Regina Barone's hopes for finding Mr. Right go out the window as Caleb Hunter, the last eligible single man on the island, ties the knot with island newcomer Margred (Maggie). Judging men had never been her strong suit anyway, accounting for her status as a single mother of five year old Nick. At least Caleb had been pleased with her catering efforts and had given her the rest of the evening off. And so she slips off with a bottle of wine to wallow in her woes, but not for long. Out of the darkness appears a man she'd been two young to remember, Dylan Hunter, Caleb's long lost brother. Beware Regina, for although the sexy newcomer is undoubtedly different from anyone you've ever met, what he is looking for tonight is not commitment.
Dylan Hunter is a man of mystery to be sure. When Alice Hunter (a.k.a. Atargatis) had left her husband along with Caleb and his sister Lucy, she had taken the oldest son Dylan with her. When Dylan has reached puberty at thirteen he'd discovered his parents' secret the hard way. Imagine a teenaged boy suddenly transforming into a creature that he had never even known existed. Shortly thereafter Dylan had discovered his mother's pelt and returned it to her. She had taken him back with her to the sea. Imagine a confused teenaged boy opened up to a whole new world, a world of wonder beneath the waves where he would be immortal and never age. He draws his own conclusions and turns his back on the father he believed had betrayed his mother in the worst possible way.
When Dylan's mother drowns a year later in a fisherman's net, his resentment against the humans builds further. He is then fostered by the selkie prince Conn ap Llyr. Dylan sees the world in black and white. Either you are human or you are selkie. He is selkie; the family he'd left behind was human. He'd not given them much thought since. However, in reality the half breed selkie doesn't completely fit into his adopted world either. His heritage is a little too human for him to be considered for the prince's elite guard, the position he covets most. His selkie magic is weak as well and when he is finally given an important mission it just has to be in World's End, Maine. The peaceful island fishing town where he'd spent his childhood had recently experienced a fire demon attack. Two selkie females had been attacked, one brutally murdered. The other, Margred had been rescued by his brother Caleb and two had fallen madly in love.
Dylan had followed Margred to the island and now chafing in his human wedding attire, he goes in seach of what selkies desire most, sex, and happens upon a lonely and slightly drunk Regina. It doesn't take much of Dylan's considerable seduction capabilities to convince her as Regina has been alone for a very long time, unfortunately neither is thinking of birth control until it's too late. Dylan plans to walk away and not look but then he is assigned the job to discover the reason for the sudden shift in the balance among the elementals and how it relates to the human race. He is also told of a prophesy which claims that a daughter of the line of Atargatis will one day change the balance of power between the forces of good and evil and the destiny of her people. Since Lucy is obviously human (at least that's what everyone believes), the only current possibility would be a female child of Caleb's union with Margred, until he learns that Regina might be pregnant and as the fire demons' focus shifts from Margred to his woman and her young son, Dylan finds himself drawn back into the world of humans not by duty but by love. But is love enough?
As much as I loved SEA WITCH, as with most first books in a series much of the tale was given to setting up the plot. Caleb had not had an easy life to be sure, but for the most part one felt he had his act together. Dylan on the other hand has so many issues to work out. His perception of his parent's marriage, whether true or not (there are some details in SEA FEVER which lead you to believe it was not quite so simple) left him bitter and resentful. Yet there are moments when you feel his wistfulness beneath his carefully laid mask of indifference to the world he left behind. His feelings for Regina, her son, and their future child contrast sharply with his deep love of the sea. But as danger threatens what is his, he finds his true strength and the choice becomes simple. Regina is great as well. She's been rejected in the worst possible way and has picked herself up and gone on with her life. She is a strong woman who loves deeply, enough to let Dylan go if it is what he needs. She never asks him to be anything but what he is and I think this makes it all the easier for him to let the past go and embrace all of what he is. I have no doubt we will see him again in selkie form soon, for although the demons have been thwarted temporarily they are sure to regroup, but I'm equally certain that the prodigal son is back home to stay.
The youngest Hunter sibling, Lucy's, story is next. The prince himself is her romantic interest. We are not yet sure if Dylan's child is female and Margred is pressuring Caleb for a baby as well, but I'm not ready to count Lucy out just yet. Although those who appear to be in the know believe her to be human, I'm not so sure. In SEA WITCH it was revealed that Lucy became violently ill when she traveled any distance from the sea. Hm, and in SEA FEVER Dylan observed that he felt compelled to look away any time he tried to examine his sister closely, as if glamour was being employed. Lucy was a very young infant when her mother took Dylan home to sea. Caleb had left home by the time Lucy reached puberty and their broken hearted father had long since retreated into his bottle. What if Lucy herself had experienced a change she had no way of understanding with no one to explain to her what was happening or why? She hasn't been let in on Margred and Dylan's secrets either so she'd have no way of knowing she was not alone. Why would she tell anyone? An interesting thought, no? I definitely can't wait to find out. In addition to learning Lucy's secrets, and how her romance progresses, I'm looking forward to seeing her estranged family knit itself further together (I'm really looking for them to reel their father back in) and of course to see how the prophesy is fulfilled. In the meantime I highly recommend SEA FEVER for an emotional and engrossing character driven paranormal romance and sequel to the equally fascinating plot driven SEA WITCH. I hope Ms. Kantra keeps mixing it up, I am seriously enjoying this series. All I can say is wow! Look for SEA LORD in 2009. ~ reviewed for PNR Reviews