Annabelle Jacobs - All Hallows' Eve
Author: Annabelle Jacobs
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
Length: 81,000 words
Will a centuries-old broken heart ruin the promise of new love?
Dominic Ashworth is descended from a long line of witches, although the family practice of witchcraft died out generations ago. Forever connected to a dark history, the house he grew up in remained in the Ashworth family for generations until his estranged father sold it.
On a mission to check out the new owners, Dominic runs into Caleb Jones and gives the gorgeous man his phone number—but getting a date should be the last thing on Dominic’s agenda.
Caleb and his best friend, Zach Briceworth, are oblivious to the heartache and magic tied to the foundations of their new home. When strange things start to happen, the truth emerges and surprises them both, especially as everything revolves around Caleb’s new love interest.
After a shaky start, Caleb and Dominic settle into an easy relationship, falling faster than either of them expected. But with Halloween approaching, the possibility of danger increases. The past is not always as it seems, and the ripples of a tragic event threaten to put an end to everything between them.
Dominic jumped, startled, and turned to face the stranger jogging towards him. Tall, broad-shouldered, wearing black running shorts and a bright blue T-shirt, his short black hair—longish on top—stuck to his forehead in a sweaty mess. He came to a stop in front of the gate and leaned on it, breathing heavily. “Sorry … just need to … catch my breath.”
“A little hot for running, isn’t it?” Dominic’s gaze ran the length of the stranger’s body and he flushed as he caught himself.
“I don’t mind. Can I help you with something?” The guy then proceeded to lift the bottom of his T-shirt and wipe his face with it.
“Um.” Dominic swallowed. The flat, toned stomach on display reminded him of how long it had been since his last boyfriend. Although he used that term loosely. “Do you live here?”
The guy nodded. “Yeah, just moved in.”
Oh. So either Zach was living with his parents, or Briceworth senior had left his wife and moved in with a hot younger guy.
The guy narrowed his eyes as he looked at Dominic closely. “Why do you ask?”
The Sold sign lying just inside the gate on the ground caught Dominic’s eye. He smiled and attempted to look sheepish. It was always best to stick to the truth where possible, so he said, “Sorry, I was just curious. My sister and I used to live here, and when we heard it’d been sold, we wondered who’d bought it.”
The guy frowned at him and cocked his head to one side, clearly suspicious.
Dominic needed to nip that in the bud. He wouldn’t get any info if the guy thought he was a crazy stalker. “God, I’m not explaining myself well at all. My dad was the one who sold it to you. The place was in my family for generations. I haven’t spoken to my father in seven years. When we found out he’d sold the house, it was a bit of a shock, and I guess I just wanted to see who’d bought it. I don’t mean to come off as weird or anything.” He smiled and stuck out his hand. “Dominic Ashworth.”
The guy smiled back, took his hand in a firm grip, and shook it. “Caleb Jones. And it’s a little weird, but lucky for you I’m okay with that.”
I don't mind a creepy ghost story now and again, especially around Halloween. But this book isn't creepy as much as it is sad.
There are two stories at play in All Hallows' Eve: that of Caleb and Dominic, and that of Liam and Alexander.
Dominic comes from a long line of witches. Both he and his sister carry the "mark," a tattoo that's supposed to protect them against spirits, or one spirit in particular.
Caleb and his best friend Zach move into Dominic's old house. The house can be sold only within the family, meaning those who live there must have the mark. Zach does, but he has no idea what it means.
Dominic and Caleb begin seeing each other, but strange things begin happening at the house, which is clearly haunted. Zach and Caleb find the diary of one of Dominic's ancestors, Isaac, who tells the tale of his brother Alexander and Alex's lover Liam.
I liked the paranormal/mystery aspect, which wasn't too heavy handed. The story of Alexander and Liam is rather tragic, but it does have a resolution.
I was less thrilled with Caleb and Dominic's romance. Their interactions seemed rushed and truncated. One of them was always leaving to do something else, it seemed, and I never felt the connection or chemistry between them. There is no slow burn, as the two get their freak on almost immediately. Mind, I use the term "freak" loosely, as this book is rather low on the steam.
All Hallows' Eve isn't really scary, but the ghost story is interesting. Recommended for a mildly spooky read.
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