Review: Forged in Fire (Asheville Arcana #2) by Ari McKay

The magic touch.

Ever since Harlan Edgewood was bitten by a possessed werewolf, his monthly shifts have been agonizing. When he meets Whimsy Hickes—a mage who specializes in transformation—the attraction is mutual. But Harlan believes his curse is too great a burden to inflict on any romantic partner.

Fortunately, Whimsy thinks he can help.

When Harlan is provoked into an unexpected change, Whimsy uses his magic to help ease Harlan's pain, but with an unexpected consequence. While he's shifted, Harlan's wolf claims Whimsy as his mate.

As they draw closer, suspicious events in the Asheville magical community escalate. Shifters are disappearing, others are murdered, and Harlan's curse makes him an obvious target. It will take all of Whimsy's magic to force back the rising evil—and if he fails, Harlan will lose not only his life, but his very soul.

Admittedly, I quite liked the first book in this series, but I enjoyed this sequel even more!

It’s been a year since the events in Out of the Ashes, and the shifter and supernatural community in Asheville is slowly recovering from the horrible havoc wrought by a group of demon possessed werewolves. Because it was felt that things were left unfinished, that there’s a more nefarious plan in the works, bonded mates Arden and Eli and their friends are still on high alert for what they feel is another inevitable attack.

One of these allies is Arden’s bff Whimsy. He’s a pretty powerful mage and has been beefing up his magical skills just in case. When Whimsy meets Harlan (Eli’s coworker), the attraction is instant, and he realizes that Harlan is not a werewolf but a lycanthrope, a born-human who was bitten and thus subjected to the torturous moon driven change monthly, something that Harlan has no control over. Whimsy, being the caring gentle soul that he is, offers to help Harlan through his transformation, and Harlan can hardly believe his luck at a chance at reprieve from the painful curse he’s been saddled with for the last 300 years. However, Harlan’s wolf is also piqued by his and Whimsy's mutual attraction, and he balks at the possibility of losing control and hurting anyone, let alone Whimsy.

Thus, this is all about Harlan and his struggle with wanting to be with Whimsy and his need to prevent him harm by his dual nature. However, Whimsy is no weakling, and he’s determined to give aid, whether Harlan accepts it or not. What they both never expect though, is for Harlan to claim Whimsy as his mate. What’s a 300 plus year old virgin to do? Well… what ensues is a seriously sweet and caring courting between these two. In and amongst all this loveliness is of course, insistent evil doers still being sinister.

Very easy reading, quite low on the angst, if you want simple unpretentious with a good dose of supernatural sexy thrown in, then I think this series will go down quite nicely. This really excels at likeable and endearing characters who care about each other and their community and are willing to risk a lot to prevent doom and gloom. Harlan is a fabulous gentle giant, respectful, old fashioned and just so darn good, he contrasts well with Whimsy who has a bit of fire in him that fuels his strong nurturing instincts. Like the first book, the current conflict is resolved, but the overall arc is still ongoing, and I really look forward to seeing grumpy vamp Julian, be the next one to get his long desired HEA!

Thank you to the author/publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Check out the Forged in Fire release blitz HERE!

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