Title: WICKEDLY DANGEROUS
Series: Baba Yaga #1
Author: Deborah Blake
Format: Mass Market Paperback:352 pages
Published: Berkley (September 2, 2014)
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them…
Older than she looks and powerful beyond measure, Barbara Yager no longer has much in common with the mortal life she left behind long ago. Posing as an herbalist and researcher, she travels the country with her faithful (mostly) dragon-turned-dog in an enchanted Airstream, fulfilling her duties as a Baba Yaga and avoiding any possibility of human attachment.
But when she is summoned to find a missing child, Barbara suddenly finds herself caught up in a web of deceit and an unexpected attraction to the charming but frustrating Sheriff Liam McClellan.
Now, as Barbara fights both human enemies and Otherworld creatures to save the lives of three innocent children, she discovers that her most difficult battle may be with her own heart…
"Uh, hi," she said, lifting a hand in greeting.
"Hi yourself," Liam said, feeling remarkably calm, under the circumstances. "Did you just walk out of that closet?" He looked her over, taking in her unusual attire, jewels, sword, and all. She looked exotic, stunningly beautiful, and in some intangible way, more herself than he'd ever seen her.
"Nice outfit. Special occasion?" He was fairly certain she hadn't just come from a costume ball. Unless it was one that involved some kind of giant pumpkin and a fairy godmother.
WICKEDLY DANGEROUS by Deborah Blake is a bewitchingly brilliant first full installment in the author's Baba Yaga series. The series is fractured retelling of the Russian Baba Yaga folk tales. I was recently at the Coastal Magic Convention where I was fortunate to catch this author on several panels. Her description of this series snagged my interest so as soon as I got home, I picked up the prequel and was totally hooked. That previous prequel, WICKEDLY MAGICAL, which was essentially a quick, fun intro into Deborah's embellished world of the Baba Yagas, did not include a romance. This one most definitely does in the form of a hot stud muffin sheriff and I ate it up! WICKEDLY DANGEROUS is the story of one of the three Baba Yagas stationed in the US, Barbara Yager, and small-town Sheriff Liam McClellan.
As the story begins, Baba Yaga has been summoned to find three missing children in a northeastern town where pro and con feelings are running hot over hydrofracking. Add in human and otherworld friends and vile and scary enemies and a seriously hot sheriff, and the resulting frothy brew adds up to a definite page turner. Seriously, I started reading it one morning and could not go to sleep that evening until I'd read the last word.
I loved the characters, the mundane and other worldly settings and the storyline that kept me on the edge of my seat worrying about those children, the crooked businessmen and politicians and the damage to mother earth that allowed the otherworldly villains to freely cross over. The sheriff was a broken individual who had been handed a bad turn. He craved normalcy; Baba Yaga was anything but - nevertheless, she was just what he needed! I couldn't get enough of their sexy banter. Oh! AND I would be remiss if I didn't mention her small dragon who masqueraded as a big dog.
Following please find a few of my favorite quotes from this bewitching read:
Stu looked over his shoulder at the trailer. "She seems like a nice old lady, but jeez, that's a big dog."
"Yes," said Liam. "But a small dragon."
"You were thinking about the hunky sheriff. I don't blame you. If I weren't a dragon, and a male one at that, I'd be drooling over him myself." He lifted his muzzle to look at her. "So what are you going to do about him?"
Baba sighed. "Probably something truly unwise."
"Excellent," Chudo-Yudo said. "About time. No one should be wise all the time. Not even a Baba."
"I love you," he said, holding her close and running his fingers through her tangled hair as if he couldn't believe she was still in his arms. "I think you've cast a spell on me, wicked witch that you are."
Baba thought that if this is what it meant to be wicked, she was all for it.
This series is wonderfully imaginative and the word building is visually stunning. Her descriptions of scenes puts the reader squarely in the middle of the action. I love a happy ending and am delighted to report that there is a very satisfying resolution... then the epilogue sets up the next book, WICKEDLY WONDERFUL. So... I would recommend that you have that next book handy. My copy is already on my night stand and I can't wait to start it! I would highly recommend WICKEDLY DANGEROUS to anyone who enjoys charming, wonderfully witchy urban fantasies with a large dash of magic!
Suggested Reading Order:
WICKEDLY MAGICAL (Book # 0.5)
WICKEDLY DANGEROUS (Book #1)
WICKEDLY WONDERFUL (Book #2)
WICKEDLY EVER AFTER (Book #2.5)
WICKEDLY POWERFUL (Book #3)