I never read paranormal romances.
Ok, fine. And I’m not in the Andrews fan club, either.
I’ve only read this book one.
Oooh, big fat lie.
Well, that was unexpected.
Despite being a charter member of the Kate Daniels fan club, I’ve been hit and miss on the Andrews’ other offerings. When I read a chapter preview with leads Mad Rogan and Nevada in a kidnapping scene, I was out, and never gave the series another glance. But desperate times call for desperate measures. On a PNR stretch, I needed a palate cleanser after binging Singh’s Psy-Changling series. Among my most compatible friends, this was four stars (view spoiler) so I what else was I to do? Read literary fiction?
One of the biggest surprises is the balance between action and relationship; I’d only call it a PNR by the loosest of definitions. Nevada, the lead character, is a PI running an agency with the aid of her family: ex-sniper mom, mechanic grandma, two younger sisters and two younger male cousins. The agency that owns her firm has forced her into taking a ‘find and return’ case of a missing son on a pyromania spree, and absolutely no one thinks it is a good idea. As she’s tracking down the pyro, she runs into Mad Rogan, ex-military mage. Rogan runs his life like he’s in active combat, so it doesn’t go well–see kidnapping scene–when they first meet.
Honestly, teaser chapters should probably be tossed out, because it was very misleading. It was the initial encounter where two people get the measure of each other, and Nevada walks away with a healthy perspective of the situation. Before they even met, however, Nevada gets historical insight into young Rogan, and it colors her impressions. Events conspire to continue to throw the two together, and much to my surprise, it was done well enough to permit growth of a kind of uneasy friendship. You know the kind–the one where you might have inappropriate thoughts, but you keep them on lock-down, even if the object of your thoughts flirts. It’s really beautifully done, the way they end up having reasons to re-evaluate each other every encounter, but without Andrews spelling it out for the reader. Nevada is definitely an empowered person that owns her skills and her feelings.
There’s a strong supporting cast, and Nevada is particularly interesting in the PNR world because of her over-involved family. I especially appreciated the multi-generational family. Grandma is a lot of fun, and well, let’s just say she’s twin to Stephanie Plum’s Grandma Mzur. Perhaps a little too carbon, but maybe there are all sorts of grandmas out there like that–I don’t know, mine definitely weren’t. Humor threads nicely through the story as well. There’s a number of one-liners that are well-integrated into the story without making it seem like all the leads are doing is trading quips.
For those who really want the romance, there’s a different spin on the sexy times in this book, but it’s not traditional consummation. Ymmv. I went straight on to the next.