So here's the deal: All four are part of longer urban fantasy series, and - other than Patricia Briggs Alpha and Omega, I can't really recommend any of them as stand-alone reads. I happen to be into Briggs' Mercy Thompson series, so I picked up this book at the library so I could read Alpha and Omega, but none of the other three stories had much appeal for me, and one of them (Mona Lisa Betwining) was positively off-putting. It introduces you to Anna and Charles and gives some important insights into their pasts and their characters, as well as werewolf culture and its rules and restrictions generally, and it sets the stage for Cry Wolf, the novel that is next in the series, which picks up immediately after the events in this novella. Like this story, the others are romance-oriented urban fantasies and are all parts of a series, but all three of them are set further into their respective series and are tough to get into without having read the authors previous works in the series. If On the Prowl is available at your local library, I recommend checking it out so you can read Alpha and Omega if you're interested in that series, but you may want to give the rest of this anthology a pass unless you're already into those other authors.
I'll just say that Ms. Briggs did an exemplarly job of writing this story that is full of underlying intensity, but written so simply. Inhuman by Eileen Wilks This was one of those stories that I find hard to review and to rate. It's a very good story, but the writing was hard to get into. Nathan is a character that I found myself liking very much. Although I feel that she could use more dialogue in this story, it's hard to find fault with it, because it was so well done. I didn't read the Sunny story because erotic urban fantasy isn't my thing. But, the Wilks story was enjoyable, and I loved the Chance story, so it makes it a lot easier to give this book a five star rating. If you are urban fantasy fans, and you aren't reading Briggs and Chance, get to it.
Eileen Wilks' story was interesting, though definitely more paranormal romance than urban fantasy. Sunny's story was not urban fantasy.
Oh, and let me just point out that the first novella within this entire damn book is the only good one. So if anyone wants to read the Alpha and Omega Series by Patricia Briggs, just read the first novella of this book... or just completely forget this book and read the novella called Alpha and Omega 0.5. I'm not going to let the three other novellas steer me away from this series.
The Mercy Thompson series really appealed to me. I love shape-shifter romance books, and I was pleasantly surprised to find the series continue the relationship between Mercy and Adam. This series is based on the relationship between Charles and Anna. I strongly advise you to read the Mercy Thompson series first. If I had read this book without prior reading the Mercy Thompson series, I would have rated this with two stars.
Plus, I'm not the biggest fan of insta-love stories, so even though I really like Anna and Charles (and I absolutely adore this series as a whole), this story definitely wasn't a 5-star read for me.
Alpha & Omega by Patricia Briggs This is where my love for Patricia Briggs started, with this short but powerful novella.
I really enjoyed reading this story in third person because I knew what Charles was thinking (the Mercy Thompson series is in first-person, so it's harder to know what Adam really feels).
Patricia Briggs was born in Butte, Montana, to a childrens librarian who passed on to her kids a love of reading and books.