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Payne has always had trouble fitting in, and being abandoned by his parents has left him reluctant to trust anyone. He knows he’s different, but he has no idea how different until his grandfather invites him to Blackwater Falls—a beautiful estate he’s offered as his inheritance. Payne thinks it’s too good to be true, and it turns out he’s right.
Walking the wooded trails of the estate begins to awaken something in Payne. As he discovers his Fae nature, he learns his family’s legacy: to serve as caretakers to a preserve for Sidhe, Fae, and other magical creatures. Word of the return of the long-lost Fae prince reaches the preserve’s inhabitants, and Payne must navigate a world of political intrigue he can’t begin to understand as various factions seek to entice him to their Courts.
Dragon Aden Canicus offers to tutor Payne, and the tension between them is instant and growing. But prickly and aloof Aden keeps Payne at arm’s length. Unable to trust their connection when his family is threatened, Payne seeks other allies. Their direction leads him down a dangerous path where a dragon’s affection is the least of his concerns and may even end his life.
Payne was “abandoned” by his dad at birth (later he meets him again at 17) and his mom at 8. When his dad returns to tell him his grandfather is dying, Payne reluctantly agrees to go to him. His grandfather lives in a magical place, a place where Pixies, Fae, Dragons and all other sorts of creatures live because Payne himself is half-Fae and about to be “awakened” or made a full Fae.
In fact, Payne is really Payneful, a Fae Prince-to-be. But, Payne has no knowledge of this world of magic and must learn before he can take his proper role. Aden, the Dragon-shifter is to be Payne’s tutor. He and Payne have a mysterious history, a link that is somehow other worldly, but secret… for now. But that doesn’t stop the immediate attraction between the two. Aden, however, is determined that Payne learn and grow-up and achieve his awakening before acting on any attraction they may feel.
During Payne’s education there are several road blocks, temptations and an important mission to be accomplished, all while trying to seduce Aden into consummating the lust between them. Finally, there is a daring rescue, followed by a near death experience and an epic save leading to a HEA with a lead in to what I hope is a sequel.
I was both a bit compelled and daunted by this book at first. I was leery of the Fae (not my favorite subject matter) but excited by the Dragon shifter and the “meant to be” story line. I just love fated mates and that feeling of overwhelming passion for another. What I got was an amazingly well developed world with loads of compelling and fully described creatures AND a tale of fated mates (sort of).
Payne is a pain (in the ass!). He is childish, churlish, impatient, impractical and impetuous. Aden, bless his soul, is the epitome of patience and perseverance. I loved the dynamic between them. It was hot and sexy but you could see beneath it to the deep and abiding love that supported it.
I loved the magic in this story: the singing, the chanting, the spells, the dancing. I loved how the creatures were gray: neither all good nor all bad. Each had their own set of rules and foibles and it was as interesting as it was messy.
I loved the love between Aden and Payne. It was sweet, sexy, deep and enduring. (When they do come together it is HOT! I love Aden’s tongue! 😉 )
The epic battle (final hurdle) was appropriately tense and yet (of course) had a wonderful happy ending.
I have to give this a rating of 4.5 instead of 5 or more for a few reasons. 1) I really wanted to see what happened after Payne’s awakening and the story stops there – now if we get a sequel I will be ever so pleased but I’m not sure if that is in the works or not 2) I really wanted more of Aden and Payne after they became a couple. We spent so, so much time with them fighting the attraction and only a small amount with them together. Again, a sequel will help this out, as well.
Overall I was very impressed by this new (to me) author and very much enjoyed this book. I highly recommend it.
(Also – Loved the cover!)