A secluded cabin. An outgoing princess on a mission, seeking shelter from a storm. And one antisocial Vampyre who puts the “grunt” in surly grunting grumperson. So…much…grunting. What’s not to love?
What’s it About?
A woman determined to discover her past…
Adelyn, daughter of Lila and Latimus, has never felt quite whole. Although she loves her parents immensely, the origin of her lavender irises always remained a mystery. When she overhears rumors of a secret species of immortal who share the rare trait, she’s compelled to journey into treacherous territory to find them.
A man destined to protect her…
Leo, son of Kilani and Alrec, prefers solitude rather than the misery and exclusion he experienced in the immortal realm. When a gorgeous Slayer shows up at his remote cabin, he yearns to protect her, even if the stubborn woman drives him mad.
A perilous journey…
Incensed by the grumpy Vampyre, Adelyn vows to leave him behind. But the obstinate man insists on protecting her, and each day they forge ahead, she wonders if her heart might need the most protection of all…
Listen up! If you’re in the mood for a paranormal romance featuring a sunshine heroine juxtaposed against a grumpy hero, then you need to run, not walk, and add this read to your TBR list. What we have here is the absolute epitome of witty banter which acts as the most delicious kind of foreplay between our two lead characters. They can’t stand to be in the same room together at the start, which makes their isolated location of a remote cabin in the middle of a torrential rain storm all the more perfect. Adelyn may have stumbled across one of the most infuriatingly stubborn and brash Vampyres she’s ever met in her immortal life, but she’s also not afraid to give back as good as he’s dishing out. This aristocratic princess certainly isn’t what Leo was expecting to come home to in his solitary home far removed from the reaches of society, and her incessant need for conversation has him on the verge of throwing her out in the cold. Or maybe…he might just have to throw her into his bed instead, because he can’t deny that this little vixen has awakened a desire in him he thought long buried.
With every snappy comeback we see these two polar opposites come closer together, and it’s clear we’re just a hidden smirk or two away from an explosion of heat. Something I truly loved about this read was that Leo wasn’t just a grump for grumpiness’ sake. Oftentimes in Romancelandia we can be presented with a surly hero who seems to have a few underlying anger or personality issues that we never really get to the bottom of. When it comes to this read though, we can see how centuries of isolation have shaped Leo into the man he is today. It’s not that he’s always in a bad mood, but rather his interactions with anyone aside from his parents has been so limited that it naturally takes him some time to remember how to open up to anyone new. Adelyn refuses to back down when confronted with his testy attitude, which in turn brings about his willingness to confide in her about those who have turned away from him in the past. On the surface it might seem as though these two have nothing in common, but we come to find that their differences are what complement each other so well to bring them closer.
A Tame Addition
If I had to categorize this eighth installment in the Etherya’s Earth series when compared to the other novels so far, I would say it’s quite the palate cleanser. We’re seeing a brief moment of peace in the larger war against the evil Elf King Dakath, so the primary focus of any angst or drama is on our lead couple as they traverse the rocky landscape towards building a relationship. Aside from one night scene involving a run-in with some lone Deamons, which frankly I’m sure will haunt my nightmares at least once in the coming weeks, we don’t see any scenes of battle or bloodshed. Unless you want to call Leo bringing a snooty aristocrat to his knees after an attempt to fight for Adelyn’s affections a battle. The main area where we see a bit of movement forward in this great fight of good against evil is in Adelyn’s mission to locate the secret species of Nymphs living on the outskirts of society.
Her ancestors descend from this ancient line of peaceful healers, and it’s from them she’s inherited her tell-tale lavender-colored irises. While Adelyn loves her adoptive parents, Latimus and Lila, she’s always yearned to find out more about where she comes from. This is impetus for why she sets off on her mission to not only make first contact with the Nymphs, but also hopefully meet her birth father for the first time. I will say this was the one aspect of the novel which left me wanting more. So much of this story involves Adelyn’s search for the Nymphs, and eventually how her and Leo’s newfound relationship will survive following her return to society. The time actually spent with this new species, learning from them, simply felt far too short. There is definitely the implication that this won’t be the last we see of the Nymphs, but considering that Adelyn is a half-nymph herself, I was really hoping we would see more of her interactions with them in her own novel rather than what might come to be a side-story in a future novel featuring someone else in the lead role.
There are two remarkably poignant moments in this read which I know will be sticking with me for quite some time. They were crafted so surprisingly well by the author, that I can’t help but tip my hat at the sheer excellence of these scenes. The first I will simply refer to as: the shave. So, a bit of back story. There is little I hate more in this world than when a movie, TV show, or novel will depict a man shaving, or getting shaved, with a straight razor. Something about it just puts me on edge with the heebie jeebies. Maybe it’s because 9 times out of 10 these scenes will result in some kind of bloodshed, but nevertheless, my hair stands on edge every single time, without fail. So you can imagine my sheer horror when this novel presents us with just such a scene, but then also my outright stupefaction over the fact that this author succeeds in making it the sexiest scene of the entire book. There is a moment when Adelyn is helping Leo shave off his wild mass of a beard because she’s been poking fun at it ever since her arrival in his cabin. As if the physical closeness this activity presents wasn’t delicious enough, when Adelyn proceeds to climb in his lap to get a better angle under his chin…all bets are off. This is the exact moment where everything changes. They both become aware of their mutual desire for one another, Leo can literally smell it on her, and by Etherya if somebody doesn’t open a window in here I’m going to spontaneously combust!
Mkay, sexy moment over. Now for something a bit more intense. From the moment Adelyn sets out on her mission to find the Nymphs, we know there is a deadline for her to return back to society. Her father Latimus is already seething at the fact she insists on going alone, and if she’s not back home by the date he’s set out for her, he’s fully prepared to send out the entire immortal army after her. Enter Leo. Their time together in the cabin definitely awakened a physical chemistry between them, but it’s their journey together through the wilderness which secures their emotional connection as well. They share their struggles and joys over their adopted childhoods, insights into Leo’s former failed relationship with an aristocrat that confirmed his decision to live a solitary life, and Adelyn’s feelings of being lost at not knowing her birth parents. Each step of their journey brings them closer together, while also bringing us closer to the moment when we know Addie must return home.
Leo is so set in his need for seclusion, just as Addie needs to be close to her family and fulfill her duties to the realm. When they eventually return to the cabin after finding the Nymphs, they have just a few days to share with each other before they must part ways. They are days filled with pure ecstasy, but also a looming dread for the inevitable, a desperation that it won’t come to pass. What makes these moments in the cabin even more heartrending was to see how two immortals must face the harsh reality of something coming to an end. Their bittersweet goodbye brought tears to my eyes, especially when considering the transformation of Leo as this surly grump at the start of the novel, to a man who has to force himself not to fall on his knees and beg Addie not to leave him. Ugh, ok, getting emotional again. Just read the freakin’ book already!
*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*
Series: Etherya’s Earth, book 8. I never want this series to end! Even though I hope these immortals will soon find everlasting peace in their seemingly constant fight against evil, whenever that day comes I would just love to move around the different compounds seeing new couples find their happily ever after. And the way these original couples are popping out babies, I might just get my wish! I still think this series is best read in order, but of all the books in the series so far I would say this is the first full-length novel which could best be served as a stand-alone.
Would I befriend the heroine? Maybe…in small doses. Like Leo, I often crave moments of quiet solitude, and let’s just say Addie might be too much of a chatterbox for my patience to handle.
Would I date the hero? As long as I could watch him chop wood shirtless at least once a day, I’m here for it.
Final Impressions: Although this read may have been short on violent battle scenes, it was full to bursting with emotional vulnerability, humor, witty banter and enough surly grunting to put Ted Lasso‘s Roy Kent to shame. Adelyn and Leo were the perfect pairing, especially as we see how the little things which drove them crazy about each other in the beginning eventually drove them crazy in love by the end. It was also great to see how Addie’s arguments for Leo rejoining society didn’t solely rely on the fact that she wanted him to choose the convenient option for her, but rather that coming back would allow him to be a better version of himself by living a more fulfilling life. While I would have liked to see more interactions with the Nymphs, I did love that we were able to spend some time with a few of couples from the previous books, especially Leo’s parents, Kilani and Alrec. If you love a grumpy/sunshine lead couple, then this is definitely the book for you!
Smut Level: We have a secluded cabin here people, there’s nobody around for miles to hear these two enjoying each other’s company. There are a few mentions of Adelyn being submissive to Leo’s dominant side, but this is solely actualized in some hair tugging and slight pressure on Addie’s neck. No full-on choking, spanking or safe words. At least…that we know of 😉
Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Reading Goddess Press, LLC. 303 Pages.