Review: Pretty Poison by Kari Gregg

Pretty Poison
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.

If I created a wish list of sorts for qualities I would like a MM shifter story to have, Kari Gregg checked off a good number of them with "Pretty Poison". There is a ginger MC (YES!), alpha mating (YES!), a strong-willed MC with a disability (YES!), hot sex (HELLO!) and a strong mating bond (SCORE!)
He hadn't been fucked. He'd been possessed.
This girl loves shifter paranormal romance...oh yes, I, yes I dooooooo! Especially wolf shifters!

Now when I see Kari Gregg attached to any project, I know to expect: hot, elemental, primal fucking with strong characters. Did she disappoint? Nope!

"None will be as thoroughly mated as you when the sun rises." He chuckled at Noah's quiver. "Rest, little wolf. You'll need it."

*grunts* Noah is twenty and for more than 3/4 of his life, he's known only pain, being coddled by family for being disabled. He fell off a balcony at the age of four, cracked his skull and damaged his limbs. But being a wolf shifter saved him from death. Unfortunately, he was a shifter and his pack wanted to mercy kill him. His family has been on the run ever since to protect him. He walks with crutches, takes poisonous pain medication and tries to live in hiding from the city shifters on his family's farm.

Noah was not safe from the city shifters' alpha from claiming him with a mating pact Noah's family signed before he was born. Sheltered Noah was in for a rude awakening the moment alpha Wade stepped into scene. Noah was redheaded an uncommon trait of the normally dark haired shifters, short due to his bones not being able to stretch, damaged and scarred from many surgeries and as close as human as a shifter could get.

Wade was an understanding alpha, not an alpha-hole in the least. I think my favorite quality of him was the sense of vulnerability he had at times. He was not all knowing. He was actually insecure...and ADMITTED it (grudgingly but it counts). When forced mating is in play I am always waiting for the stronger MC to play their hand because they usually have some trick up their sleeve. Wade did not have any tricks. He might have kept a secret or two to himself a few times but he shared when the time called for it. Did he speak soliloquies?
"Would you rather I tug your ridiculous shorts down and suck your pretty cock?" The alpha nudged Noah's thighs wider and heart pounding, Noah spread. A moan locked in his throat when Wade brushed his fingertips over Noah's balls. "Or bend you over right here and now?"
His type of sweet talk was dirty talk. And I was all for it!

Noah, at first was resigned to fulfill his alpha mate duties. But both he and Wade had to learn how to be a couple. There was more to life than hot fucking...though when they did, it was scorching! This is a Kari Gregg novella, so wimpy glitter vamp wolves need not apply. The pair did the 'let's-be-in-a-relationship-and-not-talk-to-each-other' plot device but broke the mold by...talking to one another. Go figure, talking works.

There was no weird drama thrown in to move the story along. It was mostly Noah's internal struggles with being confident with himself, trying to follow the antiquated shifter rules and accepting Wade caring for him. The author introduces a shifter world where humans know about shifters, gay pairings are accepted, not questioned and male shifters can have babies. The shifter world is not fully explained but enough information is given to not get lost. The reader is given enough information to draw conclusions on how shifter society works.

One of my all time favorite shifter MM books is by this author, "I, Omega". It still is. If I had to compare it to "Pretty Poison" I'll have to say it was a sweeter "I, Omega" with MCs on almost equal footing and romantic feel. Noah was not weak, even when giving into Wade. His will was strong. He talked back. He might give in once in awhile but he was stubborn about it. And Noah was not pitiful. His disability was not downplayed or mocked. He wasn't a meek little helpless submissive who only lived for Wade's command. It was my favorite quality of Noah.

"If I could, I'd take you onto the hunting grounds until the full moon and keep you to myself. All mine. Only mine."

Dubious Consent? I think I missed it. The capitulation was so rapid I didn't get a chance to enjoy any dubious consent (though to me the consent might not have been given freely at the beginning, it was still given because it was expected). Technically yes it was dubious consent but it was was there such a thing as light dubcon? If there is, then this was it.

The epilogue. Oh the epilogue, it was sweet, sexy and hopeful. And it even made a subject I'm not the biggest fan of...actually root for it in this story! "Pretty Poison" was a romantic werewolf novella that delivered hotness, a great plot and yummy characters. Great escapism to delve into when you don't want a super serious read.


A copy provided by the author for an honest review.
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