by Rachel Carrington, paranormal (2007)
Ellora's Cave, $7.99, ISBN 978-1-4199-0979-5
This Indigo Spell that I'm reading is a revised and expanded edition of the book of same name that was previously published by Triskelion Publishing back in 2004. I have no idea what has been expanded or revised though.
Tess Montgomery, a Charleston socialite, is dragged by her more outgoing friend Belinda to a charity Bachelor Auction of the Caring Hearts Home under false pretenses. Belinda told her they were going to an art auction, you see, because bachelor auctions are so scandalous or something. I don't know. Usually when something like bachelor auctions become a staple plot device in a line like Harlequin Blaze, it automatically loses any credibility as something scandalous or sexy. Anyway, Belinda's bid wins them a date with the handsome Mount Pleasant (snigger) contractor Jaxon Richards and since Belinda is married, the date belongs to Tess.
Jaxon, like Tess, is dragged to the Bachelor Auction under less than truthful circumstances. His brother Harry left out the part where he's supposed to act on stage like a stripper at Aunt Bertha's 87th birthday bash in a Vegas club, for one. But one look at Tess and he's muah-muah'ing her on the lips while the others watching them clap and hoot in encouragement. I love it when rich people legalize prostitution in the name of saving the kiddies. Anyway, what Tess doesn't realize is that Jaxon is an immortal wizard and her Harlequin Blaze story will soon transform into a tale of Evil Witches Wanting To Kill The Good Wizards.
Indigo Spell is a "Bear with me, it'll get better" book. At the start, I find Jaxon a complete bore. He starts out a patronizing and smarmy jerk who is so convinced that Tess wants him while making all kinds of bizarre judgment about her personality and decisions for the two of them. But as the story progresses, he slowly becomes less of a boor and more of a disagreeable but adorable big puppy kind of character. He's still somewhat high-handed and he can act like a disagreeable know-it-all at times, but he's actually a softie where Tess is concerned, how adorable. Tess too gets better as a character as the story progresses. She starts out an annoying "Eeek! I wanna have sex but I'm a good gal and sex is so... so... eeek!" heroine one can find in too many sexy or erotic romances out there but she soon morphs into a pretty smart woman who doesn't take crap from anyone. She's also pretty sneaky, I notice, because in this story Tess more often than not gets her way while letting Jaxon believe that he's in charge of making all the decisions for the two of them, heh. Their relationship is an enjoyable one to read, with enough sexual chemistry to spice things up. Jaxon can sometimes be very sweet that he surprises me as well as Tess, which also adds to the charm that is the romance.
I also find myself liking the secondary romance between the villainess Athena and Jaxon's brother Braeden and how author Rachel Carrington introduces various shades of gray in the plot where no one, not the designated good guys or the designated bad guys, has the absolute claim to being right or wrong.
Indigo Spell can be rough around the edges, especially when the author abruptly shifts her story from a Harlequin Blaze-like tale into a tale of magic and sorcery in a transition that isn't exactly smooth. But overall, this is a most enjoyable story. I am so sure that I would be annoyed thoroughly by the main characters after the few first chapters of this book but boy, I find them too adorable by the last page. How did that happen?
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