Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-374-6
Contemporary Paranormal Romance, 2009
Is that cute little pooch on the cover supposed to be the big bad werewolf hero Maddox Moreau? Hmm, I have to confess that I thought he’d be a little bit… bigger.
Okay, let’s meet our heroine Debra Henry. She’s a witch, although her magic ability at the start of the story is not too impressive. She is a librarian living in a house that faces the Congaree Swamp National Forest. I’m sure there is a joke in there somewhere, I just don’t want to enrage any librarian that may be reading this. Maddox Moreau, the wildlife manager in the Congaree Swamp, knows from the day Debra moves in to her house that she is his mate. Oh, if only we can be so confident and certain about such matters in real life! When she finds herself at the wrong end of a vampire attack for reasons she is not entirely certain of herself, guess who comes to her rescue.
Carolina Wolf is a hoot because the main characters are too much fun to follow. There are some chuckle-inducing banters here. The paranormal subplot is also incorporated in a smooth manner. It goes hand-in-hand with the romance, with neither overshadowing the other, and I like that. I also love how Ms Carsen tries to show me how the two characters can fall in love without resorting to a bunch of mate-mate-mate clichés. And really, those two characters are just too adorable here.
I’d like to give this short story a higher score, but I find that there are some occasional technical issues.
“Don’t you worry about a thing,” said Charlene. “You’ll do fine.”
“I hope so. Myrtle said the mayor was back from his vacation.”
Charlene gasped. “Gary’s back? And Myrtle got the scoop?” She and the other acknowledged town gossip, Myrtle Painter, who had her own column in the local paper, had been tense rivals for years.
“I must be getting old. I didn’t know.” Charlene fixed a steady eye on Debra. “Just because that man has money, he doesn’t need to be so obvious about it. I wonder how long it’ll be before we all see photos of his trip in the newspaper.”
Debra paid her bill and Charlene shooed her out the door. “You don’t want to be late.” Debra waved back distractedly.
The last three paragraphs from the above excerpt have lines that are spoken by Charlene, for example, but the paragraphing is done in a way that suggests that Charlene and Debra are having a conversation in those three paragraphs. Surely there is a better way to present those lines being spoken by Charlene other than in the way demonstrated above? Still, I don’t find such a thing confusing, just awkward. This is only a minor nitpick, though, and it may bother you less than it bothered me, who knows.
Carolina Wolf is such a cute and fun story. Why isn’t this author writing more often?