Rating: 4 stars
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As a necromancer, Jayden Thompson sees dead people for a living. Able to raise the dead so that loved ones can say their final goodbyes or insurance agencies are able to ask questions, Jayden takes his work very seriously. As the seventh son of a seventh son, he is more powerful than anyone in his family, although the others don’t know how powerful he is. Being the youngest, Jayden is handed the minor, less interesting cases at work; within his family, he takes the brunt of his brothers’ taunting and teasing. He dresses differently, his hair is black with sapphire streaks, and he wears eyeliner. He is different from everyone else in his family, and he feels that no one really knows him.
When Noah Michaels approaches the Thompson Agency with a difficult request, he isn’t surprised when he is told it’s not possible to speak with his deceased brother for more than fifteen minutes. Although he is not expecting it when the soft voice behind him claims he will be able to help. Noah is stunned to find that the he is immediately attracted to the beautiful, younger man. The revelation from Jayden also comes as a surprise to the Thompson family. Finding himself in an awkward family situation doesn’t deter Noah from wanting to get to know Jayden or to help with his goal of helping his brother finish his final novel from beyond the grave.
From the moment Jayden spots Noah, the attraction is impossible to ignore. Discovering that Noah is his mate is beyond shocking to Jayden. None of his six older brothers had found their mates. After their first kiss, the need to be near Jayden, to take care of him, is stronger than Noah expects. Finding out that he is Jayden’s mate is surprising but not unwelcome, as Noah has already started to develop feelings for the younger man.
While working with Noah and his brother, Jayden reaches the limit of his powers and begins seeing the side effects. As time passes, Jayden’s powers begin to take a noticeable toll on him – sleeping all day, weight loss, and nightmares. And whereas Noah wants nothing more than to help Jayden, he is unsure how to protect him from something he can’t see or control.
Dealing with the Dead by Toni Griffin is the first in The Thompson Agency series, a new series by this author.
Where do start? Well, first off, I enjoyed the creativeness in of the story. It is not very often I see a likable necromancer, let alone an entire agency of them. Add in a “mate” storyline and my paranormal romance interest was piqued. This was really a sweet love story with no angst, as well as a very mild ghost story (only because of Jayden’s abilities to raise the dead) and a small mystery at the end.
Both of the main characters are quite loveable. Jayden is young and finding his way in the necromancing world. He is so different from the rest of his family in personality and ability that he finds it hard to relate to them. Noah is a shoulder to lean on for Jayden. He is strong, caring and protective of Jayden. Noah balances Jayden – the perfect yin to Jayden’s yang.
“A mate grounded you, gave you a measure of peace and it was said that they tamed the wild magic within and allowed it to flow more easily.”
I would have liked to see Noah and Jayden embody this definition of mates, as it was mentioned more than once within the story. I especially would have liked to see how Noah tamed Jayden’s wild magic because Jayden most certainly had plenty of wild magic that could have used taming. And even though the words were spoken, I never really saw how Noah grounded Jayden. Though he did bring an amount of peace and love to his mate.
I enjoyed the love story. Not exactly an insta-love story, Jayden and Noah spend a month getting to know each other before the “L” word is muttered from either character. Although, the month was mentioned in a mere sentence. I would have liked to have some insight into what happened within that month other than Noah helping finish his brother’s novel. It seems that quite a bit happened during that time, from the pair falling in love to Jayden’s powers gradually affecting him badly, but I can only guess at it since it was not described in detail in the story.
The small mystery storyline was surprising. Up until that point, the story had been about Jayden and Noah and building their relationship. Then suddenly a serial killer plot drops into the story to add a little mystery and action. It was a welcome surprise. It could have used a little build up within the story as well seeing that the backstory started in the month that was skipped over, but it added a little excitement to the sweetness of the romance.
A story where the paranormal is common knowledge amongst all, Griffin opens up a vast imaginative world with necromancers, witches, vampires, were-creatures, and many others. It is well developed and creative. I truly enjoyed visiting the world within this story.
In the end, even with a great deal of relationship building skimmed over, Dealing with the Dead is an adorable love story with a creative twist on the paranormal sub-genre. I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in paranormal romance. If you’re looking for a sweet love story without the angst, this may be the story for you. I look forward to reading more of this series in the future.