My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Dan Miller is a haint-worker, sending the unquiet dead over to the other side. Or at least he was, before his Mom died in the line of duty and his Dad committed suicide. Dan dropped out of college and came home to take care of his two younger siblings, Bea and Virgil, giving up haint-work forever. That is, until Leif Helsvin shows up with his black eyeliner and expensive sports car. Leif is looking for a necromancer, and he needs Dan’s help to track him down. Attracted to the handsome stranger, Dan picks up his wand and breaks all of his own rules.
Hainted is a page-turner. Once I picked it up, I could scarcely stop reading it. Hawk builds a fantastic setting in which supernatural elements mesh with real world small-town North Carolina . Dan’s conflict between wanting to keep his family safe and have a life of his own is believable and understandable and my heart went out to him several times during the course of the story as he struggled to remain in the closet for the sake of his siblings. Leif is a great bad boy with some secrets of his own, but he’s still very likable underneath his shields. I was definitely rooting for both of them to overcome their problems and find a way to be together.
There’s also a great supporting cast in this book. Siblings Bea and Virgil are given enough page time to be rounded and fleshed out characters, and the addition of haint-worker Taryn later in the book adds conflict and a group dynamic.
As I’ve said before, I love my romance to have a strong plot besides the romance, and Hainted gets the ratio of romance to plot absolutely perfect in my opinion. The romance is strong and believable but isn’t the only point of the book, and I found myself turning the pages as much to find out what Runar had in store for them as the romantic elements. The writing is strong and sets a vivid scene you won’t soon forget. Hainted comes strongly recommended.