Bitten by Deceit by Shawntelle Madison
Series: Hadley Werewolves #1
Alpha wolf Emma Parker is loyal to a fault, even if it means losing the love of her life when he’s ousted from the pack. She’s never stopped needing him, and when a black witch curses the pack, she wonders if she’ll even survive. It’s a poison of the blood, and with each bite, the virus spreads, leaving the infected rabid and under the control of an evil Alpha.
Kyle Benton is starting over. He’s a lone wolf, betrayed by the only woman he’s ever loved. Until Emma barges back into his life, as gorgeous and determined as ever. He’s hell bent on resisting her, or at least making her suffer. But she needs him in a way that touches him to his very soul. Now he has to determine how to set her free, and if he can, how he can ever let her go.
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BITTEN BY DECEIT is the first novella in Shawntelle Madison’s self-published Hadley Werewolves series. I enjoyed her debut, COVETED, which I am totally going to write up at some point soon, so I jumped on the opportunity to try something new from her. Unfortunately, BITTEN BY DECEIT was somewhat lacking for me. It’s hard to pinpoint why since the novella has Madison’s characteristic smart, witty writing and good characters but the formula didn’t gel for me the way I’d hoped.
Madison is an extremely talented writer and she does a great job of creating a sense of place and people. Like her Coveted series, this novella is all about werewolves, though there’s no connection with her traditionally published books. The Hadley werewolves are pretty standard in most respects, except for the fact that Emma is on the run from the wolf in charge of her pack, who’s gone bananas. That’s a bit less standard, and the explanation we get for this wasn’t much of a surprise. In fact, it reminded me of a couple other books, which I won’t name since it might spoil your BITTEN BY DECEIT reading experience.
The romantic leads in BITTEN BY DECEIT come off as pretty standard as well. Emma is the damsel in distress, searching for her lost love Kyle, with the hopes that he will save her and the rest of the pack. Kyle, for his part, is broody since he is the rightful alpha and got run off by the current leader of the pack and his cronies. It’s a combination that you see in a lot of romance novels and I was hoping that it would feel fresher in Madison’s hands. I don’t mind tropes but I prefer it when authors add their own special flavour to them, which unfortunately wasn’t the case in this novella. This isn’t to say that BITTEN BY DECEIT is poorly done; rather, I think my expectations are just a bit too high after reading Madison’s full-length work.
For me, BITTEN BY DECEIT was a pleasant but predictable read. If you’re interested in trying this author, I would encourage you to start with COVETED, which is a fantastic book. I’ve got a review copy of the next novella in the series and I hope that it will be a bit more exciting. I’ll keep you posted. 🙂