Series: Boudreaux

Easy Fortune by Kristen Proby

Easy Fortune by Kristen ProbyEasy Fortune by Kristen Proby
Series: Boudreaux #5.5
Published by Ampersand Publishing on May 30th 2017
Pages: 66
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Lena Turner has spent her life as the outsider. Thanks to her extraordinary gifts, she’s learned to be independent—especially when it comes to men. She’s content to live her life in New Orleans as a schoolteacher, dating casually and dedicated to her small family. Long term is not part of her plan. Sometimes the past catches up with you…

Leaving Lena behind to pursue his career was the most difficult thing Mason Coulter ever did. He told himself that it was for the best, had even convinced himself that he had only Lena’s best interests in mind. But now, after six long years, he’s back in New Orleans to settle his late eccentric aunt’s estate. All he has to do is get in and out of the city without submitting to the need to see Lena. But to Mason’s dismay, his aunt made other plans. And sometimes the future and the past collide… Having Mason walk back into her life is something Lena never saw coming. She could refuse to help him, but she’s never been good at telling Mason no. So she’ll do what she can to get the estate settled and Mason out of her life for good. At least, that’s the plan. But Mason has plans of his own…

‘Easy Fortune’ is, well, an easy read and incredibly short even for a novella. It packs a second-chance romance, a cute treasure-hunt and a resolution that’s too neatly wrapped-up with promises of true love after a week of sex and fun, though I do think it would have been better had it been a longer, more-drawn out story that wouldn’t have otherwise, put an easily-forgiving female protagonist and a selfish bastard of a male main character back together easily.

But that’s cynical, jaded ol’ me speaking and I’d be the first to raise my flag in support of the mantra that second-chances romances have a hell of a lot to prove before they actually satisfy. Maybe I just wanted an extended time of grovelling and a taste of Mason’s own medicine shoved down his throat; maybe I wanted more than just sex that heated the sheets but a deeper development that went past a treasure hunt and a letter that pretty much explained to the MCs why love is important and why both characters should be together.

My problem with this particular second-chance story is that Mason’s apology and return to Lena’s life really felt like an afterthought: circumstances had brought him back to where he used to be not because of choice and that his meeting with Lena (and subsequent apology) would not have happened because he never would have sought her out of his own will independently. Throughout, I couldn’t help but think that he was nothing but a self-serving idiot—leaving the woman to pursue his dream without even managing to bother with an explanation when she would have been supportive of him—especially he’d presumptuously and genuinely thought he leaving her without a word really was the best decision for her.

It didn’t seem like a decision that anyone sensible could come back from (let alone easily), particularly after the emotional damage Mason did to Lena, which was why her easy forgiveness of his thoughtless actions left me incredulous, as it merely felt like a hurdle the author wanted to get over and done quickly with before they could move forward together.

The only saving grace, perhaps, was that Lena left in the end yet even so, I was left sceptical in the manner in which Mason came back after trying to redeem himself in a (laughably) big way.

My rant could go on and on. But it’s not a new argument that I’m rehashing against second-chance romances because there are so many things that make this particular trope problematic for me. ‘Easy Fortune’ sadly, isn’t quite one that I could swallow hook, line and sinker.


Easy Magic by Kristen Proby

Easy Magic by Kristen ProbyEasy Magic by Kristen Proby
Series: Boudreaux #5
Published by Inc. on April 4th 2017
Pages: 228
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Family. Responsibility. Stability.

As the co-CEO of Bayou Enterprises, and the eldest of the Boudreaux clan, Beau is the epitome of these. Now that his baby sister Gabby is happily settled down, Beau has moved into the company loft in the heart of the French Quarter to be closer to his office while his own home is built. He doesn’t have time for anything but the family he adores and the company that drives him.

If only the bewitching owner of the herb shop downstairs from Beau’s loft wasn’t so damn tempting.

Mallory Adams is living the life. The good life. The best life for her. After years of hiding who she is, and the gifts she’s been cursed with, Mallory opened her little shop in the French Quarter, offering herbs and lotions for anything from soothing a sunburn to chasing those pesky ghosts New Orleans is known for out of a client’s home. Some call her eccentric, and some say she’s simply odd, and that’s okay with her. She is a bit odd, but in her experience, all of the best people are.

When an old pipe bursts in the loft above her store, flooding her storeroom, Mallory comes face to face with Beau Boudreaux, and she doesn’t need the clairvoyant abilities that have been passed down through generations to know that she’ll never be the same. Beau is her exact opposite; serious, straitlaced. He wears suits for Pete’s sake and probably wouldn’t know the difference between arnica and flaxseed if his life depended on it. But when he touches her, the electricity is through the roof and she’s smart enough to know that a chemistry like theirs doesn’t happen every day.

Can two people so very different possibly find their way to happily ever after?

‘Easy Magic’ is everything I hadn’t expected and that kind of surprise is always a good thing. It’s unlike many contemporary romances – though Kristen Proby does a good job at keeping things mostly angst-free as her couples do talk things out honestly like adults – with a strong strain of the paranormal woven into this. That is also where the point of conflict is, though by and large, it’s a light-hearted book that steadily works a pairing towards their happy ending, as Proby’s books seem to do so.

I haven’t followed the Boudreaux series at all, but dived straight into this book because the blurb was frankly, irresistible. ‘Easy Magic’ takes place in New Orleans and the setting alone (given its history) makes the strange occurrences almost routine, as Mal finally finds someone who helps quiet her spiritual turmoil. The story skirts the edge of suspense but never really quite goes there even as it delves into paranormal practices that (let’s face it) make wide-eyed readers’ antennae spike straight up, which makes the book difficult to put down. Yet it’s not all strange ju-ju and inexplicable happenings; the supernatural threat is mentioned, shored up and destroyed all within a relatively short period of time as Proby focuses more on developing the relationship between Beau and Mal instead.

Overall, I was glad I hadn’t had a bored moment with this story; there’s definitely enough action to keep the pages going and the cliffhanger in the epilogue assures us that the next book is exactly what many readers of the series seem to be waiting for.