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Dark Instincts by Suzanne Wright
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Dark Instincts

by Suzanne Wright

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Marcus & Roni's story is suspenseful, titalating, & captivating. The book is action packed from the very start with plenty of laughs thrown in for good measure. Great character development, good storyline & plot. ( )
  BookJunkie777 | Oct 16, 2016 |
I didn't read the blurb for this one before I started reading because I wanted the couple to surprise me. I have to say that I was surprised that Roni was paired with Marcus. And this was the first book of this series where I liked the female character better than the male. Don't get me wrong, Marcus was yummy in his alpha male behavior. I liked that he was possessive, yet supportive, instead of just out-and-out controlling. He coaxed Roni into trusting him in a way that the other males probably would not have thought to try. But Marcus was kind of an unknown for me before this book - I never really paid attention to him in the earlier parts of the series.

Roni was a great heroine, and I was able to connect with her pretty quickly. I understood her need to escape into her wolf when people were coddling her or treating her as a weak female. I totally identify with this as I cannot stand for someone to think that I am not capable of doing something, whether its due to my back injury or due to being a girl. I am one of those independent capable chicks that does not need a man to be happy - and I felt like Roni was the same.

Dominic and Derren continue to be my favorite secondary characters, and I do hope that one of their books is coming next. This series just has a recipe to keep my interest no matter who the main characters are. There is just enough action, suspense, drama and steamy sex to keep the pace going for a fast, quick and interesting read. Rock on, Ms. Wright! ( )
  Bambi_Unbridled | May 28, 2016 |
I didn't read the blurb for this one before I started reading because I wanted the couple to surprise me. I have to say that I was surprised that Roni was paired with Marcus. And this was the first book of this series where I liked the female character better than the male. Don't get me wrong, Marcus was yummy in his alpha male behavior. I liked that he was possessive, yet supportive, instead of just out-and-out controlling. He coaxed Roni into trusting him in a way that the other males probably would not have thought to try. But Marcus was kind of an unknown for me before this book - I never really paid attention to him in the earlier parts of the series.

Roni was a great heroine, and I was able to connect with her pretty quickly. I understood her need to escape into her wolf when people were coddling her or treating her as a weak female. I totally identify with this as I cannot stand for someone to think that I am not capable of doing something, whether its due to my back injury or due to being a girl. I am one of those independent capable chicks that does not need a man to be happy - and I felt like Roni was the same.

Dominic and Derren continue to be my favorite secondary characters, and I do hope that one of their books is coming next. This series just has a recipe to keep my interest no matter who the main characters are. There is just enough action, suspense, drama and steamy sex to keep the pace going for a fast, quick and interesting read. Rock on, Ms. Wright! ( )
  Bambi_Unbridled | Mar 19, 2016 |
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: Two characters who couldn’t be quite different on the outside, find love when they realize that they have more in common than they thought. A good standalone story with dark elements but I wasn’t completely hooked by the relationship.

Opening Sentence: Opening your eyes to find that you’re upside down can’t be good, can it?

The Review:

Dark Instincts is the fourth novel in The Phoenix Pack series. This novel gets right into the action from the very first page. An evil pack of Jackals are attempting to kidnap a toddler from the Mercury Pack. A pack that has close ties to the Phoenix Pack. Roni, an enforcer for Mercury is there, and she has to fight with everything she has to keep them from taking the boy. The two packs gather together to discuss what the fallout is for the attempted kidnapping. As they look into the Jackal pack, they uncover something even more gruesome and terrifying. Something that must be stopped at all costs.

I have not read the previous books in this series and I don’t think that it really hindered me at all with the story. The story itself stood up pretty well as a standalone. My only complaints where the fact that I didn’t know who all the characters were, and I got lost in the XX is mated to OO and AA is with BB. There was a section where all these characters were just laid out in quick succession like that. I also didn’t quite understand the hierarchy of the pack, but I was able to get by with assumptions and guesses so if I get that wrong, it is entirely my fault.

The dark events of Dark Instincts follow along with the development of the relationship between Roni and Marcus. Roni is an enforcer, the tough muscle, for her pack. She is very manly. She prefers her combat pants and stupid/funny graphic tees over wearing anything that would make her looks feminine. Roni doesn’t like people. She often hides behind strange knowledge and uses that to confuse people and make them go away when they try to engage in conversation. Roni is infallibly loyal to her family. It is basically the only reason she has stayed around as long as she has. She has a dark past that she hasn’t entirely gotten over and it plays a huge part in the act that she puts in front of people today.

Marcus is an enforcer for the Phoenix pack. He is a people person and kind of a man-slut when it comes to his relationships. He prefers one night stands. Marcus is loyal to his friend, the leader of the Phoenix pack. He also has his own dark secrets that he is working through.

Roni knows she isn’t Marcus’ type. He likes the feminine, model types. She also doesn’t want to become another one of his statistics. She doesn’t mind the one night stand, but there is something about Marcus that keeps her from submitting. Marcus has been trying to seduce Roni for a long time. He hopes by slowly getting under her skin that she will eventually let him in. It does work, slowly. Before she knows it, she allows Marcus to touch her casually. Their relationship slowly evolves from an ember to fireworks. Marcus knows exactly how to treat Roni by following her physical and nonverbal cues.

Roni’s family doesn’t quite “get her” and her masculine tendencies. Her mother really likes to put her down. She puts up with it because she feels she owes it to them.

As a couple, I thought Roni and Marcus were good together. I didn’t love them but I didn’t hate them either. I felt they were abrasive at times. I can’t pinpoint the exact reason why but there was just something about them that I didn’t overall enjoy.

This novel has some pretty dark elements. The events of this novel slow down after the initial opening scene as the packs try to track down the Jackals. The ending was quite action packed and didn’t quite play out like I thought it would. Although, I will say I was a little let down by a major point of the storyline that happened off the page and just had a quick wrap up in the epilogue. Dark Instincts was told through Roni and Marcus’ third person POVs.

Notable Scene:

Finally in possession of her order, Roni made her way to the parking lot across the road. It was as she approached her car that it happened: the unmistakable feeling that someone was behind her crawled up her spine. She waited until she knew they were up close before acting. In a swift, fluid movement, Roni swerved on the spot, grabbed a hand holding a syringe, and forced the strange female to stab herself in the neck. Within seconds, the dumb bitch was out cold. Huh. A sedative.

Roni locked her gaze on another female, who was staring at her wide-eyed and looking terribly amused. Even, strangely, a little excited.

“Oh, you are good.” She’d said it like Roni had come recommended or something. “You will be lots of fun for us.”

Roni didn’t recognize either of the females, but she’d smelled scents similar to theirs before, so she knew one thing: these were jackals. That made both Roni and her wolf growl. “I’m tired, I’m pissed, and I’m seriously unhappy that the donuts I waited half an hour for are now splattered on the ground. So make this really, really quick, and really, really sweet.”

“We’re going to need you to come with us.” The jackal gestured to a waiting car that contained two other females, both of who were watching in morbid fascination. They were trying to drug and kidnap Roni in a public area in broad daylight? Really? Quinn was right: the sick freaks just didn’t care.

“And why would I do that?”

“Let’s see . . . there’s four of us, and one of you.”

“Three of you, actually.” She toed the unconscious body at her feet. “This one’s not going to be much use to you for a while.”

“Those still aren’t good odds for you. So be a smart little girl and get in the car.”

Roni pursed her lips. “Nah, I don’t think I’m going to do that.”

The jackal’s face hardened. “It wouldn’t be wise to try to fight us off, wolf.”

“You’re right: willingly getting into a vehicle with a bunch of shifters who intend to kill me makes a lot more sense.”

“Last chance. Get. In. The. Fucking. Car.”

“You can call that ‘Plan B,’ okay?” Roni didn’t wait for the jackal to make the first move—she needed to get this over with quickly and quietly. This wasn’t the time for fancy moves or toying with the bitches’ spleens. So Roni did what she always did when having a good, long fight wasn’t an option. She dealt her opponent a hard blow to the temple. And, yep, down the bitch went.

FTC Advisory: Montlake Romance provided me with a copy of Dark Instincts. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Jun 6, 2015 |
4.5 “Enforcers Unite” Stars for both the story and the narration!

Having recently fallen in love with another shifter romance series, I took one look at the blurb for Dark Instincts and just knew I had to listen to it. What particularly called my attention was the idea of two dominant shifters–enforcers for different packs–finding their happiness together. Often times, it’s the hero who is the primary or stronger alpha or dom in PNR books, so Dark Instincts was like a breath of fresh air. In addition, I also really enjoyed the suspense, humor and group dynamics between the extended members of the two packs (the Phoenix and Mercury Packs). Further rounding out this fabulous listen was the talented narration by Jill Redfield.

As this is the fourth book in the Phoenix Pack Series it is worth noting that this series, like most paranormal romances, is intended to be read in order. In that regard, as this was my first and only listen of this series, it was definitely clear that a number of the characters had been presented in prior books and had continued to evolve over the series. This made listening to the beginning of this story a little difficult to follow, but I was able to eventually catch on. Additionally the immediate conflict, from a suspense perspective, and the primary romance, were fully resolved within Dark Instincts, so this title could still be read or listened to as a standalone.

It isn’t easy being a dominant female shifter in the Mercury pack, particularly given that her brother, Nick, is the alpha wolf leader of the pack. Nonetheless Roni Axton will not be deterred in showing her true personality. As the Mercury Pack’s enforcer, moreover, she is able to use her true nature to help her pack.

Marcus Fuller, the enforcer of the Phoenix Pack, has a well earned reputation with the ladies. However, the type of females he usually attracts are nothing like Roni. So imagine Roni’s surprise when a mutual enemy brings their packs together and she soon finds that apprehending/seeking revenge on the bad guys is not the only goal Marcus has set his sights on.

The stronger Marcus comes on, the more Roni tries to divert his attention. But strangely enough, Roni soon finds that the one place she finds herself wanting to submit is when she is intimately involved with Marcus. As the two navigate the personal, and pack politics, to determine if a HEA could possibly be in their future; the immediate threat–a jackal pack intent on victimizing members of both the Phoenix and Mercury Packs to further their own demented agenda–becomes even more targeted and personal. Soon the fate of their destinies becomes dependent not just on the taming of their own true natures, but also on winning one of the most dangerous games they have ever been engaged in.

This was my first experience with Jill Redfield, and I absolutely loved her performance. Excelling in all the key markers I look for in a great narrator, I now know that I have found a new go to narrator. Not only does Ms. Redfield do a good job of producing authentic male and female voices, but she also provides nuanced distinctions, befitting of the particular character’s personality, to distinguish among the characters of the same gender. Ms. Redfield also conveys the particular emotion or mood of the scene by appropriately varying the speed, and/or, tone of her dialogue.

Perhaps my favorite part of Ms. Redfield’s performance was her characterization of Roni. I loved how you could glean Roni’s dominant nature from the authoritative intonation of Roni’s voice. Additionally, you could hear Roni’s angst as she pondered whether any sort of a future could possibly be in her future with such a possessive male like Marcus.

If you enjoy shifter romances, with equal parts action/suspense and romance/passion, then you definitely will not want to miss The Phoenix Pack series. I, for one, now can’t wait to go back and explore some of the prior titles in this series.

Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  B.J.O. | May 27, 2015 |
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Whenever wolf shifter Roni Axton is near Marcus Fuller, there's 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. His possessive gaze makes one thing clear. Marcus has singled her out for seduction, and he wants to make her sit up and beg. 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. For Marcus, claiming Roni once will mean needing her forever.… (more)

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