Reviewed by: Toni
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
This story opens with a murder. Simon MacKay, last Earl of Cleitmuir, is killed by his enemy Alaistair Mackenzie, who also stole his betrothed. Unknown to everyone, Simon doesn’t die, however…he floats in an odd limbo, neither alive nor dead, doomed to search yearly during the anniversary of his death for a treasure his family guarded, and …if he doesn’t find it…he again suffers the fate Alaistair planned for him.
Two hundred years have passed and Simon still hasn’t found the treasure. TGwo hundred years he’s experienced again and again his death by drowning. Simon’s ancestral home has being leased by Grant Murray and his American wife, Beth, whose best friend, Laurel, has come to visit. Laurel is recovering from a broken romance, and simply wants to enjoy the Scottish countryside, and forget. That won’t happen, however, for soon, she meets neighbor Alec MacKenzie, a treasure seeker who’s also a descendant of Simon’s murderer. She also is attracted to a mysterious stranger who saves her from a plunge over a cliff…Simon, who has the ability to become corporeal. When ghost meets lovely lady, he discovers some feelings don’t disappear with the passage of centuries or by being placed in limbo. He and Laurel fall in love. As the time approaches for Simon to once more begin his search, Beth and Laurel discover that Alec is not only searching for the treasure the MacKays supposedly hid but he’s been under suspicion of murder when several people involved with him in treasure hunting disappear.
Simon is now torn between guarding his secret, protecting Laurel, and getting his revenge on the MacKenzies for his death.
No matter which he chooses, he’s certain to lose something he loves.
This is a great start to a series, as it sets the stage for other stories to come, as well as telling Simon’s story. Beginning with Simon’s death, then juxtaposing scenes from his life in 1809 with what’s happening in the present, contrasts and explains the predicaments he faces in both eras. The characterizations are very good: Tall Laurel considers herself awkward and gangly when compared to petite, self-possessed Beth. It’s only when in Simon’s company that she blooms as he makes her forget her self-consciousness. Villain Alex is charming and handsome and it isn’t until he’s marked with suspicion in several murders that he begins to take on a sinister hue.
The story is well-written with a flowing narration, clear and concise so one doesn’t have to go back and reread passages to make certain everything is clear. There’s enough background to introduce and explain the characters without it getting in the way of the current story.
A thoroughly enjoyable read, with a happy ever after ending the reader will applaud.