Like many of her fans, I’m so happy to have a new story from C.L. Wilson. This is her first since the end of her spectacular Fading Lands saga, and thought it’s a novella, it will keep so many readers’ anticipation high for her next full-length book that comes out next year. In addition, at least for me, I also get to try two new-to-me authors’ stories in this paranormal holiday-themed anthology.
Upon a Midnight by C.L. Wilson
Kat had a wonderful life until the death of her parents, when she then lived with her grandparents, and they turned out to be monsters. She’s lived in fear ever since breaking free, not allowing anyone to touch her, but living the best life she can. She works helping abused women and children and is known as the “child whisperer” due to the effect she has on young ones when in her care. Lately a handsome, golden-haired man has been following Kat, and it’s not until she’s attacked on her way home one night when she finds out exactly who he is.
Guarding and protecting Kat is Micah’s only responsibility. As her guardian angel, he’s had to stand by and do nothing at certain times in her life, but now his guidance is needed to help Kat in her role as a Lightkeeper to close a breech in the Seal, thereby prohibiting more Darkseekers entering the human population. Kat’s hesitation and fear keep her behind closed doors, but with Micah in her life, showering her with understanding and love, she’s coming to realize how important her role, which she inherited from her father, truly is.
I love how these two characters, who come from so very different worlds and experiences, teach each other all they need and desire to conquer not only evil but all their doubts. Kat desperately needs someone to love her, to show her her value to others but more importantly to herself. While Micah has been created just for Kat, he has rules to follow, but once he gets a taste of her, the feel of her, he’s ready to break every rule in the book to be with her. But keeping the world safe is their first priority, and teaching Kat to “sing” is their goal.
C.L. Wilson’s imagination is right up there with the best in the business. This uplifting story is streaked with darkness, written in her beautifully lyrical voice, and is very different from her Fading Lands series, showing her versatility. It’s the perfect holiday story.
An angel helps a troubled woman heal the wounds of her past so her soul can relearn how to sing.
Read an excerpt.
Let It Snow by Erica Ridley
When I first began reading this novella, I felt it wasn’t going to work for me. We’re never given a specific date and time in which it takes place, though it’s modern to a point with cell phones and the like, but there’s also swords and pirate ships. Then the initial scenes with the hero and his best friend are a bit too cartoonish, too over the top. However, once Lance sets out on his treasure adventure to pay off the bounty on his head, the story smooths out and is quite nicely done.
When he surprises himself and makes it inside the legendary castle where a treasure is supposedly housed, Lance discovers no way out, along with Marigold, a beautiful princess who has been trapped inside for hundreds of years. Once he finds out what has happened to Marigold, Lance does everything he can to break the curse holding them there, but all to no avail. So they begin to get to know one another, their wishes and dreams, even though they know none will come to fruition.
But it’s that sharing that brings home certain realizations, which also changes the way the curse has always worked. Should they get their hopes up again of perhaps leaving the castle? Is there a future to look forward to? I enjoyed this last three-quarters of the novella a lot, plenty of imaginative workings I’ve not read before. This is the first time I’ve read Erica Ridley, and I’m going to be cruising by her site to see what else she has to offer.
A treasure hunter breaches an enchanted castle only to become trapped inside with a cursed princess and a suspicious tree.
Read an excerpt.
Snowman by Elissa Wilds
Elissa Wilds rounds out this trilogy with her sci-fi/fantasy story that I enjoyed quite a bit.
Mona prefers to be by herself because the auras of those around her inundate to the point of exhausted immobility. She’s trying, however, to further her singing career, but currently taking a Christmas break in the family cabin after spending part of the holiday with her brother and his family. Now left with only her Golden Retriever for company, Mona’s peaceful idyll is blown to pieces by two brutal men.
Finally escaping his pursuers and leaving his downed craft behind, Roan recuperates as best he can in an empty cabin. Knowing he has to keep moving, he hears the most amazing singing in the distance, a voice that would be revered in his world. Realizing the woman’s singing would also be heard by the two soldiers who are after him, Roan alters course to rescue her before it’s too late.
That leaves Mona and Roan together, waiting out a storm before he’ll be able to locate the soldiers’ spacecraft to head home. They begin to learn all about one another, Mona both amazed at his story and blissfully peaceful with Roan’s aura. He assures her, though a relationship between them is forbidden, she would never suffer in his world as she does in her own due to her gift. But can Mona leave everything behind for the unknown? Roan promises to keep her safe if she throws caution to the wind and goes home with him.
I really like these two characters. They face battles of their own the best they can, know they would be twice as good together, despite any roadblocks they may come across in the future. My only reservation is Roan’s promise, while made faithfully, is crossing the line of his home world, so his sureness that all will be well, at least as well as he can make it, is made and accepted to bit too quickly by both of them. But I guess that’s what romance and finding love in all the unexpected places is all about. Go with it, fight what comes, and be happy and in love in the meantime. I can live with that.
A tale of love that bridges two very different worlds, when a snowy stranger appears at an isolated mountain cabin seeking much more than a shelter from the storm.
Read an excerpt.
Three heart-warming and romantic Christmas stories for the season. If you haven’t read it yet, do so soon. It’s a nice way to lose yourself after all the craziness of the holiday season.
Overall Grade: B