Rowan Harbor has been through quite a lot in the last six months, ever since Devon arrived to take his grandmother’s place on the town council. For all that it’s finally spring, the chill of winter — and the loss of Madame Cormier, a powerful witch — still weighs heavily on everyone’s spirits. The town picnic was supposed to be a time of healing and a celebration of spring, a way for the people of Rowan Harbor to show the world that they were still here, and to come together as friends and family. Much to Devon’s surprise and short-lived joy, his grandmother, having just returned from her honeymoon, has come back to Rowan Harbor.
Gran, unfortunately, isn’t so happy with Devon. He’s let things fall apart, he’s in part responsible for the death of her oldest friend, and he’s taken her place on the town council. In all the time she lived in Rowan Harbor, there were no vampires, paranormal hunters, undead murderers, or attacks on the town. Devon feels as though he’s let her down, her words serving to reinforce his own insecurities and self-doubts. What if she wants her place on the council back? What if she asks him to leave?
Wade, his boyfriend and other half, does his best to reassure Devon that everything will be alright. While reflecting, once again, on how lucky he is to have Wade by his side, Devon comes up with a wonderful idea! Why don’t they get married? It’ll be good for the town, lift up morale, and spring is a wonderful time for weddings, isn’t it? Devon is surprised and hurt when Wade declines the offer to marry Devon to make the town feel better and walks out of their apartment. Before he can apologize or figure out what it was he did wrong, Devon’s mother arrives with her latest boy toy in tow.
Bad luck can’t let Devon go just yet, though. Gran’s house is set on fire and Devon realizes that his mother — also half-fae, like Devon himself — is responsible for whoever is attacking Rowan Harbor. Her charm magic is almost as strong as Devon’s, but untrained. By using so much magic on Burt, she made him vulnerable to an outside force. The Burt who came to hurt Rowan Harbor wasn’t the kind man Devon knew as a stepfather. The Burt he knew is dead and his body is being used by this rogue force that wants nothing more than to destroy Rowan Harbor. While bad news keeps coming, each disaster brings them that much closer to finding out who is behind the evil deeds.
This book is the eighth book in The Rowan Harbor Cycle series and you will be completely lost if you try to read it without reading the others, first. The story of Rowan Harbor is told through three points of view: Devon, the half-fae; Jesse the werewolf (Devon’s best friend); and Fletcher, the shapeshifter. Each man brings a different voice, a different strength, and a different emotion to the interwoven story of this magical small town.
When Gran left for her honeymoon, Devon was given her seat on the town council and has been serving as the leader of Rowan Harbor. He isn’t the only one, either, as many in town have taken this as a sign to hand over their own responsibilities to the younger generation. Devon still feels insecure and uncertain about his position. He barely knows what he’s doing, and half the time it seems as if everything he tries goes sideways, but he cares for the people in his town and, with their support, has managed to defend Rowan Harbor time and time again against a variety of attacks.
Devon’s mother moved from man to man, husband to husband, while Devon was young. The only stable figure in his life was his grandmother, whose love was unwavering. When she returns he’s, of course, delighted to see her, but when she lashes out at him with anger and pain at the death of her friend and the attacks on her town, Devon is taken aback. He wants to make her happy, he wants to make her proud and to have her love him again, and rather than calm down and think about the problem, he leaps to the first solution he can think of … a solution that uses Wade, his lover, as a good luck charm and trophy to wave about. Something that will make other people happy, without thinking about how it will affect Wade.
Wade has given — and continues to give — everything to his town. At the moment, he’s only the deputy sheriff, but everyone knows he’ll take over when the sheriff retires. He works long hours to help people, throwing himself between danger and his town again and again, and now Devon is asking him to sacrifice his life, as well as his love, for the good of the town. Wade has to draw the line somewhere, and this is his line. He loves Devon. Devon is his soulmate. But he won’t let Devon use him like this.
It’s an honest argument, and the first they’ve really had in their relationship. There’s no yelling, no slamming of doors. It’s just a gulf between them, one Devon caused and one that only Devon can cross. The two of them, Devon and Wade, have only been together for six months, and in those six months, the town has been under constant attack. There hasn’t been much time for them to simply be Devon and Wade, rather than the half-fae council member and the werewolf guardian. Wade does so much for Devon, taking care of him, being there for Devon to lean on; it’s nice to see Devon realize that Wade, too, needs someone to take the emotional weight off of his shoulders.
While we do get a glimpse at the actual big bad in this book, it feels more like a bridge between the rest of the series and the final chapter. Not much actually happens. It’s the fight between Devon and Wade, a brief moment with Devon’s mother, and then the expected attack. The attack, however, lasts little more than a page, and the bad guy isn’t defeated as much as brushed aside so he can prepare for the next book. This was not my favorite entry in the series, but it’s nice to see Devon and Wade have a moment where it’s not just Devon having to save the day (and Wade having to save Devon), but the two of them together as boyfriends, lovers, and soulmates.