I received this book for free from Advance Reader Copy, NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sweetwater and the Witch by Jayne CastleSweetwater and the Witch by Jayne Castle
Series: Ghost Hunters #15
Published by berkley on September 20, 2022
Genres: Sci Fi Romance
Pages: 304
Format: eBook
Source: Advance Reader Copy, NetGalley

Welcome to the world of Harmony, where—despite its name, things are anything but—danger lurks just beneath the surface in this new novel by New York Times bestselling author, Jayne Castle.

If there’s something Ravenna Chastain knows, it’s when to end things. And after she almost winds up the victim of a cult that believes she’s a witch, it’s easy to walk away from her dead-end career, ready for a new start. But where to find a job that would allow her to use her very specialized skill set? The answer is clear: she becomes a matchmaker.

But even a successful matchmaker can’t find someone for everyone, and Ravenna considers Ethan Sweetwater her first professional failure. After nine failed dates, Ravenna knows it’s time to cut Ethan loose. But Ethan refuses to be fired as a client—he needs one final date to a business function. Since Ravenna needs a date herself to a family event, they agree to a deal: she will be his (business) date if he will be her (fake) date to her grandparents’ anniversary celebration.

What Ethan fails to mention is that attending the business function is a cover for some industrial espionage that he’s doing as a favor to the new Illusion Town Guild boss. Ravenna is happy to help, but their relationship gets even more complicated when things heat up—the chemistry between them is explosive, as explosive as the danger that’s stalking Ravenna. Lucky for her, Ethan isn’t just an engineer—he’s also a Sweetwater, and Sweetwaters are known for hunting down monsters…

This is a Jayne Castle/Jayne Ann Krentz book that takes place on Harmony, her alien world that humans inhabit. Imagine a wormhole that landed in an abandoned planet that could host human life. But one day that gateway closes permanently. The settlers, the crews, the people on the planet were forever cut off from Earth. The planet’s ancient inhabitants had left behind underground cities made out of a green quartz and it enhanced almost everyone’s psychic side. However, after being cut off from Earth, the technology began to fail. So the settlers focused on survival and building up their world. Two hundred years later, Harmony is very similar to early 21st century Earth. But with psychic powers.

The book starts off with a bang. The heroine Ravenna works for the FBPI (Paranormal FBI) and was used as bait to take down a cult. She’s a witch who is about to be burned by the psycho cult leader…and her backup is late. She’s a pretty awesome heroine who saves herself. But this case makes her realize that she doesn’t love profiling the murderers the way she thought she would. So a change in jobs is in order. Moving into the matchmaking business makes sense as she’s still using her profiling intuition yet in a different form.

When Ethan Sweetwater uses Ravenna as his matchmaker, he knows right away that she is who he wants to be matched with. It takes nine failed matches for him to finally get Ravenna to agree to a date…to try to figure out why his matches never want a second date. She needs him too, though. She has a big family event and she can’t show up without a date, so she agrees to Ethan’s proposal of critiquing his dating technique which is at a black tie work event, while also using him as a fake boyfriend. What she doesn’t know is that he will be doing a tiny bit of spying, oh and he wants her to be his real girlfriend.

One thing I love about a Jayne Castle book is that almost always the men know they want the heroine, but she’s usually pretty independent and doesn’t want to commit. I love spending the book watching the hero show the heroine how good they could be together. This book has a lot going on in it, and I feel that Castle is able to make it work and pull it off. There are several threads to the main plot being woven together and it takes a deft hand to do it well.

When you read a Jayne Castle book, the read is quick, the characters feel real, and you don’t want to leave the world. In fact, I found a book in the series I hadn’t read and bought it just so I could live in this world just a little bit longer. This book can be read as a standalone, so don’t let the number fifteen in the series turn you away. However, I would recommend reading Guild Boss since it ties in so well with this book.

***ARC courtesy of Berkley via Netgalley