By Brigid Kemmerer
Available now from Kensington
I loved Brigid Kemmerer's Elemental series (even if I think it didn't entirely stick the landing), so I'm not sure why I let THICKER THAN WATER languish on my Kindle so long. When I did start it, I devoured it in a single sitting.
When the book opens, Thomas Bellweather is getting ready for his mother's funeral. She was strangled in her bed while he was home. He is, understandably, a suspect. He doesn't realize how much everyone in his new home suspects him until he shoves Charlotte Rooker aside when she accidentally causes him to flash back to finding his mother's dead body. This arouses the wrath of her older, overprotective cop brothers.
What follows is a Romeo and Juliet story that fits the forbidden love pattern that showed up so often in the Elemental series. Because I was familiar with Kemmerer's other books I suspected a paranormal twist was coming, and I wasn't wrong. While THICKER THAN WATER shares much of the appeal of Kemmerer's debut series, it has its own strengths.
Thomas is wonderfully free of guile. He's been stripped to the bone by the changes in his life, and all he wants are answers - and Charlotte. Charlotte, meanwhile, is struggling to define herself in a paternalistic family and worries if her attraction to the "bad boy" really is as dangerous as everyone else says. Thomas is thrilled to find someone who believes him, but even Charlotte has her doubts. I found it realistic that she questioned her instinct to just believe him because he seemed to be telling the truth, but at the same time it makes some of her decisions dumb even from her own point of view.
THICKER THAN WATER is a standalone novel, although the ending leaves some ends open for a potential sequel. I was very satisfied with the ending, but I must admit I'd love another story about Thomas and Charlotte.