Never Again, Michele Bardsley

Title: Never Again (Wizards of Nevermore) released March 1, 2011 ; 320 pages

Author: Michele Bardsley

Redonk Nutshell: Tormented hero falls for sister of his tormentor

Official Synopsis: Lucinda Rackmore is a witch cursed.  Desperation sends her to the last place anyone would think to find her … the small Dragon-protected town of Nevermore, Texas. To escape the wrath of her ex-lover, she must plead her case with the town’s Guardian—the man her family betrayed a decade ago.  Gray Calhoun is a wizard scorned.  Gray wants nothing to do with the Rackmores, especially not the spoiled younger sister of the woman who sacrificed him to a demon lord. But when Lucy shows up at his door begging for sanctuary, he can’t turn her away.  Magic is love reborn…An infamous Rackmore witch isn’t the only trouble in town, either. Someone’s creating demonic mayhem—and murdering citizens. Only with Gray and Lucinda working together, can they hope to defeat the dark forces that threaten Nevermore. And maybe along the way, they’ll find that love is the strongest magic of all.

Let’s be real, here.  This cover is pretty smokin’.  That’s what drew me to this book in the first place.  I hadn’t read anything by Michele Bardsley before, so I figured I’d give her a go. 

Never Again opens with the story of Gray Calhoun and the ultimate betrayal by the love of his life.  His wife tries to sacrifice him to a demon in order to become a demon herself.  But Gray, a very powerful wizard, manages to survive, effectively ruining his wife’s spell and banishing her to a life as a half demon.  Fast forward ten years and Gray, now the indifferent Guardian of his town Nevermore, finds the sister of his ex-wife standing on his doorstep begging for his help. What’s he do?  He tosses the byatch out on the street. Duh.  Can’t say I blame him.  But Gray Calhoun is, at heart, a decent human being, and comes to realize how heartless he was.  So he goes to collect her.

Lucinda Rackmore is a wanted woman – she’s a witch with a rare power, a power that has been bound by her psychopath boyfriend/benefactor.  Lucy escaped from his clutches and he wants her back under his thumb.  So Lucy enters Nevermore with the hope of finding any sort of protection.  Unfortunately for her, she stumbles in at the same time some seriously weird shite is going down.  People are dying, portals are opening where they shouldn’t be, and magic seems to be dangerously out of balance.

Lucy and Gray partner up to tackle the town’s problems, and Gray ultimately offers to marry her so he can fully protect her with the understanding that it is a business arrangement.  *cue rolling of the eyes*  Of course, business turns to pleasure, and they end up falling for each other.

First thing’s first, Bardsley is epic at creating this kick ass world of hers.  I’m really digging the hierarchy of magicians and the different houses, etc.  There’s a lot of potential here for some seriously kick ass stories.  Unfortunately, though, Never More fell a bit short for me otherwise.  I liked both Gray and Lucy as characters, but it moved too fast for me to believe.  I mean c’mon – Lucy’s sister brutally tried to destroy the man.  Then Gray, upon seeing Lucy at her most vulnerable, falls for her instantly.  I didn’t buy it.  I wanted to, but it was forced.

Bardsley also kept you guessing up to the end as to who, exactly, the bad guy in Nevermore was.  Kind of cool.  The supporting characters were rich.  I can definitely see them in future Wizards of Nevermore books.  Can I just say, though…Happy?  As a name for a girl?  Really? That fell into the Renesmee file for me.  So cheesy.

What I liked about this book: the world building, and the history of magic and how it’s used

What I didn’t like: Love story was forced.

Rating: C+

Romance: 2/5           Raunch: 3/5

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