Dark Instincts by Suzanne Wright
Series: The Phoenix Pack #4
Also in this series: Wicked Cravings, Feral Sins, Carnal Secrets
Published by Montlake Romance on April 7, 2015
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Available on KU at posting: Yes
It happens whenever wolf shifter Roni Axton is near Marcus Fuller: a crackle of sexual awareness that’s intoxicating…and deeply annoying. Marcus is a pack enforcer who oozes power, but Roni is lethal in her own right—nothing like the flirty females who flock around him. Even still, his possessive gaze makes one thing clear. Marcus has singled her out for seduction, and he wants to make her sit up and beg.
No matter how aloof and unfazed Roni acts, Marcus can tell she wants him. When a brutal attack by a jackal pack forces them to work together, it’s the perfect opportunity for Marcus to chip away at her defenses—until he falls into his own trap, completely unprepared for the intensity of their connection. Roni is the only one who’s ever seen past his shifter charm and discovered the man hiding beneath it. And for Marcus, claiming Roni once will mean needing her forever.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
Dark Instincts starts off with an injured Roni using everything she has to prevent the attempted abduction of a child of the Phoenix Pack. Such a threat won’t go unanswered and a hunting team is set up to uncover who’s responsible.
“We all have our flaws, sweetheart. If we were perfect, we’d be boring and predictable. You are never boring”
Roni is never boring and certainly doesn’t make Marcus’s life easy. When it’s decided that teaming Roni and Marcus together will be a good use of their resources, Roni is thrown off guard. She wants to help but not like this. Putting her personal feelings aside, she reluctantly agrees but the riling Marcus has been giving Roni only strengthens her resolve to keep any personal contact or thoughts as distant as she can. Marcus has no problem working with her and he patiently waits for her to drop her guard. The surprise for both of them will be that the true attraction they have for each other is masked by their inability to see it for what it is.
It was Roni’s coping mechanisms of keeping others at bay that could become a tad annoying at times. Amongst her tactics she unleashed included the weird one where she managed to twist a normal conversation to awkward by using a fine-tuned and well-honed habit of blurting out odd facts. Then there were the childish pranks between her and one of the other members of her pack that was a sign that she had dropped her guard. Couple this with the overwhelming and hard love approach of protection from her family and you got why the poor girl came across as having no idea on how to fit into her pack let alone any other.
Marcus is not repelled by her antics. He sees beyond her insecurities and is determined to break through, even when she spends days in her wolf form. He has a reputation as a player but Roni has no intention of being played. And so the challenge begins as the two dominant shifters try to stay in control. Roni tries to hold back her wolf, not wanting to leave herself vulnerable while Marcus and his wolf wait patiently for her to come around to letting him in.
Greta, the meddling matriarch of the Phoenix Pack, makes her appearance again, this time playing a slightly different role. You’ll still hear the snarky bitterness she has perfected in previous books but a streak of softness surfaces when you least expect it. I find Greta’s appearances a good platform for a bit of humour and entertainment at the same time realising there’s got to be a reason behind her behaviour. I would love it if we could get to hear more of Greta’s early years.
Roni, in spite of being an enforcer came across as weak, not in her actions but her inner-self. The storyline was a little slow paced considering with the roles of the main characters I expected a lot more action. Early on with all the drama, there are a lot of characters, creating a crowded story which was a little hard to follow at times. Once I got to the 19% mark, either I got used to it or the crowd thinned because for me the story seemed to flow much better. Finally, at around 90% the action kicks in and the page turner I had anticipated had well and truly arrived.
I’ve followed the Phoenix Pack ever since a friend recommended Feral Sins to me. In this series, there’s a tangible alpha energy amongst the shifters and a sense of family within the packs. My rating is probably based on my love for the first book where I instantly felt connected with the main characters and in each subsequent one, I can’t help but compare. It wasn’t that I didn’t like Roni but I struggled at times to connect with her as I had with Taryn, Shaya, and Jaime in their books.
What I loved:
• Marcus’s sweetness, patience and his determination to help Roni
• Greta showing she does have a heart
• The action at 90%
What I struggled with:
• Roni’s immaturity, the pranks and random facts (even though I got why she did it) – it became annoying
• The crowding of characters in the beginning
• The pace of the writing at times
Lily’s Rating: 3.5 almost 4 Stars
I’m a huge fan of The Phoenix Pack Series. Not all of them have been 5 stars for me, but they’ve been close. Dark Instincts definitely did not disappoint.
Both Roni and Marcus have been damaged and have some serious walls up. Due to a vicious attack when she was a teenager and the aftermath that caused major issues for her family, Roni is coddled and over-protected by her mother and brother. This causes major issues for the extremely dominant alpha female. She tends to be anti-social, except for a handful of people that she has let in. She has interesting ways of putting people off when she gets uncomfortable, spouting random yet gross facts at what others would consider inopportune times. Once she lets you in, she’s loyal and caring and pretty freaking funny. She’s also one tough little wolf, and extremely vicious. I love h’s like her.
Marcus is the guy everyone likes, especially women, but he’s hiding a pretty f’d up past himself…among other things. Having no desire to mate even if he finds his one, he’s known as quite the manwhore. He sees a lot to like in Roni and is determined to get past her barriers thinking he’s found a kindred spirit. Roni wants nothing to do with him, no matter how much her wolf disagrees with her. Of course, this just makes Marcus more determined to catch his prey, and nothing, not her over-protective brothers and family, nor Roni herself is going to stop him.
I loved the back and forth between Roni and Marcus. She was determined and he was equally determined so you knew something had to give. It was also fun to see the interaction between the Phoenix and Mercury Pack as they learned to lean on and trust one another. I was looking forward to Greta’s reaction to Roni, thinking that with her mouth, we were in for some class A snark, but Roni took it in a direction that completely surprised me. Marcus’ dealings with the Mercury Pack’s attempt to warn him off Roni was hilarious. Topping all this goodness off was lots of action scenes that kept me turning page after page, no matter how late it was. I finished, excited that I get to dive into Spiral of Need next, the first of the Mercury Packs new series. Yay!
Spice’s Rating: 4 to almost 4.5 Stars
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