Single White Incubus is the first story in E.J. Russell's Supernatural Selections series. It's a spin-off from her Fae Out of Water series and is about a dating/mating agency that sets up paranormal species connections. When I read the synopsis for the story, I was immediately intrigued and I'm happy to say that it lived up to my expectations, providing a light-hearted, fun and sexy romance with lots of twists and turns to keep me well entertained.
Grizzly bear shifter Ted Farnsworth has found the perfect mate to help him with his outdoor resort plans – Rusty, a beaver shifter. He's signed all the paperwork and is anxiously awaiting the arrival of his new mate so he can started fixing up his 'fixer-upper'. But instead he discovers someone totally unsuitable on his doorstep. And somehow, just like the other things he's screwed up lately, he's signed the match contract in blood without reading the fine print.
Incubus Quentin Bertrand-Harrington worries about losing a possible partner to his deadly sex drive so he's decided to let Supernatural Selections find him a vampire mate. After all, you can't kill the undead, right? But when he’s dropped off by his driver on the porch of a remote wooded 'cabin' (to put it loosely), he gets suspicious, especially when Ted shows up. Ted is large and bearded and not remotely vampirish in appearance. When they figure out the mix-up, they find a way to break the contract but it requires a complex set of rules and quests with a very specific deadline. Once activated, they have to complete the reversal or they'll be even worse off than when they started and once the match is broken, they can never see each other again. But when they find themselves bonding despite the odds, will they be able to find a loophole that will enable them to stay together?
This was my first time reading this author and what a delightful experience! Lots of laughs, very interesting characters of assorted paranormal varieties and some excellent worldbuilding kept me reading late into the night. Ted is lonely, and has been getting into trouble for breaking the Secrecy Pact by having contact with a human reporter and luring him into the woods with fake 'bigfoot' sightings. (Really, it's just him shifting in and out of his bear form). He's hoping a mate will cure some of that loneliness and appreciate him in both his forms.
Quentin has a very specific and real fear about relationships after previously mating a human who died as his energies were drained via their sex life. Mating a supernatural could be just as deadly. But he and Ted both have strengths and qualities that complement each other, and Ted is able to withstand Quentin's sexual quirks while giving him something in return. They share some sexy scenes together even as they are trying to find all the necessary ingredients to end their match. It's clear that Quentin and Ted are quite opposite in character. Ted is big and burly but he's gentle at heart and is always trying to please. Quentin, on the other hand, is slender and average-sized, neurotic and constantly worried about the effect he's having on Ted. This is especially true as Ted's natural instincts to hibernate are curbed as a result of having Quentin around - until they discover the additive properties of their match. The closer they get to ending their agreement, the more they realize the 'mistake' might have worked out to their benefit. But there's no going back.
A handful of secondary characters including some Fae, an Achubydd (magical healer) and the local townspeople add to the enjoyment of the story. There are some fun twists and turns and just when things seem their darkest it all fixes up nicely for a happy ending. If you're looking for a bit of escape and want some laughs, some magic and a fun romance, I definitely recommend Single White Incubus. I'm looking forward to continuing the series.
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