Desert Isle Keeper
Is there anything like the delight of an unexpected DIK read? I think not. I picked this book up not sure what I was getting and am delighted to report that it kept a smile on my face the whole way through.
Not everything in the small Texas suburb of Red Deer, Texas is as it seems. Take for example, Dina Demille, the owner of the adorable Bed and Breakfast called the Gertude Hunt. She’s the perfect neighbor, knowing the names of the families around her and even the names of their dogs. She’s the perfect hostess, the kind of inn keep who runs to the local convenience store when her guests develop a craving for something she doesn’t have in stock. But under all that surface sweetness are a few little oddities. Dina’s inn is actually lodging for intergalactic travelers. Her permanent guest is a mass murderer of millions who can never leave the grounds because the inn serves as sanctuary. Her broom not only sweeps floors but can change into a variety of deadly weapons as needed. And her inn – and herself- contain powerful magic.
It is an ordinary morning when Dina’s life is turned upside down. While making an AM run for Funyons and Mello Yello she finds her neighbors gathered around Brutus. Brutus had definitely been murdered, the third dog to have been killed recently in the area. While the locals seem to think it’s a mountain lion Dina knows better. Whatever is killing is clearly otherworldly. Her first choice for fixing the problem is the stunningly attractive, ex-soldier, new to the neighborhood Sean Evans. After all, Sean is a werewolf and should be all about protecting his territory. But when she talks to Sean about protecting his turf he assures her that she’s crazy, calls her inn a monstrosity and stalks away. Resolved to protect the locals Dina determines to risk her neutrality and deal with the problem herself.
This turns out to be quite the challenge as she finds herself facing something she’s never seen before while dealing with an annoying alpha strain werewolf and having the handsomest vampire she has ever met stop in to her B&B to deal with a blood debt. With her guests misbehaving and her inn becoming a target for a group of deadly beings, Dina finds that caring for the people around her just might cost her everything.
I read this book in a single, joy-filled sitting. And now I am torn between telling you every fantastic detail and letting you, like me, discover the treasure that each new page is. No, seriously, it’s that good. The authors do an amazing job of creating incredible characters, an astonishingly detailed and delicious world and providing us with an extraordinarily good adventure story. It’s rare that everything comes so perfectly together as it did in this story.
The central focus of the book is Dina and her amazing inn. Dina has all the traits you would want in an innkeeper – kind, attentive, willing to put herself out to meet your needs. Which is what makes it so amazing to discover that Dina is also a take-no-prisoners, no-holds-barred warrior. She uses whatever she has at hand to defend the defenseless and does a great job doing it. And she is exactly the kind of heroine I love – practical, resourceful, warm hearted and keenly intelligent. She has a libido but it doesn’t rule her and she uses more than just a pretty face to decide if she likes a man. She’s no doormat but she’s no braggart either; she has a great handle on her skill set and how to use that to get the job done.
At the start of the book Dina tells us, “For me hotness was a complicated matter involving brains, humor and some other things but all that aside I was willing to admit Sean Evans was nice to look at.” The great news is that Sean has lots of “other things”. For those that love alpha swagger Sean has it in spades but he also has the ability to learn and respect those around him. When he first meets Dina he treats her like a slightly dim, fragile flower. Dina puts him in his place and he comes back to her with admiration and interest. He doesn’t lose that alpha audacity but once he chooses to respect you he tempers it so that both of you can make decisions for the pack. He adds loyalty, wit, persistence and sexiness to make a tremendously pleasing hero.
Which is why it is so incredible that the authors were able to create competition for him in the character of Armand the vampire. Armand is gorgeous, with warrior instincts and intelligence. But where Sean is all blue collar action and adventure with a beer on the porch at the end of the day, Armand is formal and mannerly, the kind who thinks wine, roses and chocolates along with dinners on linen tablecloths and china are part of what any woman of his deserves every day. It would have been easy for him to be staid and stuffy but he comes across as being both courteous and lethal, a truly swoon worthy combination.
The rather straightforward mystery has enough complexity to be intriguing without overwhelming the tale and the world building is done with a deft, subtle elegance that showcases the skill of the writers. I loved the gentle touches of humor in this tale which counter balanced nicely with all the action and edge of your seat moments.
I absolutely recommend this story. If you are a fan of paranormals this will be right up your alley. If you aren’t a fan the short length, excellent characterization and deft writing just might make you one.