Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Magic and Mayhem, #4 (Previously published in Wicked Liaisons Anthology)
Release Date: March 16, 2021
When Wesley Claxton, Marquess of Epworth first met Miss Miranda Vail, he assumed she was a silly girl because she believed in ghosts, but in time he realized that he was wrong about her and the two formed a strong friendship, but Wesley longs for a deeper connection and has spent the last three years trying to court her without actually declaring his intentions. Finally, an opportunity to test the waters arrives when they both attend a wedding at Castle Keyvnor. He finds Miranda alone by a wishing well and when she makes her wish, she stumbles – he saves her and initiates a kiss. He is sure she returns his feelings and makes her promise to meet him later at the ball and asks her to save a waltz for him. But when she doesn’t show and her family makes lame excuses as to why, he assumes she was turned off by his kiss and decides they aren’t meant to be, so despite breaking his heart, he vows to stay away from her.
Three months later, Miranda still can’t understand why she hasn’t heard from Wesley. They shared a passionate kiss and she thought he might return her feelings – she was disappointed that her wish to meet a ghost at Keyvnor turned ugly and the ghost forced her to leave the castle grounds immediately under the threat of death. She knows Wesley doesn’t believe in ghosts, but the entity she encountered was pure evil and she knew if she didn’t leave, the ghost would kill her. Still, she hoped that he would call on her and give her a chance to explain, but he doesn’t and she believes that she was mistaken about his intentions. She vows she will forget him and tries to concentrate on her sister’s upcoming wedding.
Wesley still hasn’t gotten over Miranda but refuses to attend her sister’s wedding, that is until his father says he can’t go and his grandmother insists he goes in his father’s stead. He both dreads and longs to see Miranda again – but their reunion is marred by a shipwreck and the threat of revenge between their villages and his refusal to believe Miranda’s reason for not attending the ball. It appears that HEA is not in the cards for these two, despite being in love. But thanks to interfering relatives – both dead and alive, these two may get their HEA after all.
This was a well-written, nicely-paced story with a large helping of the supernatural. The book has ghosts, both benign and evil, witches, sea gods that need appeasing, heartache, a lot of miscommunication, erroneous assumptions, kissing, and a HEA with an epilogue that is both sad and sweet. Personally, I felt the lack of communication between Wesley and Miranda dragged on a little too long and got to be a bit tiresome, but it all works out in the end and overall I felt the story was very good, interesting, and a little bit spooky. This is the fourth book in the series and has ties to the Castle Keyvnor anthologies (it was also previously released in the Wicked Liaison Anthology) – but it can easily be read as a standalone title without issue.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.*