“We become that which we love.” ― Saint Bridget
Author: Kari Gregg
Pages/Word Count: 147
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: Deadly poison…or exquisite cure?
Noah fell from an eighth story balcony as a toddler, cracking open his skull and shattering his body. The accident would’ve killed a human, but even shifter blood can’t heal some damage. After the pack recommended a mercy killing, Noah’s family ran. But there’s no outrunning the mating pact formed before Noah’s birth.
Wade, the new alpha, chooses an adult Noah to fulfill the pact. Wade believes the previous alpha was a fool to reject Noah as a weak and inferior wolf, but Noah’s family was wrong to hide him and starve his wolf, too. Human doctors with human medicines are poison to shifter physiology. Now that Noah is fully grown, halting his shift to retain the pins, plates, and bars holding him together hurts rather than helps him, and for Wade, more than Noah’s recovery is at stake.
Noah’s family sacrificed everything to keep him alive. Noah will do whatever it takes to save them—including mate with the alpha who is determined to correct past mistakes and defeat old prejudices contaminating the shifter community.
Too bad some still believe Noah is the true poison…and should be culled from the pack for good.
Content Warnings: Dubious consent, shifter knotting/tying, and Nerf gun assassination attempts. Ereaders (and you) may spontaneously combust–-Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Review: The old proverb says the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and this book is full of people who have good intentions but seem to do nothing more than the wrong thing for the right reasons—for the love and protection of the least of their own.
Kari Gregg has used some familiar shifter tropes to really good effect in Pretty Poison, when the new Alpha of the City Shifters, Wade, barges in on the quiet country life Noah’s family has built so he, Wade, can enforce a pact that’d been drawn up before Noah’s parents had broken with their pack—a move that had ultimately saved Noah’s life. Wade has come to claim Noah as his mate, but there’s more than duty and tradition and obligation behind the claiming. Wade has ulterior motives for wanting to elevate Noah to Alpha Mate, and though he goes about it the wrong way, his intentions for bringing Noah back into the shifter fold aren’t at all selfish and have nothing to do with honoring the original intent of the contract. Though Noah may be the virgin who selflessly sacrifices himself to the wolves for the greater good of his family, he definitely doesn’t make it easy on Wade along the way.
I loved Noah a lot for this strength. His disabilities not only made him a sympathetic character but the ways in which he fought to overcome them, or at least to strive in spite of them, made him a man I wanted to see good things happen for, and for others to see and appreciate that he was more than the scars and parts that had refused to heal properly after a tragic accident, even with his shifter blood. Wade himself turns out to be the true cure for Noah’s most dangerous affliction—the human meds poisoning his shifter half—and I enjoyed the way the author played these two off of, and sometimes against, each other.
Pretty Poison isn’t a book about insta-love as much as it is insta-lust in the expected and accepted norms of shifters and PNR. Wade and Noah’s wolves seem to understand their bond before the human parts of their consciousness can tune into the fact there’s more between them than their physical desires. There are misunderstandings and a lot of mistakes made because their verbal communication didn’t play catch up to their body language until much later, which provides for some good, if not frustrating, tension along the way, and in many ways puts the two men on an equally uneven footing that has nothing to do with the physical and everything to do with their human shortcomings.
Having not read a good paranormal/shifter romance in quite some time, I was anxious to dive into Pretty Poison simply because Kari Gregg has never let me down before, and this was no exception. The story was briskly paced, the characters and their motives all believable, and the bond that eventually grew between Wade and Noah is one that I bought into completely, even though not everyone in the book was so ready to accept their mate bond as readily as I was.
As paranormal romances go, Pretty Poison is pretty recommendable.