As far as insta-love goes, I rather enjoyed this one. It actually travels from meeting, to attempted murder, to connection, then the insta-love finally happens. It was the fact that there were other things going on that stopped the insta-love from being its typical boring eye-rolling nonsense. That being said it’s not fleshed out enough for a short story. Like it’s trying to be more than what it is, although that helps balance out the insta-love it ultimately takes away from the plot because there isn’t enough of it.
Someone is trying to kill Tarquin, we have no real idea why. And the biggest problem with this is, (spoiler coming maybe… not sure), is that it’s clearly obvious a regular mage’s spells have zero effect on him. It’s stupid-hard to believe that a mage would think a cursed document could do-in a Dragon and even more impossible to get on board with them attacking a Dragon in its true form. A fully fleshed out villain arc would be needed to sell this and even then in a world with Fae, psychics, vampires and the like, a Mage would know what his/her power can and can’t do.
The mother is apparently sick enough for at one point in the story to have a nurse cooking her food. Other than depression from her boyfriend absconding with her money and leaving her home a wreck, she never once behaves like something is wrong with her. If this, beyond the theft, contributes to why Alaric has come home to be with her more specifics including her having a hospital checkup or something are needed otherwise, like me, a reader will end up searching for this mystical ailment.
Alaric says he isn’t mad about following his father to America but then there’s this big massive conversation with his mom at the end about how neglected his father made him feel and how he wouldn’t allow Alaric to visit. Basically, he did not like living with his father so this was a big contradiction.
As a Fae, just randomly saying Cariste is good at finding things and not delving into how that special skill is probably why she and Tarquin gell so well was like why tell us at all? How do their skills play into what they do for him? Or at the very least explaining that it’s one of their special talents amongst other magical qualities that come in handy for his business instead of a one-off.
When you add up the lack of depth behind the main villain, the mom’s mysterious sickness, Cariste’s unexplained ability to find things all you have left is the insta-love. With only that it’s not quite fluffy enough to hold the story. Unfortunately, the plot-driven part needed more depth and detail. If not it needed to be removed but then Alaric and Tarquin part would need to be fleshed out more. No matter how you look at it, both sides of this story didn’t have enough depth to make it more than ‘okay’. It definitely felt like it needed to be more than what it was, not full-length-book more but def a few more chapters to address the gaps.
If you’re looking for a light read that you don’t really have to focus your brain into this story can work, but it definitely felt like it had the groundwork for something bigger but was forced into a tiny package.