Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a recently released paranormal M/M mystery romance from Piper Vaughn and Kenzie Cade. PRICKLY BUSINESS is a fun shifter romance between fated mates of different species…a wolf shifter and a hedgehog! Omigosh, the book was sweet and sassy and funny and daring. I really enjoyed!
About the book:
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.
4.5 Stars for this M/M shifter mystery romance.
Avery and Dylan are both shifters living in Portland, Oregon. They have known each other for two years and should be happily mated except:
1. Dylan thinks true mates are miserable, case in point–his parents.
2. Avery is a hedgehog shifter, and was deeply offended when Dylan made fun of the idea of mating with such a lowly creature (Dylan is a respected wolf shifter).
3. Avery insulted Dylan after Dylan’s insult and now they mostly hate each other.
Avery is a bit of a spoiled brat. His parents give him a hefty monthly allowance which he blows on expensive clothes, personal yoga training and gourmet food. And still, he wagers on an illegal shifter race and finds himself $15K in the hole to a crime lord. Dylan hears of Avery’s predicament, and bails him out. He doesn’t have to, but he chooses to save his mate, even if they aren’t officially mated.
In the course of his money trouble, Avery’s parent’s cut off his allowance and Avery is begging for a job. The Portland Pack Alpha is Avery’s BFF Jaden’s father, and Avery is able to secure a pack job, bringing meals to shut-in shifters and driving them to appointments. It’s lowly, but Avery appreciates that he has more purpose than ever in his life.
In the meantime, Dylan and Avery recognize that their bond is becoming stronger of its own accord, and they should probably get to know one another to see if completing the mating ritual will be the biggest mistake evah. It’s quietly endearing, the way they date and barely touch. Dylan fears being forever glued to a mate he cannot stand, and seeks some advice from his mother. He decides to “go slow” and this is good and bad. We get a lot of tension, but Avery isn’t sure if Dylan’s really interested. Hedgehogs don’t have the same fated mates dynamic as wolves, so he figures Dylan is only invested from a wolf standpoint–and Avery doesn’t want to fall hard for sexy Dylan if it’s all one-sided.
I really did enjoy prickly Avery. He’s so tender on the inside and armored on the outside! Even his designer clothes are a form of protection, keeping others at bay. He gets over himself, and really starts thinking of others first as the plot unfolds. Yay!
The final 2/3 of the book involves a mystery surrounding the disappearance of a young female shifter, only daughter to one of Avery’s shut-ins. Avery vows to find the lost girl and gets dragged into an investigation of a human trafficking operation. Expect a lot of action and drama on this front. Dylan is a great guy, the kind of mate anyone, even Avery, would desire. And Avery’s desire is so attractive to Dylan that he’s drawn in, against his reticence.
There are some yummy sexytimes, though they happen in the second half of the book. I did like the slow burn, and the cautious moves into what Avery and Dylan understand will be a forever relationship. They treat each other with respect, though there is a bit of secret-keeping that drives that action in the climax.
Definitely rooting for these guy in the sequel. And the secondary characters are all super yum. Expecting to see them in their own books!
About the authors:
Piper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she’s known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, she loves them all (and has a two thousand book library to prove it!). She grew up in Chicago, in an ethnically diverse neighborhood, and loves to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life…even if it’s only in a book.
Kenzie Cade was born and raised in the South where she spends her days in the sometimes stressful field of private medicine observing interesting people and committing them to memory for later use. When she isn’t reading, experimenting with recipes, or being distracted by social media, Kenzie spends time with her family, friends, and the Pomeranian/long-haired Chihuahua mix who likes to keep her company while she writes. As a young girl, Kenzie dreamed of princesses and their white knights. As an adult (or sort of adult), she dreams of princes and their proverbial white knights, which she attributes to fellow Arkansan S.E. Hinton and her novel The Outsiders. Writing to keep the fictional voices at bay, Kenzie enjoys the journeys her characters travel to find their happy endings, and she loves the challenge of writing a great love story.
Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends.