Book Review w/ Excerpts: Healed with a Kiss by Sharon Buchbinder

When the magical felines of Cat’s Paw Cove begin succumbing to a mysterious malady, Tessa and Brendan are forced to work together to find a cure. — Healed with a Kiss (Cat’s Paw Cove Book 20) by @sbuchbinder

Brendan returns home to Cat’s Paw Cove to recover from a bad breakup and to be with his sister when she gives birth to her twins. Far from being the relaxing cure-all he had hoped coming home is full of drama. His father, who walked out on his family when Brendan was a small child, has become closento to Brendan’s sister. While dealing with that, Brendan starts to fall for the beverage manager at the retirement home, and he has to deal with talking cats that have chosen to move into his rental cottage. Things become dangerous when his jilted lover comes to town to reclaim him and a deadly contaminant starts to make life difficult for people Brendan loves.  Reading this paragraph to myself, I have to wonder how I smiled all the way through the book, but I did. It was a great time.

I am not sure how I have managed to not read any book from this before. The idea is so much fun with all the magical beings and lore. That said, Brendan’s story, with his hopeful skepticism and scientific method, is the perfect intro into the series for me. I love when the supernatural can be explained so logically as simply SUPER natural. I squeed with delight when the mass spectrometer came into play. I do love a great fae story, but I enjoy being a real nerd. This allowed me to enjoy both.
 
Despite my late entry into the story, I have to say that I never felt left out or left behind. While talk about previous adventures made me want to read more of the books in the series, there was never a moment when I didn’t know what was happening.  The quirky characters, whether human, partly human, or all magical bring something fun into the story. It was easy to see that Tessa and Brendan belonged together from the start and it was fun to see them work through the problems trying to find a way to make that happen. All in all, this is a fun Valentine’s Day story.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Healed with a Kiss
Cat’s Paw Cove Book 20
by Sharon Buchbinder
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Brendan Redbird is a man of science and a medical professional. When this very uptight, predictable guy is adopted by a naughty talking cat (Tom) and his two brothers (Dick and Harry), Brendan’s life makes an unpredictable turn.Tom smacks a girl on the butt and lets Brendan take the blame. The only problem is the girl Tom smacked is a water nymph, Myrotessa, or Tessa for short. She isn’t about to let Brendan off with that ridiculous excuse. Tessa has healing waters and the gift of prophecy—but she did not see that coming.When the magical felines of Cat’s Paw Cove begin succumbing to a mysterious malady, Tessa and Brendan are forced to work together to find a cure. Along the way to helping others, they fix the cracks in their hearts—and are healed with a kiss.
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Externally, the cottage looked like all the other little houses on the street: a mirror image of Charly and Dylan’s Furever Home. Internally, however, all the required furnishings displayed eye-searing shades of neon green, orange, and pink. Even the refrigerator bore a paisley pattern in the same hues. No wonder the owners had been unable to sell the place. He rolled his bag into the one and only bedroom. He had to admit, the walls painted like Van Gogh’s Starry Night were impressive. He searched for the nightstand with the touted eye masks—and stopped.

Three bicolor cats lounged on the bed. One cat had not only a black moustache, but thick eyebrows, making him look like a feline Groucho Marx. Another stopped grooming his large ears to stare at Brendan. A third cat looked as if someone had given him a perm. Tight curls covered every inch of his body, including his tail—which he was chasing.

Speaking to himself, Brendan said, “I didn’t know the rental came with cats.”

“It doesn’t,” the feline that looked like Groucho replied. “You’re our human, and we’re your cats. I’m Tom, and these are my brothers, Dick and Harry.”

Holy guacamole! It’s a talking cat!

Buongiorno,” Dick said. “Welcome to la famiglia.”

Curly-haired Harry waggled his ears and pressed his nose with a paw and honked like a bicycle horn.

Brendan burst out laughing. “I don’t know how my sister did this, but this is the funniest prank I’ve seen in years.” He walked around the room, scanning the walls and furniture for hidden cameras. “I want the video. This should be on the Internet.”

“You do know you’re in Cat’s Paw Cove, right?” Tom asked. “A magical place where anything can happen and does?”

Brendan waved his hand at the felines. “You can stop fooling around now, Charly. I know you and Big D must have taken weeks to plan this.”

“Ahem.” Tom cleared his throat. “We are Sherwood cats, which means we are magical talking cats. Have you not met others like us?”

“You mean like Little Pie and Pizza Pie?” He ran his hand under the nightstand. “Charly has always been able to throw her voice. She did it as a kid, didn’t you, Charly? You can come out now.”

Tom smacked Brendan on the arm with a lightning fast thwap. “For a smart man, you are very dense.”

“Ow. What’d you do that for, Groucho?”

“My name is not Groucho. It is Tom. Would you like me to call you Red?”

Brendan rubbed the still stinging spot. “Wait until dinner, Charly. You are going to pay for this.”


At FFRH’s Valentine’s-Day-bedecked reception desk, Tessa glanced up from her conversation with Agnes. A tall, handsome man chatted with Grandma Redbird and Rory O’Brogan, and standing next to him were Big D and Charly. That must be Charly’s brother. The resemblance between the two redheads was unmistakable. His grandmother had been talking non-stop about Brendan when she’d heard he was coming to visit.

Grandma Redbird hadn’t been kidding about how good-looking he was—and tall. His grandmother looked like a child by comparison. Tessa wondered how much he’d been kidded about that bright red hair. Grandma Redbird had called him “Gingerbread Man.” Well, he looked tasty enough to eat. And he was a runner. His proud grandparent had told anyone in hearing distance how many marathons he’d been in, even the one in Boston.

Brendan snatched his wire-rimmed glasses off his face and used them to poke at the air in front of Rory. That couldn’t be good.

“I said I don’t want to see you,” Brendan shouted. “Grandma, how could you do this to me?”

“Brendan, please,” she begged. “Let the man speak.”

“Ye wouldn’t let me come to see ye—and yet, here ye are.”

“To see my sister and grandmother,” Brendan growled. “Not you.”

Agnes placed her tiny hand over Tessa’s. “Please do something. The Flower Girls are cowering by the ferns.”

Tessa nodded and strode out from behind the polished mahogany desk.

“Grandma Redbird,” she called as she approached the tense cluster. “This must be your grandson, Brendan.” She reached for his outstretched hand, the one holding his spectacles. “I’m Tessa Crinos. I’ve heard so many good things about you.”

He wrenched his glare away from Rory to her, and his expression changed from anger to confusion.

She held his clenched fist until it relaxed a bit. “Welcome to Feline Fine Retirement Home. We hope you enjoy dinner with us. I’m in charge of beverages, so if there’s anything in particular you’d like, let me know.”

As she spoke, a prophecy came to her. Brendan, dressed in a tuxedo, stood under a canopy. His warm brown eyes crinkled with a smile. A bride approached him, her identity hidden behind a heavy white veil.

He spoke, dissipating the vision. “Your tattoos changed to a darker blue. How did you do that?”

She shook her head and gave a little laugh. “Temperature sensitive.”

Before his arrival, Grandma had warned everyone he didn’t believe in Magicals or the supernatural. “A man of science,” the elderly woman had said, shaking her head. “Imagine that. He has no interest whatsoever in claiming his abilities—and scoffs at his sister’s and mine. Where did I go wrong?”

Brendan quirked an eyebrow. “I’ve never heard of color-changing tattoos before. Interesting. I’ll have to look that up.”

“Nanotechnology. It’s cutting edge.” Tess turned to Grandma Redbird. “Let me escort your party to the dining room. Our executive chef has prepared several options for our guests this evening.”

Clearly thinking Tessa was out of earshot, Brendan whispered to his sister, “Is she dating anyone?”

Thrilled at his interest, Tessa suppressed a giggle. She brought the group to the podium. “Meddy will take you to your table. Enjoy your meal.”

Grandma Redbird clutched her hand. “Thank you, dear.”

She winked at the gray-haired woman. “My pleasure.”

Brendan nodded and smiled at her. Her chest tightened and her stomach fluttered. Settle down, girl. A man of science won’t fall for a naiad, a freshwater nymph, even if she is a minor deity.

“Have a good evening.” She left, hoping he was still looking at her as she walked away. She glanced back—and his gaze snagged hers. Heat filled her cheeks. He was looking at me. He likes me, he really likes me. She wanted to skip, but kept a sedate pace, albeit with extra sass in her walk.


Tessa Crinos sat on the ledge of the fountain in Calico Court at sunrise and ran her fingers through the water. She asked the Potomoi, the gods of rivers and streams, to help her keep the waters of the fountain pure and to safeguard all the waters of Cat’s Paw Cove. When she finished her prayers and blessings, she rose and headed to Feline Fine Retirement Home, or FFRH. Today was a big delivery day, and as beverage manager, it was her job to make sure everything was in order. Goddess forbid that Agnes find something missing or that the wrong bottled waters had been delivered. The diminutive FFRH administrator would have Tessa’s head if anything was wrong. Who knew brownies could be so bossy? The Potomoi Assembly could have at least warned her before they assigned her to Cat’s Paw Cove and FFRH. She entered the spacious kitchen, said good morning to Malik, the executive chef, donned a jacket bearing her name—and stopped.

“Malik, where is that loud music coming from? It’s five in the morning.”

“I think it’s coming from the dining room. I arrived a few seconds before you.”

Tessa grimaced. “Wait until Agnes hears it!”

As if conjured by her name, a tiny woman dressed in a matching brown skirt and top with her name—Agnes—sewn on the blouse pocket, flung the dining room door open. Her bun was quivering; never a good sign. With a British accent that could either soothe or slice, she pointed at Tessa and said, “I need to speak with the two of you immediately.”

Turning, the diminutive administrator motioned for Tessa and Malik to follow her. 

Later, the dining room would be filled with Supernaturals clustered at their preferred tables and talking and laughing. Right at the moment, rock and roll music drowned out any chance of a normal conversation.

Agnes led Tessa to a long table beneath a large window. The table bore an assortment of Valentine’s Day decorations in miniature, along with a doll’s house. The house, a made to scale model of the Victorian style retirement home, had been decked out for a party—complete with tiny heart-shaped balloons, red and pink lights that blinked on and off, and a tiny jukebox.

Tessa yelled to be heard over the foot-tapping song. “How do we turn this thing off?”

Agnes shook her head. “We can’t until we agree to hold a Valentine’s Day party. The Decorators insist. Normally, we have special food and a festive dinner, but this year they want to go big with a rock and roll party from the fifties.”

“That only gives us two weeks to prepare,” Malik yelled. “I may be a jinni, but even some things are beyond my abilities.”

Tessa recalled an Under the Sea Ball she’d worked on with her cousins, the Oceanids. “Unless—”

“Go on,” Agnes exclaimed. “We’re waiting.”

“Years ago, I planned a huge party for Oceanus, but I didn’t do it alone. We had a small group that organized the event and energized everyone to participate. I bet if we ask Madame Jinniyah and Tatesta Redbird to co-chair a committee, they’d be happy to do it.”

Malik nodded. “Ever since Ynez moved to Orlando with Dexter, Madame Jinniyah has been at loose ends. She’d love a new project.”

Agnes frowned. “Tatesta would want to invite her grandchildren.”

Tessa clapped her hands and shouted, “The bigger the better!”

Malik stroked his chin. “That’s all well and good for the Supernaturals and their families, but what about the cats? They have lots of opinions—on everything.”

“No one should be left out. We’ll ask them to serve on the committee.”

“This is going to be huge.” Agnes rubbed her hands and smiled. “Harold and I will have such fun cleaning up after, we’ll be up all night.”

Tessa laughed. “It’s a win-win. How do we let the Decorators know we’ve agreed to hold the biggest Valentine’s Day bash FFRH has ever seen?”

The music stopped.

“Blessed silence,” Agnes breathed. “Their house heard us.”

Tessa leaned down near the jukebox. “My favorite artists from that era are Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley. I’d love it if you could play their songs.”

The tiny jukebox flashed its lights and played the first few notes of Johnny B. Goode.

Tessa smiled. “This is going to be so much fun. I can’t wait to get started.”

Sharon Buchbinder has been writing fiction since middle school and has the rejection slips to prove it. An RN, she provided health care delivery, became a researcher, association executive, and obtained a PhD in Public Health. She is the author of the Hotel LaBelle Series, the Jinni Hunter Series, and the Obsession Series. When not attempting to make students and colleagues laugh or writing, she can be found fishing, walking her dogs, herding cats, or breaking bread and laughing with family and friends in Baltimore, MD and Punta Gorda, FL.
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Tessa Crinos sat on the ledge of the fountain in Calico Court at sunrise and ran her fingers through the water. She asked the Potomoi, the gods of rivers and streams, to help her keep the waters of the fountain pure and to safeguard all the waters of Cat’s Paw Cove. When she finished her prayers and blessings, she rose and headed to Feline Fine Retirement Home, or FFRH. Today was a big delivery day, and as beverage manager, it was her job to make sure everything was in order. Goddess forbid that Agnes find something missing or that the wrong bottled waters had been delivered. The diminutive FFRH administrator would have Tessa’s head if anything was wrong. Who knew brownies could be so bossy? The Potomoi Assembly could have at least warned her before they assigned her to Cat’s Paw Cove and FFRH. She entered the spacious kitchen, said good morning to Malik, the executive chef, donned a jacket bearing her name—and stopped.

“Malik, where is that loud music coming from? It’s five in the morning.”

“I think it’s coming from the dining room. I arrived a few seconds before you.”

Tessa grimaced. “Wait until Agnes hears it!”

As if conjured by her name, a tiny woman dressed in a matching brown skirt and top with her name—Agnes—sewn on the blouse pocket, flung the dining room door open. Her bun was quivering; never a good sign. With a British accent that could either soothe or slice, she pointed at Tessa and said, “I need to speak with the two of you immediately.”

Turning, the diminutive administrator motioned for Tessa and Malik to follow her. 

Later, the dining room would be filled with Supernaturals clustered at their preferred tables and talking and laughing. Right at the moment, rock and roll music drowned out any chance of a normal conversation.

Agnes led Tessa to a long table beneath a large window. The table bore an assortment of Valentine’s Day decorations in miniature, along with a doll’s house. The house, a made to scale model of the Victorian style retirement home, had been decked out for a party—complete with tiny heart-shaped balloons, red and pink lights that blinked on and off, and a tiny jukebox.

Tessa yelled to be heard over the foot-tapping song. “How do we turn this thing off?”

Agnes shook her head. “We can’t until we agree to hold a Valentine’s Day party. The Decorators insist. Normally, we have special food and a festive dinner, but this year they want to go big with a rock and roll party from the fifties.”

“That only gives us two weeks to prepare,” Malik yelled. “I may be a jinni, but even some things are beyond my abilities.”

Tessa recalled an Under the Sea Ball she’d worked on with her cousins, the Oceanids. “Unless—”

“Go on,” Agnes exclaimed. “We’re waiting.”

“Years ago, I planned a huge party for Oceanus, but I didn’t do it alone. We had a small group that organized the event and energized everyone to participate. I bet if we ask Madame Jinniyah and Tatesta Redbird to co-chair a committee, they’d be happy to do it.”

Malik nodded. “Ever since Ynez moved to Orlando with Dexter, Madame Jinniyah has been at loose ends. She’d love a new project.”

Agnes frowned. “Tatesta would want to invite her grandchildren.”

Tessa clapped her hands and shouted, “The bigger the better!”

Malik stroked his chin. “That’s all well and good for the Supernaturals and their families, but what about the cats? They have lots of opinions—on everything.”

“No one should be left out. We’ll ask them to serve on the committee.”

“This is going to be huge.” Agnes rubbed her hands and smiled. “Harold and I will have such fun cleaning up after, we’ll be up all night.”

Tessa laughed. “It’s a win-win. How do we let the Decorators know we’ve agreed to hold the biggest Valentine’s Day bash FFRH has ever seen?”

The music stopped.

“Blessed silence,” Agnes breathed. “Their house heard us.”

Tessa leaned down near the jukebox. “My favorite artists from that era are Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley. I’d love it if you could play their songs.”

The tiny jukebox flashed its lights and played the first few notes of Johnny B. Goode.

Tessa smiled. “This is going to be so much fun. I can’t wait to get started.”

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