Story Rating: 4 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars
Narrator: Greg Boudreaux
Length: 5 hours, 52 minutes
Werewolf Hector Gonzales knew that hacking the magic grid and making it work with human technology was risky. But Hector loves tech and he has invented some pretty cool things. However, now that the supe council has found him out, Hector is on probation pending his hearing. That means a full tech moratorium. While he is waiting for his hearing, Hector is house sitting and running errands for some friends. On his latest errand, Hector finds himself lost, since he is stuck using a paper map instead of GPS. He ends up heading into a local burger joint where he encounters an adorable guy working the register. Hector doesn’t find himself attracted to people all that often, but something about the guy just draws Hector in.
Rafi Abbas has been on his own for years. He is struggling to make ends meet, as he can’t hold on to a job. Rafi knows he needs to give the customers what they ask for, yet he always finds himself instead giving them what they need. He is on thin ice with his latest job and, of course, he screws up right in front of the hot customer. When Rafi is fired and his landlord comes calling for his long overdue rent, Rafi ends up out on the street.
Hector can’t get Rafi out of his mind and, when he runs into him again, Hector gets up the nerve to chat. When he learns about Rafi’s predicament, Hector is determined to help. The guys spend the day on a series of adventures that give them a chance to get to know each other better. They are both drawn to one another and Hector can’t help but think how nice it would be to have Rafi as a real part of his life. But supernaturals are not allowed to mate with humans and Hector is in enough trouble with the supe bigwigs as it is; he can’t afford to rock the boat any further. Yet as the guys fall harder for each other, neither wants things to end between them. Now Rafi and Hector have to figure out a way to turn their strong connection into something lasting.
The Skinny on Djinni is a standalone story that is part of E.J. Russell’s larger Mythmatched Mates universe. The books take place in an expansive shared world, so we do see characters and minor plot threads from other books here. In particular, Hector has appeared in other books and here we see the fallout from all his tech tinkering. We also see Jordan and some of the other characters from the Quest Investigations series, among others. So I think this is the kind of story where if you are familiar with the world, you are going to have a richer reading experience, but I do think Hector and Rafi’s story can stand alone for those new to this world.
Hector and Rafi are sweet together. Neither man has a lot of experience dating and they are sort of adorably shy around one another. They have some sparks when first meeting, and once they run into one another once again, neither one wants to separate. They end up on a series of adventures throughout the day, sparked in part by the aftermath of Rafi losing his apartment, as well as by a series of strange encounters. The story takes place basically in one day, which felt fast when I stopped to think about it, especially since they are essentially full on committed to each other by the end. But Russell does a nice job building the connection between them and their quick bond felt natural. We also learn more about Rafi’s backstory and get some revelations that nicely add to his character development, as well as some of the larger Mythmatched world lore. I will say that (very minor spoiler)pretty much gives away a part of his backstory that I would have preferred to be revealed during the story, but it does still add an interesting element. I did feel like things resolve somewhat quickly with regard to an outside threat. It just sort of ends and there is little in the way of repercussions given the conflict. But overall, I found their adventures a lot of fun.
Greg Boudreaux is the narrator for this audio, as well as many of the books in this world and he does a wonderful job with them. I have said it before, but Boudreaux does so well with this sort of light fantasy/paranormal with a dash of humor. The story feels playful and fun, but not over the top. Boudreaux does a great job carrying over various characters from prior books and it made it easy to reconnect with them here. I am really enjoying listening to the Mythmatched audios and think Boudreaux’s narration really adds a lot to the stories.
So I found this one to be a fun story with a lot of sweetness. It was nice to jump back into this world and catch up on the various side characters, as well as to get to meet Rafi and Hector and follow their adventures.