“We can draw lessons from the past, but we cannot live in it.” – Lyndon B. Johnson
Title: When Will I See You Again
Author: Julie Lynn Hayes
Publisher: Amber Quill Press (Amber Allure)
Pages/Word Count: 254 Pages
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Blurb: Raoul Marchand is the crown prince of Charisma, the infamous night club in Crescent Bay, renowned for its supernatural clientele.
He has the pick of any and all men, but he cares for none. He uses them and throws them away again, and has done so for some twenty years, in the aftermath of a tragedy that robbed him of what he loved most in the world.
Alexx Jameson is an idealistic would-be reporter with the Crescent Bay Chronicle. Presented with an opportunity to write a story on the Marchands, he eagerly grasps the chance to be a real reporter. His friend, Chronicle receptionist Miller Fenwick, suggests they go to Charisma to do a little research. Alexx isn’t sure that’s such a great idea. After all, he’s still under age, being only twenty. No problem, Miller can fix that! Added bonus, there’s a full moon tonight.
When Alexx first encounters Raoul, it isn’t exactly in the way he dreamed of, and he’s sure he made a terrible first impression. But Fate throws them together under unforeseen circumstances, and the attraction between them can’t be denied.
Can Raoul let go of the past long enough to find his future with Alexx, or is he doomed to repeat past mistakes?
Review: As a young man, Raoul fell deeply in love with Jaime Mckenna, only to have their time cut drastically short due to a mysterious accident. In the twenty some years since that relationship, Raoul has systematically closed himself off to the idea of ever having another relationship and instead, exists on one night stands to soothe his needs for physical contact. Part of a were culture that by use of a stabilizing drug retains their own human awareness while in wolf form, Raoul is most assuredly the “catch” of the pack. But he is essentially a lone wolf, wounded, angry and despairing.
On the other side of town, a young mailroom worker is hoping for his first break into news reporting for the Crescent Bay Chronicle. Alexx, orphaned at a young age, has left behind his rather lonely existence, and after literally picking a place on the map, he began a new life in the small community. Now, given a chance to cover the biggest annual social event for paranormals, Alexx finds himself lying about his age to get a glimpse at the popular Raoul Marchand.
However, left to his own devices, Alexx stumbles upon a dangerous situation and flees into the very woods that Raoul is using for his monthly run in his wolf form. One thing leads to another, and the two men are thrown together by deadly circumstances and find themselves in a race to discover who or what is killing men and planting evidence leading straight back to Raoul.
This story had all the elements needed for a good paranormal romance. Along with handsome and angst-ridden main characters, there were the makings of a good murder mystery laid out from the start of the novel. The plot actually branched out into several directions, including the idea of reincarnation and the possibility that the spirit of the dead can be “reborn” into future generations. I really admire this author for attempting to bring so much to what admittedly can be a tired genre. I enjoyed the men she created for us. Both Raoul and Alexx were multi-layered, and you were able to see them change and grow throughout the story. Their love felt genuine even though it was admittedly a bit rushed. Ms. Hayes danced around the idea that Alexx could be Raoul’s mate and allowed for the idea that Alexx’s mere presence was soothing for the werewolf and hence, calmed Raoul’s frazzled nerves.
I found myself thinking again and again that all the right pieces were present for a compelling paranormal mystery and perhaps were I not an admitted mystery lover, I would have enjoyed this novel much more. However, fairly quickly I found myself easily unraveling the clues left by the author, and suddenly the excitement that should have been paramount in this type of story fell a bit flat. I felt that the mystery element was just a bit transparent, too easily solved, and that, in turn, made me antsy to get to the end.
While the growing love interest between Raoul and Alexx felt genuine, it seemed to develop so quickly—too quickly—and that detracted from the validity of it. Coupled with this was the reincarnation element that I felt never really came to fruition. Instead, the idea was merely danced around, never completely embraced by the characters or fully developed by the author.
In short, When Will I See You Again by Julie Lynn Hayes was a good paranormal romance but a weak mystery with a fleeting reincarnation theme. However, I believe this author has such amazing potential as a storyteller, so I, for one, will be watching for her future work.