by Lauren Connolly
Series: Folk Haven #2
Also in this series: Seduced by a Selkie
Publisher: Lauren Connolly
Publication Date: December 8, 2021
Source: the author
I received an advance review copy of this book from the author. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
He doesn’t believe in fate. She’s fine with single life. The gods have other plans.
Seamus MacNamara may be a mythical creature, but that doesn’t mean he has to believe all those legends about selkies finding their fated mates. Specifically, that his mate will rescue him. Complete nonsense. If he is going to ask a woman out, he’ll do it because he likes her personality, not because she saves his life. Problem is, the barista Seamus has tried his hardest to flirt with ends up giving him the Heimlich when a cookie goes down the wrong pipe.
What would a siren want with a selkie, anyway?
Neri Onassis may have thought Seamus was cute at first, but when he freaks out after her acting the badass hero, her tiny crush evaporates. Good thing, because she needs to put all her brain power toward figuring out her new life in Folk Haven, the mythic-filled town next to Lake Galen. After an awkward break up with both a man and her parents, Neri left her old life behind, determined to figure out what kind of person, and siren, she wants to be. An ungrateful selkie is only a distraction.
But when the two continue to cross paths, a spark of attraction refuses to extinguish. Is it the Gods? Is it chemistry? Does it matter?
I’ve very much enjoyed all the entries in the Folk Haven series so far. It’s pretty low-key paranormal romance, with just the right levels of steam, angst and secondary plots.
Neri thinks that Seamus may have been flirting with her while ordering coffee every day, and maybe she did a little flirting back, but when she saves him from choking on a cookie, all of a sudden he starts freaking out about “fated mates,” whatever that is. Sure, she may not know much about mythics – even her own heritage – but the last thing she wants right now is someone else trying to tell her what to do. Newly arrived to town, she’s still trying to figure out life so a relationship is definitely not in the cards, even if she can’t stop thinking about the weird guy. Seamus can’t stop thinking about her either, even though he has zero interest in a fated match. Their chemistry doesn’t seem to care whether the gods or involved or not, so should they?
“She always told me I should pretend to be normal.”
“That’s not normal.” Moira scowls. “That’s ordinary. You being who you are is normal. Everyone has a different version, so no one is wrong.”
I liked Neri immediately. Raised by her siren mother and human father, her parents have encouraged her to fit seamlessly into the human world. After going along with all her parents’ choices for most of her life, the final straw is when they start planning her wedding with her human boyfriend – without asking her input. She accepts her cousin Sonya’s invitation to come stay with her in Folk Haven and maybe start learning something about her siren heritage. It’s been twenty-five years since she used her siren powers, as her mother told her that since a siren didn’t need to use her wings or song, it would be selfish to not try to fit in with humans. She has barely any knowledge of her own heritage and even less about other mythics. But that doesn’t stop her from moving to Folk Haven, and trying to learn more, even if she’s initially intimidated by the other sirens. I was impressed by Neri’s braveness and her unwillingness to compromise or change herself to fit others ever again.
“You came here to apologize. And the second I let you off the hook, you think it’s a good idea to insult my book. Does that sound about right?”
In contrast, it took a bit for Seamus to grow on me. He’s a professor at the local university and definitely fits all those stereotypes to a tee, including a tendency to be a bit of a wet blanket. He especially couldn’t seem to stop putting his foot in his mouth around Neri! But Seamus has his own reasons for being wary of anything that looks like a fated match, and he’s genuinely apologetic every time he realizes he messed up, but what really sold me on him? The fact that he invites Neri over to read in his ginormous library any time she wants, which frankly sounds like a good basis for a relationship to me! Once they decide to give each other a chance, they realize that despite getting off on the wrong foot, they have a lot in common. They both want to be in control of their own lives, whether that’s choosing their own romantic partners or exploring their mythic heritage. They’re sweet (and very hot) together, though Neri still has reservations about how Seamus will react if their burgeoning relationship runs into any sort of problems.
“Money is power, and power is freedom. No siren will ever let another be chained again.”
I loved the cameos from previous couples and the rest of Seamus’s family. I also loved Sonya, Neri’s cousin, and the rest of the sirens. Under the guise of Neri’s general lack of knowledge about her heritage, we get a lot more backstory about Folk Haven. It used to be the home of The Collector, an evil sorcerer, who trapped various mythics to steal their power. Galen, a siren, finally succeeded in freeing herself and the others, and the Collector’s former home was flooded to clear the area of its toxic magic, forming Lake Galen. The Gauntlet, a sort of obstacle course set up by the sirens and witches every two years to honor Galen. Areas around the lake were granted to each group of mythics, with bylaws set up to keep each group (“of the Fin”, “of the Air”, etc) in their own section, which the northern side reserved for “monsters,” the children from the unions of two different mythic species. That’s just one of the problems facing a relationship between a selkie and a siren, but while there are some traditionalists, there’s also a group of folks, like Moira, who think the rules are outdated and wrong. Which is a nice segue into the next book, which will star Moira and her love interest, a (gasp) monster!
“You just awkwardly stumbled your way into trouble, and I dived in to help because I was a decent person and I couldn’t let such a sexy professor die on my watch.”
Overall, while this isn’t my favorite of the series, I loved Neri and I liked learning more about Folk Haven and the mythics who live there (plus the quick nod to Beverly Jenkins!). I can’t wait to read Moira’s book!