Playing With Fire by R.J. Blain
Series: A Magical Romantic Comedy #1
Published by Pen & Page Publishing
Published on: January 30, 2017
Genres: Paranormal Romance
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What do you get when you mix gorgons, an incubus, and the Calamity Queen? Trouble, and lots of it.
For Bailey, catering to the magical is a tough gig on a good day, but when her sexiest enemy's ex-wife angles for revenge, she's tossed into the deep end with him, like it or not.
Warning: This novel contains excessive humor, action, excitement, adventure, magic, romance, and bodies. Proceed with caution.
Calamity Queen? When that’s the nickname of the main character of this close to being charming first book in this series, I know I am probably in for a wild ride. And I was right. If romantic comedies are your thing, especially paranormal ones, than you will love this book.
Bailey is a barista at a coffee shop that’s run by a fairy. Not your ordinary coffee shop, coffee here comes either normal, or laced with pixie dust of all grades and prices. Pixie dust causes mood enhancement, the higher the grade, the better the high received. Bailey isn’t just a barista, she’s also certified by the CDC to handle most magical substances as she is immune to them. Her nemesis, Samuel Quinn, police chief and most eligible bachelor in Manhattan, comes for coffee often. Bailey is not immune to his charms-he’s handsome as one of the a gods(which are real as well). But, Bailey once did a favor for Quinn, and caught his wife-now ex-wife-in a compromising position and now Bailey thinks he hates her. That couldn’t be further than the truth. When some horrible things start happening around Bailey, Quinn has to work with Bailey to figure things out. Easier said than done because bad luck seems to follow Bailey around.
The world building is entertaining in this one. It’s New York City, but not any NYC that we know about. In this world, all sorts of supernatural creatures are real and live openly alongside humans. Some are rare(thankfully),others constantly causing problems(gorgons, incubi, succubi), while others are just part of the rest of the New Yorkers, just living their lives. Bailey has to deal with any abnormal substances that get spilled-for example gorgon bile, or worse, gorgon dust. Most of the substances would kill any other creature, but Bailey can handle it. She also has to, at times, become another creature. A very mythical creature(not elaborating), but unlike any we’ve ever heard about. Some of the funniest moments take place when Bailey isn’t herself. At the same time, I think a little less time spent as the other creature might have made for a slightly better story-especially the first time it happens.
Characters? Bailey was flat out fun. She has horrible self esteem problems and really shouldn’t, but when you are brought up by the world’s worse parents, that happens. She’s brave as the day is long and heroic. Outshining all of that is her snark. Smart mouthed with very little filter, she will either make you laugh or cringe. At times, I was a bit worn out by her, and everything that happens to her, but never stopped liking her character. Quinn was a surprise. Of course, he’s the quintessential good guy, too handsome for words, but he is also single minded when it comes to Quinn’s safety, and when it comes to his feelings for her. He’s also got his own secrets. Bailey’s other creature was a completely different character and she was pretty single minded too at times. Highly protective of Quinn and ultimately of NYC, this creature was an ingenious addition to this story. Other police officers became part of the story as well and were an added bonus to this book.
Action? Almost non-stop at times. I could see this as a mad cap movie of old and it would be a fun time for both young and old. However, this is an adult read. Not only do we see incubi and succubi causing sexual problems(orgies), gorgon princes have their adult fun as well. Bailey manages to get involved in all of that-not as a participant, but more as the one that has to clean up the mess. There is way more than just this kind of action, but I would rather leave it at that.
I enjoyed this book and there is a sequel(Hoofin’It) already out. It is about different characters, but takes place in the same world. I do plan to read it soon.
Highly recommended to adults(some steam)that love a comedy/drama with lots of paranormal elements and laugh out loud moments.