After Jayne Ann's last three efforts under her Krentz name and Quick penname, I was in despair. She is one of my favourite writers, but she had lost of heart, I feared. The books spent more time talking about food than romance, and her leads were tediously boring. In her aim to sell mainstream, she is killing her decades-long, devout romance fans with books that lack ROMANCE. Jayne needs to take time go back and read her own books such as “Wildest Hearts”, “Family Man”, and “Absolutely Positively”, to get "the mind scent back", find her roots.
That said, this was - to me - was a "make or break" book. If she did not come up with the old magic, I would likely move on to spend my monies on writers that are delivering. Well, I am SO DELIGHTED to say this book has the old Jayne Ann magic. And I hope this book is received better than the other "Harmony Books". I adored them all and see the JAK dazzle in there. It is in her off-world books “Amaryllis”, “Orchard”, “Zinnia” and “After Dark”, where you can still find the old JAK magic that pulls at the heart, that makes you smile. These books were not well-accepted, because she was AHEAD of the pack. Futuristic books with J. D. Robb, Robin D. Owens, C. J. Barry - and the new Dorchester line coming with Susan Grant and Kathleen Nance's books kicking it off - are selling like hotcakes, showing off-world books are the cutting edge. Meaning everyone else is JUST NOW catching up with JAK.
In this long awaited sequel to “After Dark” (2000), where we first met Emmett London and Lydia Smith, we pick up their lives a month after the pair had their last adventure. They have moved in together, with Emmett hoping to work Lydia into a Covenant Marriage, but fears Lydia's experience in the Alien Underground has permanently set her against "ghost-hunters" - people with the talent to channel and control the residual energy left behind by the race that once lived on New Harmony. And since Emmett is one of the best ghost-hunters, he fears this could tip their relationship into shattering. Worse, the head of the Guild - (union/government) for the ghost-hunters - has been wounded and Emmett has to step into his place to keep things running smooth.
Lydia is not happy with the limelight that is hitting Emmett as the new guild boss. especially not thrilled the press is dragging out the fact Emmett was engaged to marry the Guild's Boss wife. This prompts her to push Emmett into a MC - Marriage of Convenience - to protect him. Emmett is thrilled for he sees this as a chance to convince Lydia into making it a Covenant Marriage.
It has all the JAK special characters, the romance, the adventure that marks her best works. After being so disappointed by her last three books - and I am hoping this is a new streak starting for JAK that show she can "rez" them ghosts and fascinate us as she has for so long. It can be read alone, but you really should read “After Dark” to fully appreciate the fun. In fact, I suggest reading “Amarylliss”, “Zinnia” and ‘Orchid”, too! See JAK at her best!
Great Return to Harmony - just don't make it so long before the next visit, Jayne Ann, because this is where you are shining!