Courtesy of CK2S Kwips and Kritiques
With Paradox III we have two more tantalizing tales from writers JC Wilder and Rosemary Laurey. As with the two preceding titles in the series, each story revolves around the same element, in this case, stone.
In The Shattered Stone by Rosemary Laurey, Alys is left alone after both her parents die from the gray plague. Forced out of the only home she has ever known, Alys sets off on a westward journey to find the home of her mother's people. Along the way, Ranald ven Strad, serving the monarch by hunting down a long lost relative, comes to her aid. Little did either of them know that The Shattered Stone pendant Alys carries is the answer both of them are seeking.
The Shattered Stone is a wonderful quest story. Alys has nothing left of her life except the few hidden items of her mother's she found. All she wants is to grieve for her parents but circumstances won't allow for that. She shows strength and grit in her decision to venture out alone, against the odds. Ranald is a man on a mission who never lets personal feelings get in his way. Yet something about the innocent Alys reaches out to him and makes him want more for the first time in his life. Seeing these two find peace and happiness together makes for a passionate love story. I do think Ranald was a little bit too oblivious to who Alys really was but I guess that had to be the case to allow the story to progress to the requisite Happy-ever-after.
Halfling Li is exiled from her home and her people when she reveals she would be happier living amongst the humans than with the elves who have never treated her well. Now working at Graystone House, her job is to take care of the Evil Ones - hundreds of stone gargoyles, rumored to be cursed, that make her nervous. When she accidentally releases Nikolaz "Nik" of Riverhaven from his stone prison, Li finds out that the best things in life come After the Rain.
In After the Rain, we find a little bit of everything that makes fantast romance so popular. Here we have witches and curses, gargoyles and elves, and a love that transcends them all. Li was heartbroken over her family's betrayal yet still believes someday she'll meet the right one to love her. When she accidentally releases Nik, he does not trust Li, convinced she is the witch who cursed him and takes her captive. As their travels continue on the way back to Riverhaven, Nik and Li slowly come to trust each other, and that leads to a passion they've only dreamed about. They rain too is an important player in this story. Every single traumatic event in Li's young life has occurred during a storm so it is fitting the way the story concludes.
I've loved each book in the Paradox series and Paradox III is everything I expected. Keep in mind however, that while this book is classified as an erotica, it is not nearly as spicy as you'd think. There are only a few passionate encounters to each story. The sexual tension between the couples is what up the ante here, adding to pleasure to be found in the reading. I am still hopeful that eventually we'll see more stories in this wonderful Paradox series.
© Kelley A. Hartsell, June 2009. All rights reserved.