m incapable of finding my own mate.”

“Well….” Ram bit his tongue. Wiley stood as the epitome of playboy-hood. He avoided serious relationships like a superstitious 
person gave a wide berth to black cats. Sure, Wiley could find men. Hell, he’d found dozens this past baseball season alone. Just no one he 
wanted to settle down with for more than a week or two.

“Come on. You’ve got to help me out. Go with me to the party. Pretend to be my boyfriend. It’s just for a weekend.” Wiley’s expression
 told the whole story. Pleading and nearly to the point of begging. He really and truly needed help out of this potential mess.

Ram gave in mainly to help Wiley out of a particularly bad pinch. He didn’t have any plans for the weekend anyway. Might as well go along
 for the ride and meet and greet the wolf shifter family Wiley spoke of fairly often.

“Okay.”

Wiley beamed brightly.

“But you owe me. Big-time. I’ve heard about wolf pack parties.” He shuddered dramatically.

Wiley chuckled. “Like any myth there’s only a seed of truth.”

“Which seed is the problem,” Ram answered drolly.

Still grinning, Wiley picked up his fork once more. “Thanks, bud. You’re a lifesaver.”

“Yeah, yeah. Remember that the next time Mallow tries to kick my ass for drooling over his.”

“Okay. Although, you should probably know. I might be too distracted by the best rump in the world to be much help.” Wiley stuffed
 food in his mouth.

Ram rolled his eyes. “Just what in the hell am I getting myself into?”

Wiley only smirked.

Playboy wolf shifter Wiley can’t duck out of his pack’s biggest annual event, despite knowing his grandmother has possible suitors lined up and waiting. Wiley has no intention of settling down, and the situation dangles just above disaster. Thankfully, Wiley’s best friend, lion shifter Ram, agrees to pose as Wiley’s boyfriend for the weekend.

They find out fate has other plans when they kiss on a dare, and the passion erupts, so hot and intense they fear the couch may spontaneously combust beneath them. Neither man is able to push the small act of affection from his mind, but both struggle with uncertainty and the ramifications of following where their libidos lead.

If they can’t outrun their feelings, they’ll have to muster the courage to face their fears before they lose 
everything, including their friendship.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Not as good as book two!
(Updated: April 27, 2016)
Overall 
 
3.0
Independent reviewer for Divine Magazine, I was gifted this book.

Wiley asks his best friend, Ram, to pretend to be his boyfriend to avoid his grandmother's matchmaking. But a dare to kiss sends both Wiley, a wolf and Ram, a lion into a tailspin. When Ram realizes he bit Wiley, giving him a mating mark, Ram runs. Can Wiley get him back, or at least get him to listen, so Wiley can tell he WANTED the mark, and wants more?

I will be honest. I'm, reading this after book two, Loaded for Bear. I loved that book but this one? Not so much.

It's funny in places, witty, even, but it also has some very cringe-worthy moments. Grandmother mooning, twice. A 6-year-old wanting to know how two males have sex. The grandmother thing I might have been able to cope with once, but not twice. But NO 6 year old needs to know how ANYONE has sex! To quote my sister, my brain needs bleaching of those images!

It's repetitive. It talks about a winking butthole, several times. Buttholes do not wink! It uses the word "tumescence",a lot. Never heard it before, but in context, I sorta figured it out. I then looked up the meaning. I'm not entirely convinced it's been used correctly here, BUT that's just me, and the way I am interpreting the dictionary.

There are more, equally annoying repetitions, but these stand out.

If you can overlook theses, and want a mindless read, something that isn't too taxing and doesn't take much reading, you might enjoy this. But, unfortunately, I couldn't.

Being honest, again, if I had read these two books blind, with only the title and not the author's name, I would have swore blind they were written by two different people!

sorry but...

3 stars

**same worded review will appear on Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and Kobo**
DA
Top 10 Reviewer 114 reviews
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