Silver Skin - D.L. McDermott

This is the second book of the "Cold Iron" series. It features Helene Whitney & Miach McCeht who met through the mutual friends whose story was told in book #1.

Since then, Helene's life has been turned upside down & it's a steep learning curve. Talk about alternate realities. Usually you just have to deal with a friend's taste in boyfriends or shoes but she's had to accept her BFF Beth is a Druid & part of a hidden world of immortals locked in an ancient battle of good vs evil. Whoa...maybe she'll have that drink. Or six.

There's still much she doesn't understand & would rather keep her distance from the whole frightening mess. But there's a problem. Lately she's been losing time, hours of each day she can't account for. With Beth in Ireland, there's only one person she can turn to...a man who is equal parts scary & intriguing. 

She met Miach through Beth's partner Conn & felt the instant mutual attraction. Miach is a sorcerer, one of the Fae who can glamour humans & getting involved would lead to madness so she has ignored his persistent advances. Now she needs his help.

Miach quickly determines she has a geis, an invisible spell that compels her to follow the instructions of the fae who marked her. Helene works at a museum in Boston & he suspects she's being used to gain access to ancient celtic artefacts needed to open the door between 2 worlds. 

Centuries ago, some of the Royal Fae were banished to another world by druids & they're more a little pissed. They want to return & assume their rightful place of ruling over the pathetic (and expendable) humans. But first they need a druid to assemble the solstice gate hidden in the basement of the museum (aah...so that's where that went...).

Miach is more than happy to offer Helene his protection but it may come at the cost of her sanity. As an immortal, he's not really into monogamy, more of a "good time, not a long time" type of guy. But when he discovers she has another more dangerous geis, it becomes a matter of life & death, leaving her with little choice. Let the games begin. 

Each book focuses on the romantic relationship of one couple while continuing the overall arc of the struggle to contain the evil Fae. Boston is a hotbed of "good" fae, those who have chosen to assimilate into today's world & understand the the carnage that would result if a door is opened. There are many returning characters with new ones introduced in each instalment. The author continues her world building & long passages are devoted to celtic mythology & the bloody history between Fae & druids.

I thought the first book was pretty average. It featured Beth & Conn with Helene & Miach as secondary figures but even then, they were more interesting. I found Beth a bit wimpy but Helene is a stronger character & the perfect foil for edgy, slightly dangerous Miach. 

There are several subplots involving Miach's multi-generational family & their ties to other clans who are part of Boston's criminal underworld. Many have hidden agendas & it's not immediately apparent who are good guys & who's on Team Evil. But as they race toward the inevitable showdown, all will have to choose sides & betrayal can come from those who are closest. 

This is an easy, fast paced urban fantasy combining romance & mythology. Yes, it's an HEA but each book is complete unlike all those annoying series where the writer sells their book three chapters at a time with a preponderance of cliff hangers. It's not necessary to have read the first one as the author repeats much of the back story. 

So if you're into folklore, action & romance and in need of a little escape from reality that won't tax the old grey matter, put this on your TBR list.