oracles always win coverRating: 4.25 stars
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Length: Novel

 

Jake moved to the town of Willow Lake after his mother died and the grandfather he never knew existed reached out to him. Unfortunately, before Jake could get to know the man, his grandfather passed away, leaving Jake his inn and bar in the small town. Jake is struggling, not only in keeping the bar and inn afloat financially, but also with the unconscious, middle-of-the night compulsion causing him to create strange black and white paintings. The paintings are nothing like Jake’s usual artwork, and weirdly many of them seem to feature the same gorgeous man with horns on his head. Jake can’t understand what is causing him to make these paintings or who the man is, but it is starting to worry him. And when he sees his mystery man in the hallway of his inn, Jake is sure his imagination is really playing tricks on him.

Gage and his team have come to the town of Willow Lakes to continue the investigation into the artifacts stolen from the inn. They have managed to crack part of the case and rescue some of the supernaturals who were being trafficked, but they know that while they caught one bad guy, there are still more up the chain. When Gage meets Jake, he is totally drawn to the sweet young man. But Gage is a demon, which means that he must find a town that calls to him as his tether before he ultimately loses control of his mind and his powers. Something about Willow Lake seems right to Gage, but he is also worried about getting false hope.

Gage also knows that Jake is unfamiliar with the supernatural world. While the other supes in town know that Jake is an oracle, Jake grew up with no awareness of his own magic or abilities. Jake has managed to explain away all the strange things he sees in town, sure he is imagining them or losing his mind. When Gage explains what is really going on, Jake is stunned to learn that there is a whole magical world out there he never know existed, and even more, that he is part of it. And even better, that he and Gage might just be meant for one another. But the danger is escalating on many fronts. Jake’s visions continue to increase, and without the right anchor, he could lose his mind. Gage must figure out if Willow Lake is really the place he is meant to settle before he has his own breakdown. And the wolf pack up in the hills continues to threaten the safety of everyone in Willow Lake. Gage and Jake are realizing they might just be made for each other, but they need to find a way past the danger if they have a chance to be together.

Oracles Always Win is the third book in Lori Ames’ Willow Lake Supernatural series and it’s another great installment in this engaging paranormal series. These books each feature a new couple, but the characters appear in each other’s books and there is an overarching suspense storyline. We also meet Jake in earlier books, as well as learn a bit about Gage from his teammate Adrian’s book. So while you might be able to follow along here, these are best read in order starting with Hellhounds Never Lie to get the full picture of the threats and character backstory.

I have been intrigued by Jake as a character as we learned in past books that everyone knows he is an oracle but him (and the townsfolk have a betting pool going as to when he might figure it out). Here we see that Jake has been having visions through his painting, as he enters a trance-like state and wakes up having completed some strange new work. Jake assumes he is imagining things or losing his mind, and he has managed to rationalize away all the strange things he sees in town. When he encounters Gage at the inn, Jake assumes he has totally lost it and is hallucinating the mystery man from his painting — and promptly figures why the hell not and asks the imaginary guy to kiss him. So there is a fun meet cute here that sets things up, and the men are drawn to each other. The guys fall pretty fast and hard considering the time frame, but it didn’t feel too rushed to me. Maybe it is the fated mates aspect, but the connection between them just feels intense from the start and I could just go with it. There is a nice sweet and sexy vibe here, as Gage wants to protect Jake, but also they are both totally hot for each other. Each man has some magical challenges with regard to their abilities and it all comes together really well.

We also pick up on the larger series arc as Gage and his team are in town to continue the investigation into the stolen artifacts and the supernatural trafficking. I did wish for a little more progress on that front, as that part of the plot doesn’t advance much. That is not to say there isn’t plenty going on plot-wise, including a major event that rocks everyone. But there isn’t a lot of investigating going on and they don’t end up learning much more than they did at the start of the story. However, there is plenty of excitement and suspense here, as well as some nice world building as we learn about the both Gage and Jake’s need to find tethers to help control their magic.

The story also gives us a chance to catch up with some of the other characters from past books, as well as learn more about the members of Gage’s team. There is a nice found family vibe here and I am enjoying getting to know everyone. I do continue to find Jeremy a bit much, but overall I really like these characters and there is a nice balance between the side characters and the focus on the main events. There are so many intriguing folks and I am really looking forward to the stories to come. I found this another great installment to a really compelling series and I am definitely excited for more.

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