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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Behind the Mask by Jacqueline Paige

Behind the Mask by Jacqueline Paige
Publisher: Amira Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short (57 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

In a fit of temper, Gracelyn’s only sister curses her so she’s forgotten the moment anyone turns away from her. Only one thing, an exact moment, can break the curse, but after years of failed attempts, she is forced to accept living her life completely alone.

Her world is calm and predictable until one Halloween night…one costume party…and one masquerading man changes everything.

Ever wonder what would happen if a sister’s jealousy got so out of hand she took action out of spite? And then something happened to prevent the victim from ever being cured? Forever? Behind the Mask takes you on that journey and answers that question.

This story reminds me of Sleeping Beauty but instead of a kiss to wake her up, she only needs to meet the right man. Arianna is so optimistic and forgiving, she never realized how bitter her sister was until it was too late. And ‘too late’ takes on new meaning when the action turns out to be a curse that seems impossible to break. Ms. Paige does a credible job of using chapters as a timeline to illustrate the various stages of emotion Arianna goes through in her search to be herself again. Hope, despair, acceptance and determination all take their place as the heroine deals with her new reality. Most of the story revolves around the journey without staying too long in one place thereby preventing boredom. The author gives just enough for a reader to see the Arianna grow as a woman.

Evan is a guy who wants to escape the rat race. He’s successful but the pressure is on him because of his sideline. What’s a guy to do when everyone wants a piece of him? He takes on a challenge, that in learning about his quarry, he realizes what has happened and is determined to find Arianna and cure her. Thing is, he can’t find her. It was interesting to read about the steps he takes to fix things and funny when it all comes together accidently. Evan has a romantic streak in him and although he is in the corporate world, has a whimsical side to him as well. Which bodes well when he decides to go with the flow at a party he throws; things get mixed up, heated up and become clear.

A component of this story that I enjoyed was the humor – light and sweet. In fact, the final chapter includes a lot of smiles and happiness for a variety of reasons which made for a very satisfying happily-ever-after when it finally all came together. I got that warm and fuzzy feeling from reading a story well told and Behind the Mask certainly is that. So if you are a reader who enjoys light paranormal romance with a character driven plot and a happy HEA, then give this book a try.