Today, I’m hosting Victoria Rogers’ latest release The Witch and the Dreamwalker, book two in the McKinely Women series, a paranormal romance. Be sure to read my review. And don’t forget to enter the Raffelcopter giveaway.
Blurb: It’s 1982, and corporate witch Vivian McKinley is determined to climb the ladder of a growing paranormal security firm. With the help of Xavier Prince, President and CEO of Prince Charms, Vivian uncovers a plot to take over the business. The pair navigate office politics and machinations to prove a psychic vampire’s treachery.
Vivian shook her head as the pair wandered off. “Soda and lime,” she ordered from the bartender as he finally made his way over. She tossed a bill into the tip jar as she waited.
At this rate she was going to need to go to bed at ten. She stubbed the cigar out in the marble ashtray but kept it as a prop, hoping it would dissuade anyone from offering her another. With John halfway into his cups the news of her promotion would spread like wildfire, and she wasn’t sure she was ready for that. She squeezed the lime into her drink and left the lime slice on a napkin. Bathroom. There would hardly be anyone in there since men outnumbered anyone else in the ballroom. She could escape and process there.
The bathroom was old and gaudy and coated in marble and fading gilt. It had a twelve-foot arched ceiling, and a maroon carpet. There was a sumptuous sitting area adorned with cream colored wing-back chairs and there were grand mirrors for women to, presumably, powder their nose in. The toilets were farther on through a gilded archway and a fan of potted plants.
The place was empty, thank goodness. She sat down at the far end in a chair by a counter. She put the cigar in an ashtray on the mirrored side table and leaned back. Head of Research and Development. Twenty-seven years old and the head of R and D. She clenched her fists and bit her bottom lip, kicking her feet in excitement. By the gods! Her. Vivian Mary McKinley, Head of Research and Development at Prince Charms. This shouldn’t be happening. It was supposed to take her years and years and years to achieve this, not three years and a major project later.
But then again, Xavier had founded Prince Charms at the age of twenty-six. If he could take a small paranormal security company and rocket to the largest in the country in just nine years, well, she could achieve big things too.
Her stomach was busy flipping about when the big wooden door with brass handles and ornate hinges swung open.
“Oh, honey, I thought I’d find you here,” Jenny said as she flopped down in a chair opposite Vivian. “People are asking about you out there.”
“Yes, well, they’re going to have to wait,” Vivian said with a wave of her hand. “I need a moment to myself first. Plus, John made me drink bourbon. I need a break.” She reached for her glass of soda water and took a sip.
“You’re not going to be sick, are you?”
“What? No. I’ll be fine. I just wasn’t expecting this, you know? It’s a lot to take in.”
“You better not be doubting yourself because you deserve every ounce of this promotion. You’re smart, and you’ve got ideas, and you have every bit as much wherewithal as one of those smug-ass bastards out there. No one has ever come up with a psychic vampire ward! No one, not ever, until you figured it out. You got there before anyone else in the world. Vivian, Vivian, look at me.” Jenny pursed her red lacquered lips.
Vivian ripped her eyes away from the ashtray and met Jenny’s pout with a laugh. “Yes! Yes! I hear you. On paper it all fits, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to accept.”
“What? Why not? Any one of those assholes would accept it without batting a lash. Even Peter, from accounting.”
“OK! OK,” Vivian conceded. “Fine. I deserve this promotion.”
“Yeah, you do, babe.” Jenny grinned. “Now, how long are we going to hide in the bathroom?”
“Give me a few more minutes.”
“Whatever you need.” Jenny managed to stay silent for thirty seconds before she spoke again. “So. What’s he like?”
“Mr. Prince! I’ve never met him. He never comes down to the labs. Mr. Simeon always goes upstairs to the offices for meetings. I’ve only ever talked to Pam, the receptionist upstairs.”
“I talked to him for all of three minutes. He smiled a lot, but he was promoting me. I assume most people smile at the person they’re promoting.”
Jenny giggled. “I wouldn’t know.”
Vivian looked up to the ceiling and sighed. “He seemed nice.”
“He’s a god in mortal form is what he is,” Jenny interjected. “Have you seen him on the tennis court?”
“Well, yes, at the club, but he’s our boss.”
“Just because he’s the boss doesn’t mean you can’t look.”
Vivian shook her head. “That’s not what I’m here for, Jenny. I’m here to be a professional. To grow and learn and well… be successful at it all.”
“You can do all that and still look,” Jenny said with a shrug.
“All right. Let’s go back to the party if it means I don’t get regaled with nonsense like this.” Vivian stood and picked up her matching clutch from the chair next to her.
“Anything to help,” Jenny said, smirking.
I don’t read a lot of paranormal romance, but there was something about a witch starring in a series, and a Dreamwalker, that captured my attention. I am happy to say I really enjoyed this novella.
As the blurb says, Vivian is a rising star working at Prince Charms, a company owned by the super-rich and very hot hero Xander Prince. They face two problems. The sexual chemistry erupting between them and a someone who is a threat to the company.
I enjoyed the heroine. She’s got inner-strength and calmness to her that made her stand out in this novel, and makes a reader root for her. The same for the hero. He’s extremely likeable and you want him to get his happy ending.
The novel takes place in the early 1980s, but I felt it could have easily taken place in present day because setting wasn’t very big in this novel, nor did it really play an important role. The only major role was the business Vivian’s grandmother had passed down to her that I enjoyed reading about.
I especially loved the villain, Troy. I have never encountered this type of vampire in a novel before and it was refreshing to read about how he uses his powers. My only quibble is I wish Vivian and Xander were allowed to use their “powers” to stop what was happening, but instead they used what every modern-day, non-magical person would use—their brains.
Still, this was a great peek into a world created by the author. I do wish this would have been longer because there was so much to explore in the wonderful world the author created.
I recommend you give The Witch and the Dreamwalker a purchase. It’s a nice way to spend the evening curled up since it can easily be read in a couple of hours.
Witches, warlocks, gods, and ghosts fill their dreams and stories. Consent and healthy communication are two major aspects of their work – after all, you can’t get what you want unless you ask for it.
Victoria can be found in the garden and in the kitchen making fruit wines, brewing beers, and infusing spirits. When not feeding friends, they attend tabletop gaming conventions and sit on storytelling and world-building panels, teach about online marketing, and produce live events.
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