Welcome to Nocturne Falls, the town that celebrates Halloween 365 days a year.
The tourists think it's all a show: the vampires, the werewolves, the witches, the occasional gargoyle flying through the sky. But the supernaturals populating the town know better.
Living in Nocturne Falls means being yourself. Fangs, fur, and all.
Sebastian Ellingham isn’t known for being a happy vampire. And when his long estranged wife returns expecting to pick up where they left off, things take a sharp turn toward cranky. Sure he’s been protecting her for centuries, but her assumption that he’s still available (he is) rankles.
His answer is to hire a woman to play his fiancée. The lucky victim is Tessa Blythe, sister of one of the town’s deputies, librarian in need of a job and, oh yes, reluctant Valkyrie. Playing along with Sebastian is all about the end game: earning the position of Dean of Library Studies at the local private academy.
When unexpected sparks fly between them, they agree to mutually deny the attraction. Fate, however, has other plans…
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the fifth book in the Nocturne Falls series. I loved it!
Sebastian Ellingham is a wonderful character in my opinion and I liked him a lot. Having been introduced as Hugh's grouchy older brother in earlier books, he intrigued me. Therefore, when I realised that this book was his story I became rather excited. Sebastian has a reason to be grouchy in my opinion. He made a promise a long time ago and he has not broken it. Now Evangeline, his estranged wife, has returned, hoping to get back together. In a fit of anger, he announces he's engaged. Enter Tessa Blythe. Unfortunately, he is unprepared for the feelings she makes him feel, even as his attraction for her grows.
Tessa Blythe is also a wonderful character. I liked her a lot too. She is a Valkyrie, but has chosen a life as a librarian rather than a warrior due to an event that happened in her past and it made her afraid of her own temper. During an interview for the Dean of Library Studies at Harmswood school in Nocturne Falls, she finds herself embroiled in a deception as Sebastian's Fiancée. However, as she gets to know Sebastian better she finds herself drawn to him.
I started to read and didn't put it down until I had finished it. In fact, it felt like I'd only just started it when I finished. I flew through the story I was that absorbed. I enjoyed meeting the various residents of Nocturne Falls and getting to know them better.
The story is told through the eyes of both Sebastian and Tessa and it took me on an emotional roller coaster ride from beginning to end. The reader is also introduced to several characters including Tessa's sister, Jenna, and Jenna's work colleague, Alex Cruz, who are both deputies and work for Sheriff Hank Merrow, as well as Greaves, Sebastian's Rook and friend. Then there is Evangeline. I must admit that, although I didn't have an instant dislike for her, I found her to be rather self-centered and spoilt. Granted, she was born in a different era and grew up with different expectations. Nevertheless, her attitude towards Sebastian made me want to shake her, or at least slap her.
I have really enjoyed reading this series and watching the characters grow. In this book, there is a lot more character development for not only Sebastian, but for Tessa too. They each take an amazing journey of discovery about themselves that made me feel proud of them. There is a little more action in this storyline too, with danger in the form of Evangeline, but it was the scene between Sebastian and Duncan (Tessa's cat) in his office that tugged at my heart the most.
As I've mentioned in other reviews, I'm not a huge fan of insta-love; I like characters to have time to get to know each other better. This story is more in line with this compared to the first two books in the series. The story is a romance and I enjoyed watching Sebastian's and Tessa's relationship grow. I reached the end of the book and was left with a warm fuzzy feeling as I enjoy a happy ending. I am now looking forward to reading the next book in the series, The Shifter Romances The Writer, as soon as I can.
Kristen Painter has written a wonderful paranormal romance. I enjoyed her writing style, which is fast paced and entertaining. The flow was wonderful too. I would definitely read more of this author's books in the future.
There are no scenes of an explicit sexual nature (the scenes fade or are implied and not shown), nor is there any bad language. Therefore, I recommend this book to older teens and highly recommend this book to readers who love paranormal, supernatural or urban fantasy romances. - Lynn Worton
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