Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Ever since Harlan Edgewood was bitten by a possessed werewolf, his monthly shifts have been agonizing. When he meets Whimsy Hickes—a mage who specializes in transformation—the attraction is mutual. But Harlan believes his curse is too great a burden to inflict on any romantic partner.
Fortunately, Whimsy thinks he can help.
When Harlan is provoked into an unexpected change, Whimsy uses his magic to help ease Harlan’s pain, but with an unexpected consequence. While he’s shifted, Harlan’s wolf claims Whimsy as his mate.
As they draw closer, suspicious events in the Asheville magical community escalate. Shifters are disappearing, others are murdered, and Harlan’s curse makes him an obvious target. It will take all of Whimsy’s magic to force back the rising evil—and if he fails, Harlan will lose not only his life, but his very soul.
Whimsy Hickes! Of all of the character names that have leapt across the pages I have read all these years, this is one of the ones I wish I could grab for myself. Just the sheer charm of this name speaks to me. As does the character himself. I have adored Whimsy since I met him in Out of the Ashes (Asheville Arcana #1). Then he was dealing with the loss of his triad relationship when his friend and lover, half-elf Arden Gilmarin, finds true love with his mate werewolf Eli Hammond. When their other third, the Vampire disappears in his research, it leaves Whimsy lonely and searching for something for himself in Forged in Fire (Asheville Arcana #2) by Ari McKay.
The Asheville Arcana series or maybe trilogy is so wonderful. Layered over with multiple storylines that keep your attention glued to every sentence less you loose a clue or important element that will frame out the next action, McKay never forgets that its the people (or beings) that are the foundation here. And I mean every character, not just the main ones. Just terrific characterizations all around.
Both Whimsy and Harlan are looking for something….and find each other unexpectedly. It’s the mate bond that shows them the way. Each character is lovingly built up so that they feel alive, each detail, right down to the handmade candles that one makes and the other joyfully receives, gives us insight into them as people and as a couple. I loved that and them. And could see them so clearly in my mind that I felt I was nearby, listening in as a friend and happy for them.
Of course, there is an ongoing series storyline arc here with a great evil and that is carried through here with suspense and wonderful action. I was holding my breath at parts to see how it would all shake out and how if any resolution would happen knowing the series was only as book two. I wasn’t disappointed. The authors can write action as well as romance. And of course, we still have a lonely vampire at large. Can’t have that, can we?
So what have we got? A terrific magical series with supernatural and fantasy characters that feel alive and so vivid that you will connect with them easily. An evil so pervasive that it sends chills down your spine and make you fear for all involved. And plenty of love and romance for all lovers of, well, love and romance. Plus the name Whimsy Hickes. You know how I feel about that.
I can’t wait for the next story in this series. Until then, if you are new to the Asheville Arcana series, pick up book one and find out what’s in store for you. None of them are standalones. Then read this one. I highly recommend them both.
Cover art: Aaron Anderson. Love this cover. That’s my idea of Whimsy Hickes now absolutely.
ebook, 220 pages
Expected publication: May 1st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Series Asheville Arcana