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?
Pepper hopped out of the truck and took a deep breath. The ocean breeze brought a mixed scent of brine, sand, sun and kelp. Seabirds whistled and screeched through the air diving into the white crested waves, proudly emerging with dinner. Turning her attention to the land, she noticed beyond the barn, the pond was still there, even a bit bigger than she remembered. Caught up in the smells, sights, and sounds, she didn’t hear someone approach.
“Sssshit,” she yelped and whirled around to see a muscular man, well over six feet, with surfer blond hair nearly to his shoulders, tousled by the ocean breeze. Rounding the corner of the cabin, he waved at her as he approached walking with a slight limp. Deeply tanned, he appeared to spend a lot of time outdoors.
“I’m Lathen Quartz. Glad you made it before dark. The road up here can be treacherous after dark if you don’t know where you’re going. I finished up the enclosed aviary and was getting ready to leave. But now that you’re here, I’d be happy to show you around. Help you get settled.”
“Pepper McKay, call me Pepper.” Extending her hand towards him, she met his gaze. His large aquamarine eyes were mesmerizing, set above the high cheekbones, full lips and a butterscotch five o’clock shadow. She gave her head a shake. “Wait. You built an aviary?”
He shook her hand and smiled, shoving his hands in the pockets of his jeans and rocking back on his heels.
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
For a story featuring witches and werewolves, I expected more shifting and magical moments. A ghostly aunt did appear occasionally and there were small uses of magic (lighting a fire or cleaning a stovetop) but, for the most part, magic really came into play in the last chapter. This is also where everything is explained (clarified), too.
It’s great Tena left no loose ends; however, I think she should’ve utilized Benjamin’s dark side more. In doing so, I believe the book would’ve lived up it’s title and scored much higher.
Besides the lack of witchery, a few other things nagged at me and caused me to score it low.
1.) Werewolves have a great sense of smell yet Kolby didn’t scent his brother, Lathen, and was startled when Lathen placed a hand on his shoulder. He should’ve smelt him, knew his scent anywhere. I couldn’t get past it and saw Kolby more as an ordinary man than a werewolf.
2.) Tena seemed more interested in detailing what they were eating, had ate, or discussing food in general. I swear it was starting to feel more like a cooking show than a supernatural book.
3.) With Kate’s (waitress) infatuation with Lathen and her apparent dislike of Pepper, I assumed we’d see some Fatal Attraction craziness. I assumed wrong.
4.) Tena had Lathen wondering “Do I have kink?” after a waitress mentioned the BDSM club (Red Club). I thought she might be leading up to something down the line, but nope. Now looking back, the namedrop seems pointless.
High points: Chapter 21 and 23 are worth reading. If I liked cold temps, I would visit Alaska because it sounds breath-taking.
Also, this story had me wondering what I would do if a deceased relative left me a load of cash like Aunt Ashling did for Pepper.
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.