Same time, same place, but two different characters. Turns out the change of characters makes all the difference in the world, at least when it comes to my enjoyment. This final installment in the May Day Mischief duet was one I was looking forward to, mostly because the romantic couple intrigued in the first story, the one that was not their own. Sadly, spending more time with them soured me on their whole affair.
Lucasta Barnes is currently fake-engaged to a childhood friend because she wants to avoid David, Earl of Elderwood at all costs. They had an explosive tryst that resulted in some naughty shenanigans. He proposed (repeatedly), and she freaked out. It would never work between them. He believes in magic (yep, the hero) and she thinks it’s all hog-wash, superstitious nonsense – a belief aided by the reality that her mother was a nut job who got herself killed because she believed in fairies. Now David has arrived at her uncle’s home determined to win her hand once and for all. All she has to do is not succumb to his charms. Which is hard to do since she’s one of those heroines with a traitorous body. Sigh.
This story starts off strong. Lucasta and David have a combative relationship, which means a lot of verbal sparring. However, it all starts to slide the more I get to know David. Heroines who practice Magical Thinking are bad enough, but it’s somehow worse when it’s the hero. David has fairy blood in him (naturally, because who doesn’t?), and is convinced that he and Lucasta must be together because it’s “magic.” This is essentially a round-about way of cramming a “soul mates” or “fated to be mated” theme into a story.
For the record, I abhor the theme of “soul mates” with the heat of a thousand burning suns. It strips the characters of free will, which drives me bonkers. So yeah, calling it magic and trying to tie it up in a pretty-fairy-blood-package doesn’t change anything. It still sucks.
Lucasta resists, David pursues, and in the end they fall blissfully into each other arms. But yeah, what about that fake engagement? Here’s the thing, Lucasta is supposedly “engaged” to Alexis (the hero in The Magic Of His Touch). Alexis is now madly in love with her cousin, Peony. Lucasta and David are now riding off into the sunset. The problem? No fall-out! Lucasta and Alexis haven’t broken that fake engagement to anyone other than each other and their twu wuvs. It’s a pretty big thread just left dangling and had me audibly saying, “But, but, but…..” at the end of the last sentence.
I enjoyed the first story for the fluffy bit of fun that it was, but instead of wrapping up the duet in a satisfying conclusion, this second story is a major letdown for me. Bother.
Lucasta Barnes knows the folly believing in magic can lead to–and she won’t accept that her illicit tryst with a notorious rake was the result of anything more than pure lust. Or that it has bonded them together forever. Yet, she can’t deny that she yearns for just one more night in his arms…
David, Earl of Elderwood, is used to women being enchanted by him, but ever since a passionate encounter with Lucasta three years ago, he desires only her. How can he convince his thoroughly practical paramour that love is the greatest magic of all?
Other books in this series: