The Cursed is the first book in Alyssa Day’s new paranormal romance series, The League of the Black Swan. I have been a longtime fan of her Warriors of Poseidon series and couldn’t wait to see what this author had coming up next. This new series takes place in Bordertown, a magical community where the Demon, Fae and Human realms all connect. Hidden from human eyes, the supernatural creatures that make up this area have formed their own town. Living in the midst of wizards, fae and ogres is a human bike messenger named Rio Green. Or Rio Jones. Or on some days Rio Stephanopoulos. Actually, Rio doesn’t know who she is. Left on the doorstep of an orphanage when she was just an infant, Rio hasn’t a clue about her heritage. She has created a life for herself in Bordertown, delivering items via her bicycle, living in her bare bones apartment and hanging out with friends at the neighborhood tavern. When she sees a young girl being kidnapped in a back alley she knows there is only one place to go for help: Luke Oliver.
Luke, or Lucian Olivieri, is a private investigator in Bordertown. A private investigator with a curse. This dark wizard is the bastard son of the Borgia family and has to battle turning to the dark every day. Drawn to Rio from their first meeting he has tried to stay away rather than subject her to the darkness of his curse, but when she comes to him for aid he knows he has to do everything he can to help. Everyone seems to want to get a hold of Rio before her upcoming twenty-fifth birthday. The League of the Black Swan (I’m still not quite sure the exact dynamics of this group), fae royalty and even the demons, they all want to get their hands on her. Now Rio and Luke must work together to unravel her past and learn to work together as a team.
In my experience, the first book in any new series is hardest to get through, there is the introduction to the world building, so many new characters to remember, a plot to unfold and, oh yeah, a romance to develop. Usually I find that if I can dive in and enjoy book one then this bodes very well for the rest of a series…. and I had a lot of fun with The Cursed. From the first page I found myself being drawn into the pages and charmed by so many of the characters. Luke is initially a mysterious, lonely man who purposefully sets himself apart from everyone around him. He has incredible power, but always fears setting off his curse. Rio is lively, sassy and the complete opposite of Luke. As a couple they work well together. Their banter back and forth was full of sarcastic humor and sexual tension. Initially they team up to rescue the kidnapped little girl, but along the way the mystery builds as Rio draws the interest of so many different parties. Keeping her safe becomes Luke’s primary goal, but he soon realizes he has fallen quite hard for her and doesn’t want to let her go. Luke and Rio’s relationship develops rather quickly, but it never had the feeling of being rushed. The sexual tension quickly turns into some very hot sexy times, but I was just as riveted by the action as I was by the romance. Neither overshadowed the other and the pacing was perfect.
Every new character introduced was incredibly interesting. From Kit, the fox Rio rescues, to Alice, the mysterious woman who seems to know everything and pops up at the oddest times, to Rio’s best friend Clarice. I found myself drawn to each one and wanting to get to know them better. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, The Curse of the Black Swan, that will appear in the Enthralled anthology in July. I can’t wait to see where Alyssa Day takes this series next, she’s created such a compelling world and included such a dynamic cast of characters that I feel like this is sure to be a series I will keep on my TBR list. Final Grade- B
“You’re wrong. I’m not trying to run your life. I’m only trying to tell you what to do,” he said, and then his mouth fell open and a quizzical expression crossed his face.