Let me set the tone for you with the characters first.
You have Shane, a saucy redhead with an attitude to match, that has a hellbent determination to start off on an adventure that won't leave her bored and wanting. She is the heroine of our tale.
For her, life in Miami isn't very appealing anymore and she is off to the North Carolinian countryside to start anew. By anew, I mean some sort of winery/vacation house (Apparently I am the only one in the world who hasn't established that wine is incredibly awesome. So this is me taking notes.) that she was given by a client in exchange for a clearing of their debt. She drops the boyfriend, she vacations from her business, and she prepares for a waging war on rest and relaxation. (Miss Independence should be her theme song!)
Shane is a likable character. She has a sense of humor, a smart ass attitude, and a no nonsense way about her. She is incredibly strong willed but seems to be lacking purpose. I think that is the cause for her boredom. She meets Mr. Blackfox (Our other hero) for the first time, at her new house and she presents herself in a rather rude fashion, which is very unlike her character (At least in my opinion). Being misinformed about the estate she was given, seeing and hearing things that aren't there, and then being bombarded by a hot, very angry stranger, will do that to a girl though. lol This is the part in the story where she exchanges her flip flops for her "beat 'em" boots, and I applaud. It's nice to see a woman that will hold her own against a sexy man. Most women in stories tend to buckle under the heat of a hot body and gorgeous face, but not Shane. I adore her for this!
Next we have Jesse Blackfox, a native to Swan Creek, and neighbor to Shane. He is disgruntled about Tommy Lee, a crazy drunken squatter that lives on Shane's property, that keeps killing the wildlife. So with the assumption that his new neighbor will be an ally, he heads off to expand his ranks in the crusade against the drunk and disorderly. When he actually meets up with said neighbor, he is startled and rather offended by Shane - the unstable firecracker. He carries around a bit of disdain for her and unknowingly humiliates her in a public setting. She confronts him, poses a challenge in the form of a threat, and immediately he feels guilt. Someone cue the light bulb and the raging hormones! At this point we all know where things are going. He obviously is going to develop a thing for her, but this is only after he insults and offends her first. Hello, angsty relationship 101!
Okay, so moving on...
Their relationship is the A - typical, 'I don't want to love you, but some of the things you do are adorable and romantic'/slow building type of love, but it's so fast paced that there is really no room to get to know all the intimate details of it. You get to see how Jesse and Shane respond to the intimacy they do have though and that is a plus. Jesse is nurturing and trustworthy and everything Shane wants and needs. Just the right amount of pushy, without stepping on Shane's toes, and they both feed well off of one another. Shane is open and receptive to Jesse and it makes things that much more intense for her. Jesse entices Shane's heart to trust and love, and its a beautiful thing. The perfect setting for the kind of romance we all love. I won't lie though, I could have used more of an in depth slow paced love, but the pace of the book is fast, so it all pretty much flows the same.
Cut back to the house and all it's mysteriousness. We can't forget about the foundation our Main character and her love interest were built on. Something supernatural is going on inside, that much you know. How do you know? Because Shane wouldn't have heard giggling or seen blurs of movement in the house when she arrived, if there wasn't. She was alone and her mind could have been playing tricks on her, but we all know that isn't the case, right? Right! That would have been about the time I got my cue for a quick exit. Especially if I were in a burnt down mansion all alone. lol I won't go into great detail about the house, because it would almost ruin the story for you. So let's just say that it was more than fate that brought our firecracker to our sexy hero, and this particular place. Great place to read about, definitely not somewhere that I would park my shoes though. *shivers* =)P
Ms Banks kept me guessing as to the origin of the ghost and how it all tied together, and she made it beautiful and effortless.
A nicely woven intricate web of deceit and villainy coupled with mystery, loyalty, and timelessness. I couldn't put the book down until it was finished.
Here is where the romance portion started to go south for me. There is the ooooo'ing and the ahhhhhhh'ing and the Marvin Gaye, "Let's get it on" stuff, then there is the big revelation scene, then the dun da da dun "save the day" stuff, which is awesome, but I didn't want it to fly by like my high school years. Ya gotta roll it out slow like a diesel engine, then let it fly. Don't tease me and send me home. haha
My only real complaint about this book as a whole, is that there wasn't more. I felt almost like I had been left hanging. Hi my name is Shane Connelly, and I want more! I felt borderline tantrum y when it was over. I wanted her to tell me more about the ghost in more detail. One word; Grace! Give me a lengthy back story on her and her family. Tell me all about Jesse and his family before Shane came around. The list could go on, but I don't want to sound preachy and shrewd.
Ms Banks is an amazing writer, my only wish is that it would have been a novel and not just a short story. Gimme a good 350 pages and a sequel, and I'm yours. ;)
It had all the elements I love to read about. The characters were well developed and I could relate to them. She brought everything to life for me and even made me a bit homesick for North Carolina. I laughed all through the book, and yet, the story had flow and was wrapped up nicely in the end. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves paranormal romance and needs it to be a quick, light read.
Instant gratification is always an added bonus! :)