Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Perfect 10:

DRAGON WARRIOR - Janet Chapman
A Perfect 10
Midnight Bay Series, Book 2
Pocket Star
ISBN: 978-1-4391-5989-0
February 2011
Paranormal Romance

Midnight Bay, Maine - Present Day

Maddy Kimble has a busy life in Midnight Bay with her nine-year-old daughter Sarah, her teenage brother Rick, almost in college, her mother, and working as a nurse at River Run Nursing Home. Her best friend, Eve Gregor, just married Kenzie, and it is through him that strange things started happening in town. Kenzie is really a century’s old panther who has settled down in Midnight Bay, and since then, other strange people, or things, have found their way to him and are earning a second chance at a normal life. For example, William Kilkenny has traveled through time to find Kenzie for help in lifting a curse. William was once a ninth-century Irish nobleman whom a vindictive witch turned into a dragon twelve hundred years ago. Eve is encouraging Maddy to give William a chance, but his actions are weird, plus he doesn’t have a driver’s license or even know how to drive! Then he told her that her shorts were too short and kissed her senseless after walking out of the library…naked! A dragon (surely this can’t be true) entered the library, a white flash happened, and then William walked out of the library naked and kissed Maddy in front of the whole town. Maddy doesn’t know what to make of William. He hangs outside her house at night, but she feels his strong personality would need a lot of taming. The only thing is William has large hands and the sexiest forearm she’s ever seen. A white shirt folded up his arm turns Maddy into a lust crazed woman she almost doesn’t recognize.

William has traveled through time and is starting to get used to modern times. But Maddy attracts him beyond all bearing. The only problem is he is sure the centuries he lived as a dragon have taken his heart and hardened it beyond letting love soften it. He will do anything to protect Maddy, but he really doesn’t think he deserves or is able to love again. But that doesn’t stop William from making friends of the people at the nursing home, and planning to build a house by Dragon Bay. Then big animals like wolves follow Maddy and him, and William must try to protect her and find out who is behind them. Add in Trace, Maddy’s cousin, and his sighting of a mermaid in the bay, and Rick, Maddy’s brother, whose temper is about to get the best of him, and we have a combination of people that hold our interest all the way through. The women at the nursing home love William, and the men love the feeling of importance he gives them when he asks their opinions on where to build his house.

Janet Chapman’s DRAGON WARRIOR is head and shoulders above any shape shifting or paranormal romance I have ever read. While several of the characters are shape shifters, this is merely one element of the story. Instead, the center of the story is the different men coming into town and how they epitomize the warrior, willing to protect their loved ones and able to appreciate the women in their lives. Kenzie and William take no prisoners when it comes to making their women theirs, and then there’s Maddy’s cousin Trace, just back from Afghanistan, who resigned from the service and bought a fishing boat, and now sees a mermaid in the water. The citizens of the nursing home are all special, unique and distinctive. These men and women lived and worked in Midnight Bay, and as William says, they have many years of wisdom behind them.

Secondary characters are Trace, Maddy’s cousin; Eve, her best friend and her husband Kenzie (a panther); Rick, Maddy’s brother, and all the residents of the nursing home: Elbridge, Charlotte, Hiram, and Lois. William’s charm has them eating out of his hands as he takes them on day trips, gives the women motorcycle rides, and generally treats them with the respect the elderly so often lose. And if that isn’t enough, the wizard, Maximilian Oceanus, appears. Able to change his outward appearance, Maximilian had plagued William for centuries, dangling the prospect of vengeance under William’s nose. Will Maximilian make a play for Maddy, and will she fall for his smooth line? And who is that mermaid anyway, is she related to Maximilian?

DRAGON WARRIOR is a spectacular and brilliant novel for those who love the juxtaposition of the paranormal and the real world. The emotional ending had me staying up way too late and brought tears at one particular scene at the end of the book. A Perfect 10 is a fitting rating for DRAGON WARRIOR, a novel which is both tender and joyful, but also has beasts looking for peace and a new way of life after centuries of struggle. MYSTIC WARRIOR, the third book in the Midnight Bay Series is scheduled for release in June, and rejoining this town of eccentric people will be a pleasure. Grab DRAGON WARRIOR soon and join me in entering their marvelous community.

Carolyn Crisher

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