Ben’s a genie who’s been mated before to a woman who only wanted his power. Danica is human, and her marriage was an abusive disaster. They’ve been preselected by The Council to be a mated pair. Except being married is a status neither of them want again. Ever.
I loved that Ben offered to become Danica’s friend instead of forcing the inevitable on her. He knew it was important; her reaction to her ex showing up at her door hinted at what she’d been through so going slow was the only way to go. But it didn’t seem to matter how slow they were going to go. The attraction between them sizzled from the very beginning. It was just a matter of moving on from their pasts to a future that was just waiting for them.
There were several left field surprises in this short story that, thankfully, didn’t feel out of place or forced while I was reading. They were unexpected but helped shed light on the dim corners of a larger picture. The element of surprise in a short story isn’t easy to achieve, yet Ms. Wakely did it beautifully.
This might be the second book in the Reluctant Mates series, but I didn’t know it. I was pulled in from the beginning, and every narrative and dialogue written was used to explain what was going on. Even Ben’s description of The Council helped make this story a standalone.
I enjoyed every word of this story. I laughed at Ben’s disbelief at the beginning, quietly lamented what Danica had been through, hoped for more as they spent time together, and crossed my fingers that all would end well despite her twisted ex. The Council might want to add all-knowing to their list of talents, because they seemed to know that Ben and Danica would not only be mated, but would love and be happily mated for as long as time allowed.
Danica Weston enjoys her quiet, single life, content with being alone and making her own decisions. The horrors of the past have made her immune toward men, and her dreams of a family and a fairy tale ending disappeared a long time ago. When a man appears in her home, sent to protect her by the Council, she makes it clear they will never be anything more than friends.
Benjamin Darcy can’t believe the Council is forcing him to mate again. After the last episode, he’s through with mates, determined to live out the rest of his life alone. When he’s thrust into the petite human’s home, the sight of her melts his heart and all his plans go out the window. He offers her friendship and vows to protect her at all costs.
In order to sustain the numbers of all mythical beings, the Council, the governing body of the Mythical Realm, intervened and found prosperous matches for several of their subjects. Rather than create an act of treason punishable by death, Ben accepts his fate and embarks on his new life. Ben is unlike any man Dani has ever known, but fear from the past keeps her from taking a chance at happiness until she can no longer resist. When a mistake forces them apart, Dani must decide whether to live in the past, or embrace her strength and start living the life she always wanted.