walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

_Once Upon a Wish_, Kate Willoughby (kindle)

Another Ellora's Cave book, so available in numerous ebook formats but not in paper (I don't think, anyway). Erotic romance (manual, oral, tab p slot v, no anal whatsoever) contemporary with supernatural elements. Most romance/supernatural novels have substantial plot outside the romance, often carried through a series; this has some, but less than many other series. This is the third in a trilogy (?) about the Universal Wish Federation. A werewolf figured in an earlier entry, but the main supernatural element is fae: specifically, wish granting fairies. The gimmick is three young women go to Mexico, buy bracelets that grant a wish if you wear them until they fall off. The same fairy is in charge of all three wishes: Davina.

Livvy, the third of the trio, is a freelance graphic artist who suffers from sobriety and skepticism: she refuses even the Good Faith Wish that Davina offers, much less the full Wish. So she doesn't get her HEA. When her two friends from the previous books find out, they contact Davina and apply pressure to her to fix the situation. Davina, already in trouble for her activities in earlier books, is reluctant to do anything, but ultimately purchases contraband magic to get Livvy her Fairy Tale Ending.

Fairy Tale Ending turns out to be ambiguous, and the contraband magic has some Issues. There are golden goose eggs (that, not unexpectedly, eventually disappear), some wallboard that temporarily turns into gingerbread, hair that grows crazy long, then falls out entirely. Then one night, as Livvy is staking out her yard in hopes of finding out who or what is leaving the eggs, a glass coffin materializes. Inside is her next door neighbor. Only the decorated vet is out of his wheelchair and his legs look just fine. She kisses him, he thinks it's a dream, and antics ensue.

Once he figures out it isn't a dream, and she tells him what is going on, they explore their attraction to each other, hide out from the aide who helps him around the apartment, and plan a trip to Tahoe to go skiing. There, they discover that if Joe (the hero/neighbor) gets more than a quarter mile away from Livvy, his legs fail again. Upon returning home, a different fairy shows up, to repay Joe for a very small favor he did her in Tahoe. She makes the healing permanent and protected, and tells Davina's nemesis Gertie about what she discovered, warning Gertie that the contraband is festering.

Obviously, this is all going to get reconciled. There's a level on which it feels a little easy to have the disabled vet find love by being miraculously healed by a wish granting fairy. OTOH, _this is escapist reading_. Within that context, Willoughby does a nice job dealing with Joe's bout with depression when he was first injured, and his response to uncertainty as to whether he will get to keep using his legs, and his feelings about not being able to get more than a quarter mile from Livvy. I continue to enjoy the mild tension that comes from job-conflict (instead of the intra-Pack, lineage rivalry, and Pack vs. Vampire rivalry so typical of other supernatural fiction) at the UWF.

I particularly enjoyed Joe's attachment to a Magic: the Gathering style card game called Dark Source and made by Hex Dex (*snicker*), which Livvy does some illustrating for. The tiny backstory of Joe's older brother flushing his dice, Joe rediscovering fantasy games in the military, then recruiting Livvy to play Dark Source with him was note perfect. The description of Livvy's creative process was also really great.

It was also nice to see some additional development of the extremely flighty Davina, and some sympathetic elements brought out in Gertie.

If Willoughby keeps writing them, I'll keep reading them. Hint, hint? :-)
Tags: book review, paranormal fiction
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