Beautiful Soul by Cooper McKenzie

Beautiful Soul by Cooper McKenzie
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Paranormal
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Mystic’s All Night Café—where the city’s supernatural world meet for the best coffee, tea, and pastry.

Five years after her ex-husband left her scarred, 51-year-old Lena Wellings continues to hide from the world. In the wee hours of the morning, she meets a man online. When he invites her to Mystic’s All Night Café, she reluctantly agrees.

Mage Kingsley James gave up on love decades ago, devoting himself entirely to his craft, and to his position as the city’s negotiator between the city’s supernatural species. Meeting Lena online intrigues him. Meeting her face to face enthralls him.

When rogues kidnap Lena, Kingsley must bring vampires, shifters, and other supernatural creatures together to rescue her.

Will Lena learn to see herself as Kingsley does? Will Kingsley rescue Lena in time? Will they be able to keep the city from war between the supernaturals?

After continually waking within minutes each morning of 2am and being unable to go back to sleep, Lena joins a local online chat community for insomniacs and workers on the graveyard shift. One of the frequent chatters in particular has helped ease Lena’s transition into embracing being awake for much of the earlier hours – someone with the screen-name of KingJames. Kingsley James has no idea what, exactly, it is about Lena that draws him, but he can’t resist the allure. His nights are crammed full of mediating between the constant bickering between the local vampire coven and the restless shifter clan and so joining the message board on a whim had seemed like a good, lowkey way to keep his mind off his real-life troubles. Can Lena and Kingsley find something special together during their very long nights?

I admit I just couldn’t go past the idea of a mystical all night café where people get set up – there’s just something inherently romantic about that sort of image to me. While the plotline itself is fairly dated (I recall reading countless “magical cat/shoes/busybody sets the hero and heroine up together” style of stories in the late 90s and early 00s) I have to admit it’s still to this day a strong storyline and plot device. Even in these pandemic times people want to connect with each other and feel that magical spark of attraction and romance. So I really feel this storyline will appeal to a wide range of readers, especially those looking for something fairly straight-forward and maybe even slightly vintage in style of plotline.

Added to this slightly old-school feeling I absolutely loved the more modern reading elements. Lena was not some shy, retiring virginal miss, but a middle-aged, battle scarred woman who had survived an abusive and difficult previous relationship and come out the other end. I was so pleased Lena wasn’t a cookie-cutter style of heroine and – even more importantly – was still willing to take careful and calculated risks to help change her own life for the better. I really feel she will appeal to many modern readers. The paranormal aspects to the story, while not delved into in great depth, also really helped give the whole story a more modern and slightly whimsical feel to my mind.

Readers looking for an intense and graphic sexy story should find that this fits the bill. While Lena and Kingsley don’t jump into bed immediately, they do become sexually intimate very quickly and I feel the speed of this likely will mostly appeal to readers who like insta-love stories or those where the hero and heroine don’t spend a lot of time getting to know each other outside the bedroom first. I was pleased that even though Kingsley and Lena become intimate very quickly they do begin to grow a far strong and more emotional connection that helped sell me on the believability that their relationship should last long-term. This helped me feel more connected and invested in their relationship rather than just feel they were a fling or more interested in a quick romance.

Readers who like a steamy and sexy story with elements of the paranormal world dabbled through should find this a quick and enjoyable read.

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