And now back to our regularly scheduled programming. Despite all my intentions to the contrary, I did get to read at least a few books in between all the writing and editing of the past two months… Sneaking in other people’s words like the true bookaholic I know myself to be. And I always said… it’s only a little while. A few hours don’t make that much of a difference. The enticement of free eBooks was just too much. My fellow authors on Twitter are such enablers.
In this case it was J.R. Barrett, on Twitter as @JuliaRBarrett, who made me the offer I couldn’t refuse. Her blurb had just the right mix of intrigue and romance to sweep me off my feet:
Sara Wise is sick of ghosts. They’ve haunted her since she was a child, destroying her family, endangering her life. When an incorporeal being appears in her shower, she curses him soundly and orders him out, but this ghost is sticky. Not only does he invade her shower, he moves into her home, invading her dreams, sharing her bed. The reluctant Sara finds herself falling in love with a dead man.
Despite Sara’s objections, Natan de Manua isn’t permitted to leave. Protecting the woman is both his penance and his means to redemption. She’s not easy to protect, she fights him nearly every step of the way, except in her bed. Nathan may have come to regain his soul, but instead he risks losing his heart.
I hadn’t ever read this kind of ghost story before, where ghosts are not the horrifying element.
Nathan stretched, feeling his long legs slide through soft, sweet-smelling cotton sheets. Ah, so much kinder to the skin that homespun linen. He opened his eyes with a start. He’d slept.
Only living men sleep. The dead never sleep. His heart pounding in chest, he turned to reach for Sara, but she’d gone, leaving a tangle of blankets behind. Rolling onto his back, he slid a hand beneath his head and stared at the ceiling.
This makes no sense. It’s not possible. He remembered his mother’s words. She’d spoken of a final gift.
I was a little leery of a story written from the perspective of an aspiring author; typically that speaks to a certain inexperience on the author’s part. In this case, I wasn’t distracted by that pursuit–except to understand it much more personally because of my own writing and editing process. All of Barrett’s characters are fully fleshed, with quirks and insecurities and a fully realized character development arc. The twist of having the ghosts of the story be the helpful, guardian types, while the “humans” represent the darker element was very well done.
I’m not even typically a great fan of contemporary romances; in this case having Natan originate from the bloodiest time of the Inquisition injected enough of the past to satisfy me. Even the resolution to the dilemma of how to give the two main characters their happily ever after was a twist I don’t think many will see coming.
I’m happy to recommend this to any romance junkie who’s willing to stretch their boundaries a little into the paranormal, as well as any urban fantasy addict who enjoys a bit more of the love story than the typical adrenaline rush that action provides. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with these characters, so for anyone else who’s curios about the wildly different ways you can experience this genre, Barrett provides a welcome escape into a world only slightly different from our own.