Book Reviews

Prickly Business (Portland Pack Chronicles 1) by Kenzie Cade and Piper Vaughn at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Paranormal / Shifters / Interspecies / Erotic Romance / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 17-August-2015

Book Blurb

Some people might call Avery Babineaux a prick. He’s a hedgehog shifter from an old-money Louisiana family, with a penchant for expensive shoes and a reputation for being a judgmental snob. His attitude is why he and his fated mate are estranged. Not that Avery cares. He doesn’t want to be mated to some blue-collar werewolf anyway. Or so he keeps telling himself.

No werewolf likes to be looked down upon, least of all Dylan Green. He doesn’t need a mate, especially not some snotty hedgehog who sneers at his custom motorcycle shop and calls him a grease monkey. But when Avery gets into trouble with a shady loan shark, Dylan can’t stand by and let him be hurt—whether he wants the brat or not.

Yet once Dylan steps into Avery’s world, he realizes there’s more to Avery than his prickly exterior, and that unexpected vulnerability calls to Dylan’s protective instincts. The sassy little hedgehog needs a keeper, and despite their horrible first impressions, Dylan starts to believe he might be the wolf for the job.


Book Review

There are a few unusual things about this story, and I have to say, I do love me an unusual story. First, there is a hedgehog shifter. Yes, you read that right. And Avery is about as prickly as they get in both human and shifter form. Second, the hedgehog shifter is mated to a wolf shifter. That is more than unusual; I find it both hilarious and fascinating. Third, both characters start out as pretty unlikeable. Maybe for different reasons, but they each have several issues. And fourth, despite knowing they are fated mates, they refuse to acknowledge the mate bond for two thirds of the book. No insta-love for these guys. Maybe a little bit of insta-lust, but that doesn’t get them very far – other than in trouble! Mix all those ingredients together and it results in a great story, with imaginative and very funny characters, and a mystery plot that looks to continue in book two.

Avery, the hedgehog shifter, is stuck-up, an arrogant snob, and e naïve, spoiled brat. And that is me being polite. His family has money, and he shamelessly pockets a huge allowance each month, spending it to live in total luxury. He has a college degree in journalism, but no job, not even the thought of a job crosses his mind. So when he loses a significant amount of money betting in illegal wolf races, and owes the wrong wolf shifter, he is in deep sh*t. Not only does the gangster he owes money to have him beat up, his father cuts him off. Suddenly Avery is confronted with real life, and it’s not a pretty picture. He may get help from Dylan, but that is just to save his life. Avery has a huge learning curve ahead of him – but baby step by baby step he actually begins to grow up. Until his job as a driver for the wolf pack and his heart (that is much bigger than I suspected) gets him in a whole heap of new trouble…

Dylan, the wolf shifter, is proud, owns a custom motorcycle shop (which makes him blue-collar), and does not need a mate. He has seen what bad matings can lead to, and since Avery despises him, what good can come of a relationship with him? Still – the mate bond is strong, and Dylan has to help when he realizes the depth of Avery’s monetary issues with the loan shark. It’s the first time in the two years since they first met that they speak to each other, and Dylan begins to realize there may be more to Avery than he suspected. He too has a very steep learning curve, but once he decides that Avery needs someone to watch over him, then promptly assigns himself as the wolf for the job, Dylan’s stubbornness begins to work in their favor.
These two have not got an easy time of it. Their romance is a roller coaster ride of denial and attraction, very slow to start, and with many obstacles. The mystery they stumble upon gets them involved in far more dangerous circles than those of illegal wolf races and loan sharks.

If you like characters who do not fall for each other on page one, yet can’t deny they are attracted to each other, even bonded, if stories about unusual shifters and their even more unusual relationships are your thing, and if you’re looking for a read that is a character study of two flawed men as much as a hilarious romance and suspenseful mystery, then you will probably like this novel. I laughed my head off and can’t wait for book two!





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook, print and audio
Length Novel, 280 pages/98919 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 27-July-2015
Price $6.99 ebook, $16.99 paperback, $16.99 bundle, $24.95 audiobook
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