I received this book for free from Caffeinated PR in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Ever After by Kate SeRine
Series: Transplanted Tales #4
Published by Kensington Books on December 14, 2022
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, Retelling, Paranormal Romance
Source: Caffeinated PR
"Kate SeRine knows how to pack a punch!" --Donna Grant, New York Times bestselling author
To Catch a Thief. . .
For centuries, Gideon Montrose has served the King of Fairies without question and, often, without mercy. So when the King orders him to apprehend a notorious thief, Gideon obeys. But when he finally gets his hands on the beautiful culprit, Gideon's in for a shock.
Arabella Locksley is none other than the spirited, unpredictable woman he knew back in Make Believe as Robin Hood--the love of his life whose tragic death destroyed his chance at Happily Ever After.
Now, he has an impossible choice. Betray the woman he once loved, or the king he's bound to serve?
"Totally new and entertaining." --Kate Douglas
My top thoughts:
I’m continuing to love this series and the way Kate SeRine has reinvented fairy tale / folk tale classics. In Ever After we have a heart wrenching second-chance romance between Robin Hood and her Little John.
What I liked/didn’t like:
We already met Little John in the previous books – his name is actually Gideon – but this is the first that we get even a glimpse of this part of his story. I don’t want to spoil anything, which makes this hard to write, since so much of who he truly is was a surprise for me. I loved getting to know him better and his love for his Arabella (aka Robin Hood) was heart melting. He has believed her dead for hundreds of years (the fairy tales don’t die of old age) and while he has loved again, he’s never fully given his heart to anyone else.
Somehow – and you’ll enjoy learning the how – Arabella is not dead and still loves Gideon too. But there are several things standing in their way — things she knows but tries to spare Gideon. Watching them fight for their love made me fall in love with them. Things get quite steamy, but the heart strings were most powerful in this book. If you’re someone who loves love — the good, the bad, the heartbreaking — this book hits all the right notes and weaves an emotional web.
But it also broke my heart. The obstacles in their way were devastating and dangerous – leading to some pretty amazing action scenes, including a showdown at the Fairy King’s castle. The tangled web of fairy tales — Robin Hood along with Arthurian Legend — not to mention the tales we’ve already met and get to see more of (yay!), continues to surprise me with how inventive but also how fitting they stories are.
I cannot wait to read the next book and see who else Kate SeRine makes me fall in love with!
Transplanted Tales Series
Better Watch Out (coming 2023)
Excerpt from Ever After (Transplanted Tales #4)
“This was a mistake.”
“Well, I guess that’s the theme of our relationship,” I mumbled. “And I made the biggest mistake of all, believin’ y’ever cared for me.”
The sting of her open palm connecting with my cheek caught me off guard.
“Say what you want about the mistakes I’ve made,” she raged, her cheeks growing red with indignation. “There’s certainly no shortage of them. But don’t you ever question how much I loved you! By doing so you insult us both.”
I stared at her, literally struck mute.
When I didn’t speak, she swallowed a sob and turned away. “I have to go,” she called over her shoulder. “I’ve already stayed too long.” Her hurried steps carried her a few yards before I blew out a harsh sigh and let fly a stream of juicy curses, knowing I was a glutton for punishment even as I went after her.
“Arabella! Wait!” I grabbed her arm, bringing her to a stop but releasing her when the wounded look in her eyes cut me to the core. I put my hands on my hips, staring at my feet as I debated what to say, not willing to look her in the face, afraid that if I met the eyes I adored, I’d lose myself in them.
I’d never stopped loving her, had never stopped thinking about her. As ridiculous as it seemed, some part of me had always held out hope that she’d somehow miraculously return. And here she was, right before me. She said she didn’t know what had happened to her, what had kept her away . . . And I wanted to believe it. My long-broken heart whispered bitter words, telling me to walk away and never look back, that that part of my life was over.
But it was a lie. That part of my life would never be over. She’d filled my heart in a way no woman ever had or would again. And I wasn’t about to piss on that by turning her away when she clearly needed me.
“What trouble are y’in?” I asked, forcing my voice to be gentle.
“It’s my concern,” she said with a sniff, making me feel like an irredeemable jackass for bringing her to tears. “I didn’t come here to beg you to help me or to drag you into my mess. I just . . . I just wanted to see you again. I dream of you, of us, every night, Gideon. When I close my eyes, your face is all I see. I know you don’t believe me, but I did love you—I still do. I always will.”
I felt my chest tighten at her words, wanting so desperately to believe her. I risked raising my gaze to hers, gauging her sincerity. To my surprise, she actually seemed to be telling the truth.
Damn me to hell, but I was gonna fall for her all over again. Even though I was furious and hurting and knew with certainty that I was bound for heartache again, I was powerless to stop it. But she didn’t have to know that. And I’d make sure she didn’t. I’d managed to keep my emotions in check all these years, had learned to maintain the stoic silence that was required of my servitude to the king. I never imagined I’d need those skills to guard my heart. And when she left again—as she’d already admitted she would—I’d at least be able to maintain my dignity.
In the meantime, I couldn’t abandon her now any more than I could the day we’d met. What nobility remained a part of me forbade it. I’d be a friend to her. Just a friend. I owed it to what we’d once shared to at least try to accept that whatever had happened to her, whatever mysterious force had kept her from coming to me, she was here now. And she needed my help.
I smoothed my hand down her arm, drawing her closer, shoving aside all my feelings of anger and betrayal to focus on quieting the fear I saw in her eyes, on being the friend she needed me to be at this moment. “Tell me what’s happened to you, lass. Let me help you. I’ll talk to my king. I’ll do whatever I can. You know I will. Just tell me what you’ve done.”
The look she gave me was agonized, torn. Finally, she nodded and slipped her hand into mine, little sparks of desire firing off in my blood at the touch of her skin. “Let me show you.”
About the Author
Kate lives in a smallish, quintessentially Midwestern town with her husband and two sons, who share her love of storytelling. She never tires of creating new worlds to share and is even now working on her next project — probably while consuming way too much coffee.
Enter to win a $25.00 egift card. Winner’s choice of Amazon, iBook, Kobo or B&N. Giveaway ends January 27, 2023.