The Dragon Finds Forever
Nocturne Falls Book 7
Author: Kristen Painter
Publisher: Sugar Skull Books
Page count: 240pp
Release Date: 21st February 2017
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin
It’s back to Nocturne Falls again. Where supernatural creatures (vampires, werewolves, Valkyrie, gargoyles – the list goes on) hide in plain sight in the town which celebrates Halloween 24/7. This time, we have a dragon.
It starts with Monalisa (don’t sing please!) Devlin, watching her father play with the gold coin that’s supposed to be hers; her birthright given to her at eighteen. But Padraig Devlin, father and king of the Leprechauns could be crafty, sneaky and greedy.
She should’ve got her coin twelve years ago as she turned eighteen, but no, no matter that she’d done what he asked, there was still that ‘loose end’.
As soon as she got her coin she’d be able to leave, which is why the king held onto it tight, as blackmail – there was something he wanted her to do.
Her parents were known worldwide for the casino, The Shamrock, and the fights held beneath the venue. Monalisa’s manipulative father wanted her to persuade a certain dragon to fight in their arena. Urging her to use her ‘will-o-the-wisp’ skills to get the Dragon in her thrall.
Van, Dragon in metaphorical hiding, is determined to leave fighting behind and settle down in Nocturne Falls. Close friends with Pandora, she helps him choose a dog as a new companion as he heals on crutches; a dog he hopes to bond with. His life in the fighting arena over. He just wants to mope, recover and read and pet his new timid Doberman Grom. He’s in no place for female relationships.
Too bad the ‘rehabilitation therapist’ ‘Lisa’ (Monalisa’s cover to lure back Ivan the Hammer) is easy on the eyes, he is not interested in women – at all! But he also doesn’t want her getting in Trouble and getting sacked for not doing her job, after all, she seems desperate. So reluctantly he agrees to the therapy.
With the therapy comes an interesting aspect of the book. Van has been severely injured by a manticore’s poison and is suffering a form of sports PTSD or injury-related trauma as a result.
Painter seems to have really grasped what trauma feels like and through the therapy sessions between her two protagonists, leads the reader through the recovery process, exploring the emotions involved. As Monalisa helps Van deal with the physical and emotional scars from his fight, the two, inevitably, become closer.
Painter also deals with perceptions in the novel; how Van is seen by the tourists as something or someone to be feared because of his size and shaved head, juxtaposed with his sweet nature, his sense of humour, and how the locals and Lisa see past his exterior.
Overall, this is another fun, romantic romp from a Painter in the Nocturbe Falls series, with a cameo of Jayne Frost. The more I read of this Halloween town, the more I’d love to move there!