Review: Spellbound Desire by Angelia Sparrow and Naomi Brooks

Spellbound Desire - Angelia Sparrow,  Naomi Brooks

Publisher Series: Hex Appeal

On the Nightside of Memphis, werewolves teach college, zombies load trucks and private investigator D.J. is hard at work finding missing persons, solving cases and drinking herself into an early grave. Then Bran walks into her office, asking for help in destroying the demon Oeilett, and everything changes.

Something about the battered, scarred combat mage ignites all the lusty feelings D.J. thought she had successfully drowned in rum. The mana he exudes weaves a web of desire over her, clouding thought and making the sultry summer even steamier.

Bran’s body and face may be marked by his previous battles, but everything under the black leather kilt works perfectly, and D.J. learns there are more things in Memphis, the hell-planes and her own heart than she had ever imagined.

With all the YA review requests that I get it was nice to have a request for a more adult PNR for a change, and really... how could I pass on a Scottish biker combat mage in a leather kilt?

An older, battle-hardened combat mage seeks out a bristly and barely magical P.I. working the paranormal side of Memphis to help him defeat a powerful demon that he has been fighting for years. Little did he know that the mana (magical power) had chosen the prickly P.I. as his mate. ...

The story is told in first person and alternates between Bran and D.J.’s POV. The switch in the POV is on a chapter by chapter basis and the chapters are labeled with the character name. I like dual POV when it is done this way as it makes it easy for me to keep track of whose head I’m in.

The hero and heroine of this story are older. Bran McKay is fifty and described as having graying hair with a deeply scarred face from his battles with the demon he is chasing. He feels too old and ugly to be loved. D.J. Admire is in her forties and described as plain looking and still a virgin. She has pretty much given up on love and has settled into a lonely and alcohol-blurred existence. I really like that the main characters are not the usual perfect, young, and gorgeous characters that you find in a lot of PNR. They had a more realistic feel. They came with baggage and vulnerabilities and they complemented each other well.

Some other characters I liked were D.J.’s cousin, Jinx, who was a bit of a goofball (and how can you not like a goofball?) and the sugar-loving pixie who made a few brief appearances.

As the story starts out you see the snarky, jaded, Captain Morgan drinking side of D.J. Admire and I was looking forward to that personality coming out in her dialogue and actions. It did to some degree but I felt it fizzled out a bit as the attraction to and acceptance of Bran grew, which actually happened pretty quickly. I would like to have seen a little more resistance to Bran on D.J.’s part to up the ante and bring out more of that bristly side that made D.J. an interesting character. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the wry humor in her comments and thoughts. 

This story takes place on the “Nightside” of Memphis, which seems to translate to the paranormal aspect of the city. I didn’t really get a good sense of the story setting. There was lip service given to the different paranormal elements, but they don’t play into the story that much except for an odd reference here and there…and maybe that little pixie guy. I would have liked to have had a better feel for the Nightside, but in the end it didn’t negatively affect the enjoyment of the story for me.

This is an erotic romance so you can expect frequent and explicit sex scenes. However, I think there is a decent story to balance it out and even some emotional moments. It wasn’t quite a page turner for me, but I enjoyed the story and I liked the characters. I was invested in the relationship between Bran and D.J. and wanted them to have their HEA. This book is part of a publisher series called Hex Appeal that is made up of books by various authors. The books don’t seem to be related other than through a basic theme of magic running through each story. At least that is what it looks like on the Ellora’s Cave website. As such, this story appears to be a standalone book but don’t quote me on that. It felt pretty much wrapped up at the end. I’m not sure if there will be any further books in this world, but if there are, I would certainly consider reading them. 

Quick Quote
“I wasn’t giving this guy an inch. He disturbed me. I didn’t like things that disturbed me, which is why I was licensed to shoot most things that disturbed me. Unfortunately, humans were not on the list and sexual attraction was not considered a valid reason to shoot someone.”
* * *

Heat Level: Erotic - The door is wide open. Sex scenes are frequent and explicit. Includes spanking.


Word Count: approx. 60,000 (short novel)
Kindle locations: 3076 (story text ends at 96%)
Print Length: 154 pgs (Amazon estimate)
No Table of Contents
Source: Review Request from Author