Pepper McKay comes from a long line of powerful witches. Unfortunately, magic brings her nothing but trouble. She learned the love of wildlife rescue and rehab from her Aunt Ashling. After graduating from college, Pepper works for Salem Wildlife Sanctuary and lives from paycheck to paycheck until she inherits the McKay property in Lobster Cove. With the family land and resources, she dares to dream of starting her own wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center.
Lathen Quartz, a former Navy SEAL turned handyman maintains the enchanted McKay property for the McKay estate. But someone is trying to steal the McKay magic. Lathen offers to help Pepper achieve her life-long dream of building a wildlife center. During the long hours spent together on the project, their mutual attraction can’t be denied. But each harbors a deep, dark secret. Will they overcome their demons and give love a chance?
I find myself really conflicted writing this review – on one level I enjoyed the story as a hugely pleasant read about subjects close to my heart, along with great characters and lovely settings. On the other, I found it hugely frustrating. Let me explain…
The story opens with Pepper, a witch, in a dire situation. She’s used magic openly (in Salem, of all places) to protect her place of work, an animal rehab shelter, from a storm, and now she’s out of a job and being thrown out of her apartment. She has no place to go, and no plans. So far, so good.
Then she receives a summons to a family solicitor, to be told she’s inherited an estate and a large amount of money – good timing or what?
Upon arriving at said property, she meets hot handyman, Lathan, former Navy Seal who just happens to be a wolf shifter. Okay, right now he can’t shift due to injuries sustained, but who cares? He’s gorgeous, amenable and available.
So begins the delightful tale of Pepper setting up her own animal rescue and rehab centre with a lot of physical help from the delectable Lathan. They are engaging characters, beautifully depicted and easy to root for.
But therein also lies the problem (for me) at the root of this novel – it lacks plot. Yes, there is a story. Yes, things happen. But conflict? No.
Pepper and Lathan get along just fine, moving steadily from interested to attached to committed with nary a ripple of a problem along the way. Yes, they both have personal issues to come to terms with, and they talk and think about how things could go wrong, but they never do!
There are vague threats to the rehab centre, and a slightly crazy guy who makes a couple of half-hearted physical assaults, but turns out he’s being controlled by the real ‘bad guy’, who is so ineffectual he makes so little impact on the story I can’t even remember his name. (I did feel the poor patsy was rather badly dealt with – it wasn’t his fault he was acting out of character, and yet no one seemed at all concerned about the consequences to his life.)
There are a couple of recurring points that impart unease – a window that seems to open itself, and a door that creaks ominously – both of which I was truly expecting to play critical roles in the final scenes, but no, they never led anywhere.
In fact, Pepper sums up the ending extremely well herself, when she says: “Well, that was an anticlimactic ending to the evening.”
Basically in this book, nothing goes wrong. No conflict, no danger – lots of talking about it, but it never comes to anything.
So if you are looking for a sweet, easy read, with lovely characters, decent writing, a few sex scenes, some jaunts around beautiful places, and lots of descriptions of yummy food, then this is a book for you.
If, on the other hand, you want action, things going awry, characters thrown into impossible situations, and above all, conflict, then I suggest you leave this one off your reading list.
Tena Stetler is a paranormal romance and cozy mystery author with an over-active imagination. She wrote her first vampire romance as a tween, to the chagrin of her mother and the delight of her friends. With the Rocky Mountains outside her window, Tena sits at her computer surrounded by a wide array of paranormal creatures telling her their tales. Colorado is her home; shared with her husband of many moons, a brilliant Chow Chow, a spoiled parrot and a forty-year-old box turtle. Any winter evening, you can find her curled up in front of a crackling fire with a good book, a mug of hot chocolate and a big bowl of popcorn.
Win a Digital Copy of “Charm Me” by Tena Stetler (1); Digital Copy of “A Demon’s Witch” by Tena Stetler; $10 Amazon G.C. (1); $5 Amazon G.C. (2). Ends 7/1. Open Internationally. Void where Prohibited.