Title: Deadlines and Dryads (A Terra Haven Chronicles Prequel)

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services/Rebecca Chastain

Author: Rebecca Chastain

Pages: 160 pp

Price: Free/$2.99 (ebook) / $7.99 (paperback)*

Kylie Grayson is a junior reporter at the Terra Haven Chronicle, and she is determined to make her mark. When reports come in that the dryads in the Emerald Crown Grove are attacking people and driving them from the woods -- aberrant behavior for the normally peaceful, reclusive nymphs -- Kylie decides to investigate. Accompanied by her loyal gargoyle friend, Quinn, she sets out for the Grove ... only to run right into Captain Grant Monaghan of the Federal Pentagon Defense squad ... and he has some bad news about what is really driving the dryads into a berserk rage ....

Chastain became one of my favorite authors after I discovered her Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles. I fell in love with that world, and I was very reluctant to leave it when I finished the last story. (See my series review here.) Therefore, I was thrilled when Chastain announced her intention to return with a whole new series. So, I bided my time ... and waited ....

And now the waiting is over!

Deadlines and Dryads is packed with everything that initially drew me to the Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles: strong world-building, unique magic, derring-do and narrow escapes, and well-rounded characters. Kylie could so easily have come across as a Lois Lane caricature, but fortunately does not; she is so much more than that; she is a good person trying to make the world a better place through her writing and investigative journalism. When she realizes what she has stumbled across in the Emerald Crown Grove, and just how much danger she is in, she doesn't cut her losses and run; she stays to help the dryads and Grant.

Ah, yes. Grant. The Captain of Terra Haven's Federal Pentagon Defense squad, he is a full-spectrum magic-wielder -- meaning he can wield the powers of earth, air, fire, wood, and water equally. (In contrast, Kylie has passable abilities in air and water, and hardly any ability with the other elements at all.) Grant is powerful, physically-imposing, heroic, humble, and compassionate. One certainly cannot fault Kylie in the slightest for her unrequited crush on him.

Or is it unrequited? 

Chastain's books can best be described as alternate history/urban fantasy/romance. The romance is there, but it is a slow burn. Unlike many paranormal romance novels, which jump right into lust-at-first-sight, Chastain gives her characters a chance to get to know one another. Is Kylie attracted to Grant? Definitely. But she has more important things to do than jump into bed with him -- like, you know, save the dryads, save the city, and save her career.

I lucked out with the Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles. That series was already complete when I discovered it. Such is not my luck this time around. Now I have to sit and wait for Kylie and Grant (and Quinn's) next adventure. Phooey!

Highly recommended to fans of Chastain's other books, as well as fans of Jolene Dawe, Devon Monk, Tina Gower, Annie Bellet, Lindsey Buroker, RL Naquin, and Shannon Mayer.


* Note that the ebook edition of Deadlines and Dryads is currently only available as part of the boxset Elementals on Amazon. The print edition can be purchased through Barnes and Noble.