Into the Lyons’ Den by Rita Bay


Into the Lyons’ Den by Rita Bay
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (74 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Wealthy recluse Anthony Lyons lures Marie Maxwell, Atlanta’s most sought-after event planner, to his isolated estate in North Carolina to coordinate a wedding and reception for a “very special couple.”

Despite her sophisticated veneer, Marie’s a street-smart orphan without a past. Adopted by the owners of the elegant Hotel Maxwell, she was raised in the business. For an outrageous fee, Marie accepts Lyons’ challenge to plan a wedding for 200 guests in 10 days at Lyons’ Den. Her work is complicated by an absent bride and bridegroom and an arrogant and exasperating employer who is too interested in her and her personal life—especially those lost years.

Confronted by a mysterious stalker, two murder attempts and dark shadows from her shrouded past, Marie finds an ally in an amorous feline of some unknown species. But who’s got it in for her? And what’s with Anthony and all the cats?

This short story screams “intrigue” from page one. I had so many questions just from reading the description I dove into this book with determination as soon as it hit my inbox.

At first the hero, Anthony, comes across as more of a stiff anti-hero. He’s coarse and abrasive but then he begins referring to Marie as “Kitten” and it honestly had me sighing. There was so much emotion and hope built into that simple moniker, I just knew there was more to Anthony than my first impression. On a side note, Marie gives Anthony a nickname, as well; it too was chock full of (humorous) meaning. She excels at defying this Alpha male. I liked Marie from the very beginning. She’s smart, talented and in no way a wilting flower.

Ms. Bay set the tone for a mystery to solve right away. Anthony offers to pay an extraordinary amount of money to get Marie to his NC estate. She’s supposed to pull off a miracle wedding to celebrate the grand “awaited event” within ten days but without the benefit of a bride or groom to consult. I started getting a clue to the “paranormal” aspect of the book when Marie is confronted by some larger than normal felines and when she sits down to prepare the menu. There’s a distinct lack of green leafy offerings but plenty of fish and rich desserts. It was actually at this point during the planning that I began to think this book was going to be too pat, too textbook convenient.  I had lots of questions and Marie struck me as a character who should have been equally curious or at the very least apprehensive. The events that followed brought a new level to the mysterious happenings as well as gave this reader insight into Marie’s past. It brought the story full circle and provided closure that was satisfying.

Readers who enjoy a bit of intrigue as well as humor with their paranormal will have no trouble be swept into Marie and Anthony’s story. The chemistry between the characters practically crackles on the page. It isn’t soft or subtle and neither Marie nor Anthony is completely sure they like it until they finally give it. Well worth the read and doesn’t take up much your time. Pick up a copy today and see what trouble you can find by venturing Into the Lyons Den.

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