A Dose of Pretty Poison; Pretty Poison #1
(#1 within a series)
Publication Date: March 16, 2023
Genre/Tropes: New Adult/Brother’s Best Friend/Sports/Small Town Romance
Author: Kelsey Clayton
Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars
The title is super appropriate, A Dose of Pretty Poison is both angsty, but also summertime sweet. It is filled with all the lovely tropes; small town romance, brother’s best friend, sports romance, new adult, ride or die best friends, OT jealous hero, praise kink, and virgin heroine. It’s the best kind of book to snuggle up and fall in love with.
The thought of losing your best friend, who is more like a brother, is a blow that most people wouldn’t take, especially when you’ve already experienced loss in your life. Hayes Wilder stepped up as the man in his family when his dad left years ago, but the Blanchards became his second family because his mother also had to compensate and work a lot to provide for her two children. Laiken Blanchard kept her crush on Hayes under wraps for years, until one summer the chemistry between them explodes, but the thought of losing the only stable family he has and his best friend, Cam, makes it so their affair is kept in secret, until circumstances tear them apart and Laiken no longer can handle being swept under the rug.
Everyone knows everyone in a small town and without opportunities to escape or chances to get out, how do you grow in a relationship that is stifled from the beginning? How do you choose loving someone when they don’t seem to respect you? While I understand Hayes’ hesitancy in telling Cam that he’s hooking up with Laiken, as Cam is an OT protective brother and could very well murder his best friend, it’s also killer to watch Laiken take the hit to her heart. On the plus side, I loved Laiken and her bestie Mali, they are both super spunky and sassy. I’d want either of them as my ride or die friends too, so at least Laiken has someone on her side and Mali is literally the best.
Like I said above, the title of this book is super appropriate as the book is both angsty, but also summertime sweet. There were moments I felt like singing, “Summer Nights”, because that song seemed to fit the feel of this book. Hayes and Laiken are wrapped up in this summertime bubble, but I knew the small town around them was going to pop it at any moment just like school did for Danny and Sandy in “Grease”. There is also a sports element with both of them being involved in ice themed sports and I have a feeling that part of the book will come into play even more as this series progresses.
Did I say progresses? Yes, that’s right. This is just book one and it does end on a cliffy, but I’m ready for more Hayes, Laiken, Cam, Mali, plus everyone else in their small town to return in the next book.
If my parents had it their way, I’d be off at college. Instead, I’m drowning in secrets, every one of them involving my brother’s best friend.
Hayes Wilder is a walking red flag, warning me to stay away. And yet, all I can think about are his calloused hands on my skin. He’s a total player, on and off the ice, but right now, the only playing he wants to do is with me.
Sneaking around isn’t easy, especially when you live in a small town where nothing stays hidden. And when our secret ends up in the wrong hands, decisions and regrets come as a package deal.
I’ve got everything I’ve always wanted right in front of me. All my dreams lying at my feet. But I’m forced to decide if loving him is worth losing myself.
I wish someone would’ve told me that the prettiest of poisons are also the most lethal.
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