It’s been a while since I posted a review, and I thought I would get this one done last month–it’s been sitting that long as a partially completed draft. Today, the author released her second book, and, as she’s one of my crit partners, I decided I had to get off my duff and actually publish this, too. Here’s her blurb:
Always read the fine print when swearing an eternal oath to gods and guardians…
Beholden by the sacred vows of her coven, fire witch Calista Reid agrees to temporarily mate with shifter Cullen McMahan to fulfill a mission assigned by the guardians. When Tall, Dark and Damaged arrives on her doorstep, generating enough heat to scorch a fire witch, Calista finds herself drawn to his battle-hardened body and broken soul. His pain speaks to her own deep-rooted isolation and the intensity of his hunger slakes her passion like no other.
Cullen, scarred by a past that left him an indentured soldier to the guardians, resents yet another hump-on-command assignment…until he encounters the compassionate, fearless, incendiary redhead who detonates his body and reawakens the emotions sacrifice and loss had suppressed. But Cullen harbors a terrible secret—one that reaches back into Calista’s troubled childhood and threatens the foundation of their growing bond.
It’s a novella, so just the length for an afternoon romp through words. And romp it is: Garie doesn’t shy away from the full implications of two beings thrown together in a mating neither wants, but each is required to fulfill. The combination of paranormal skills is unusual enough I had never seen it before. It’s sexy and fun and the banter between the two main characters lets the reader play voyeur to the start of what reads like it could end up a great romance.
Calista returned with two full glasses of red wine in her hands. The wine bottle and several plates of fruit, cheese, bread slices, chocolate and nuts floated on a current of air behind her. After handing him a drink, she looped her finger, landing the booty perfectly on the coffee table, and sank into the love seat. Her too-large sweater slipped off one shoulder, exposing succulent peach flesh. Argenta’s boots, he wanted a bite of that, but settled for a grape.
“For a fire witch, you’ve an impressive control over air.” He popped the grape in his mouth and relaxed back on the couch. “Thank you. It’s the first time anyone’s ever fed me when I came to mark them.”
“My aunt’s an air witch. She ran a strict household. I had to master currents, crosswinds and etiquette.” Her half smile revealed a dimple he longed to lick.
“It’s quite refreshing not to have to talk you out of the bathroom, off the roof or down from a tree.”
She laughed at that. “Hard job, huh?”
His gaze lowered to hide the pain slicing through him. “You’ve no idea.” He grabbed some bread and cheese and a handful of nuts and focused on eating.
I will admit I might be biased on this one because the author nailed me between the eyes with her crits of my work… That also means she knows what she’s doing as she builds the suspense and unloads a whopper of an ending onto an unsuspecting audience. This is not your standard romantic fare. You get the happily ever after that’s required, and you thank all the gods in the pantheon of the book that it’s possible, but you walk a treacherous road of unwanted attraction and perilous secrets to get there. This is fully worth the read and has me panting, hopeful that there will be a second installment of Calista and Cullen.