Ahhh, the joys of Paranormal Romance.  Where the men are handsome, the women are lovely, and the Frozen Magic Vikings are plentiful!  Okay, that’s not really fair — while the PR genre does seem to overflow amusingly with “Viking Stud Frozen In Time Who Emerges Into Present Day” stories, today’s offering, Gentlemen Prefer Witches by Nick Pollotta, is in fact 100% Frozen Viking free.  It’s also an excellent book with some very interesting story choices on display.

Originally released as “Belle, Book and Candle” but revised shortly thereafter, this book is the story of Clarissa Hammond, or “Rissa” for short, a young woman from Chicago who travels to Savannah, Georgia to seek out her elusive and mysterious grandmother, and finds much much more than she expected.   As one might expect from a romance novel, she meets and starts a whirlwind romance with a handsome young millionaire, Emile “Colt” Coltier, who is an engaging and interesting character in his own right, and not just a simple slab of wealthy erotic-fantasy beefcake.

That being said, this book does have a considerable amount of explicit erotic content, and is most assuredly not for younger readers.  These romantic scenes do find a nice balance of sizzling heat and tasteful description, moreso than most romance novels that you’ll find on the store racks these days, and the relationship dynamic between Rissa and Colt is quite sweet and believable, with Pollotta doing a nice job of conveying the two characters’ chemistry together.

This book is also a pleasant surprise with some of its little touches that make the characters more accessible than your typical bodice-ripper cast.  Rissa is presented as having a realistic and healthy figure, not some stick-thin Barbie with silicone implants stapled on.   Her best friend (and important supporting character) Melissa is lovingly described as a “BBW” or Big Beautiful Woman, fully in command of her sexual presence, with an enticing collection of body tattoos.  If anything, Melissa tends to steal any scene she’s included in, and I would’ve liked for her role in the book to be expanded.  Heck, if Pollotta ever decides to return to this setting or cast later, Melissa would make an excellent protagonist in her own right.  It’s also a nice touch that Rissa’s status as the book’s protagonist is never put into question — she is the primary mover of the plot, and she’s the one who rescues her Boyfriend in Distress, rather than getting relegated to Damsel duty.

As the book goes on and the plot unfolds, the erotic content starts to take a back seat to the paranormal action, as Rissa and Colt get caught up in an all-out war with a Vampire Mage who is after the McGuffin that Rissa carries, and unlike many romances, the climax of the book is an action scene rather than a sex scene.  If you’ve read Pollotta’s Illegal Aliens or “Bureau 13″ novels (and I suggest that you do), you’ll see that he’s very comfortable writing these all-out action scenes, and the action in this book in particular does not disappoint one bit.

A superb blend of honest humanity, hip-churning erotica, and intense paranormal action, Gentleman Prefer Witches is an excellent Threat To Your Wallet, and definitely worth not only your time and your money, but also your imagination.