This is the second book in Julie Leto's Forsyth Phantoms series, and although it can certainly stand alone, in my opinion you can better appreciate the intricacies of the plot as well as several returning characters if you've read the first book - Phantom Pleasures. This contemporary romantic paranormal adventure series is about six brothers from the mid-1700s in England who tried to rescue their sister from an evil sorcerer, Lord Rogan, who had betrayed their family and the enclave of gypsies that were under the protection of their father, an English nobleman. Each brother is trapped in an item - in this book a sword with a jeweled hilt - that is also imbued with some of the dark lord's magic. The woman who can release the man trapped in the item is inexplicably draw to it, and when they come into physical contact with it the Forsyth brother is partially released, existing in a phantom state during the days and taking physical form only at night.
The quest in each book is for the hero to be fully released from the spell, the romantic conflict to be resolved, and the hero and heroine to get closer to finding the items where the remaining brothers are imprisoned and discovering the fate of not only their sister but also the entire village of gypsies that mysteriously disappeared just as King George's soldiers were advancing to slaughter them more than 250 years ago. Each, however, has a formidable adversary in the followers of K'vr, a secret organization of the descendants and worshipers of Lord Rogan, who are trying to exploit his dark magic for their own means and seeking the very items in which the Forsyth brothers' spirits are imprisoned as the keys to unlock Lord Rogan's powers.
In Phantom's Touch, Aidan Forsyth is released from the sword by movie star Lauren Cole, a woman with a mysterious past and her own "demons" to conquer before she can trust herself to fall in love. Lauren Cole is an actress who plays an action-adventure heroine in the movies (think female warrior), and her real-life skills are impressive. She is a strong heroine who knows what she wants. Aidan is an 18th century man adapting to a world he could never have imagined. Leto very skillfully uses the magic elements of this book while still keeping the action - and many of the dangers - firmly grounded in reality. This is an exciting adventure tale with new twists and turns that will keep you from putting the book down. It's also a very sensuous story, and Leto uses the phantom's daytime ability to touch while remaining in his noncorporeal form to stretch sexual tension to the breaking point. The balance between the challenges facing the characters in this book and the overall quest of the series is perfect - this book standing alone is a very satisfying read, that still leaves you intrigued by the overall story and wanting to know the rest of the unanswered questions. I give this book my highest recommendation.