“The Witching Time” by Fayrene Preston

Some­thing strange was going on in Hilary, Vir­ginia — Noah Brax­ton felt it the moment he arrived when a gold­en-haired, blue-eyed witch cast a spell and stole his heart! Rhi­an­nonY­ork beguiled the slight­ly staid but def­i­nite­ly sexy New York lawyer with her bewitch­ing eyes and her scent of exot­ic spices and wild flow­ers. Her touch of fire melt­ed Noah’s hard edges and made him long to lose con­trol in her arms, but was the sen­su­al web she wove only a tan­ta­liz­ing illu­sion that would dis­ap­pear with the dawn? Trailed by a black cat whose blue eyes shared Rhi­an­non’s hyp­not­ic pow­er, Noah tried to uncov­er the mys­te­ri­ous secret that had brought him to the small town, but he kept com­ing back to the lady whose lips tast­ed of moon­light. He’d shat­tered her peace, but Rhi­an­non feared he would nev­er belong. Could the fiery enchantress teach Noah the joy of believ­ing in dreams come true?

Except that the only enchant­ment here is just the age-old mag­ic between a studly guy and a drop-dead sexy lady that only hap­pens in romance nov­els, the only hyp­not­ic pow­er just the one that a beau­ti­ful woman can have over a man out of his ele­ment and feel­ing off-bal­anced in a strange sit­u­a­tion. Rhi­an­non isn’t even a prac­tic­ing witch, even though she looks the part, down to hav­ing a pet owl she named Mer­lin and that mys­te­ri­ous­ly-appear­ing black cat that is prob­a­bly the only mag­i­cal crea­ture in the entire story.

Still, this nov­el has a place in the col­lec­tion exact­ly because it does­n’t have those mag­i­cal or hyp­not­ic ele­ments, rather, because of how is makes use of those ele­ments in the adver­tis­ing ‘fla­vor’ text on the back of the book to help sell it and to help set that image in the read­er’s mind. Sure, this is a stereo­type, and a pret­ty strong one at that, but just because it is a stereo­type does­n’t mean I should ignore it.

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