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Cassie (Cassandra) and Mary Beth are good friends, the kind with benefits. But when Mary Beth asks Cassie to come along to meet her new boyfriend Terry and watch him do a little magic, Cassie scoffs. She doesn’t believe in magic. At least, not until it smacks her upside the face. Pretty soon she is caught up in another world, taken captive, and told what her future holds: nothing but trouble. Jaxon is a Stregori, trained to protect his assigned magic user. He will have his hands full keeping Cassie alive.
I’m on the fence about this book because I didn’t connect with the characters in this book. Cassie spends much of her time pouting and being a burden, lacking all self-sufficiency until near the end of the book. She squeaks in terror or surprise a lot. We start off with a cast of characters, but then it gets pared down to just Cassie and her captor/protector/trainer Jaxon. He’s the main love interest in the story and suppose to be one of the heroes. However, he’s not above a bit of sexual assault, so I had a hard time cheering for him.
This book does contain erotic scenes so lets talk about that as those are at the root of why I am on the fence about this book. I like my erotica spicy and descriptive, so no blushing here. We start off with some lovely scenes between Mary Beth and Cassie and those were a nice, sweet touch. But then we get whisked off to this other, somewhat barbaric land and the sex scenes get rougher and some of them are not consensual. Full consent is sexy, especially for dominating/submissive sex.
There are some scenes between Cassie and Jaxon in which Cassie has not given her consent at all. Later in the story, Cassie comes to enjoy and even seek out their time together and while Jaxon remains a very dominant male in most of those scenes, they are sexy and enjoyable because Cassie is fully engaged and consenting. Still, because of the earlier scenes I never liked Jaxon. He used the threat of rape more than once to encourage Cassie to do as she was told. This is not an honorable man and I wouldn’t have been sad to see him come to an end defending Cassie (or mauled to death while hunting).
We get a little world building and it was enough to intrigue me. Jaxon’s country has been plagued by a curse for some time, one that has greatly limited the number of females born. A prophecy speaks of a White Witch that will save them all. Folks run around with swords and have to watch out for male magic users and marauders. There are also vast wild lands in between cities, so beasts are an issue too. All magic users are suppose to go to some school or training facility and each sorceress, once she learns enough magic, will be claimed by a soul beast. So, plenty here to entice the reader and plenty of room for the story to grow in future installments.
The Narration: Carlie Quinn was a good fit for this tale as much of it was told from Cassie’s point of view. She also had a strong voice for Jaxon and she did a very good job with the love scenes. She went out of her way to come up with a modified voice for a beast that appears later in the story. She did have a few repeated sentences throughout the book that sometimes caught at my ear.
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