In Tara Quan’s magical world, there are elementals, who can harness the powers of things like ice and earth, and there are familiars, shape-shifting witches who ground and channel the gifts of elementals and keep them from going off the rails. Mina Mao is a familiar, and she’s also a frustrated and under-utilized support employee at Jack Frost’s (yup) law firm. Her presence has allowed Jack to keep his massive ice powers under control. Therefore, when she announces that she’s handing in her notice right when the winter solstice is causing a power spike, Jack panics.
This is a short novella, but it’s nonetheless fun and satisfying. Mina has had a crush on Jack for years, and the two are co-workers of long familiarity, which helps the story to not feel rushed. Jack grows from petulant warlock-child (which can be partly blamed on his magical overload), and Mina is, from the start, a woman likeable in her hardworking competence and the firm line she draws as the company tries to exploit her. I didn’t love the magical matchmaker Madame Eve conceit because it felt like what it was – a hook for a series, rather than something natural or necessary to this individual tale.
Tara Quan typically writes spicy/erotic reads, and boy, is she strong in that area. There’s one explicit dream and one sex scene, hot for all that it involves Jack’s ice power. I always appreciate it when paranormal authors don’t leave their characters’ gifts at the bedroom door, because if accepting and controlling that part of yourself is part of a character’s growth arc, it needs to be in all aspects of their lives. Jack’s apartment, furnished entirely with ice, is certainly a unique place for a sex scene!
Although the current list price of $2.99 is pretty steep for just 67 pages, I got this when it was on an Amazon sale for 99 cents, and it was totally worth it. Next time you see this go on sale, snap it up for an icy-hot read.