Jesse Copeland, an expert in mountain rescues, has returned to Manzanita after years in the Peace Corps. Despite an indomitable courage that sent her rappelling down cliffs, she is haunted by the nightmares and shadowy half-memories surrounding her mother's mysterious death. Now she is determined to find out if her mother's "accident" was murder. What she finds instead is a man as transparent as air--sensual, muscular, his blue eyes burning into hers as she cries out one word from a place deep within her: David.
David Ventris, Lord Ashthorpe, late of His Majesty's Light Dragoons, is, simply put, a ghost. He's waited two centuries to be called back to earth by the woman he wronged. He knew her as "Sophie," a wondrous lady who sparked a passion so blazing that time could not dim the flames. Now he is being given the chance to guard her from danger and get back his soul--if only she will believe him real and not madness. If only she will love him enough to create a miracle...and give him life again.
From the Paperback edition.
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Sold by:||Random House|
|File size:||3 MB|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
The cry echoed in his mind as he crossed through the portals between life and death and found himself in the World again. Even before he became aware of the faint shape of his own body, of the unfamiliar room around him, he knew he was Back.
Back from the limbo where he'd heard that desperate appeal. The limbo that had been his home for uncounted years, where he knew the passage of time only from those souls who journeyed through his private perdition on their way to the next existence.
He knew it wasn't 1815, nor even the century into which he'd been born. He'd known it before his own name had summoned him to the earthly plane. But not one of his temporary visitors had made him feel how long he'd been gone, or how much he'd lost.
She no longer cried out but tossed on her narrow bed, throwing the sheets from her body. Her back was turned to him, sweetly curved, the bedclothes just brushing the swell of her hips. In the morning light he could see that her hair was nearly straight, falling a few inches below her shoulders, cut simply and left uncovered to tangle about her head as she slept. It was golden in color; guinea-gold, begging a man to touch the thick strands.
Her body, petite and compact, was clothed in something like a man's nightshirt. Fine-boned hands clutched at her pillow as if it were a lifeline.
Recklessly he sat down on the edge of the bed, feeling it give under his weight. "Well, my lady?" he whispered, his voice hoarse with long disuse. "We gamble for high stakes, you and I, and I don't know all the rules of the game." She'd called him; he knew she'd be able to see him, that he could speak to her and be heard. But how would she react to the presence of a ghost?
He skimmed his hand a hairsbreadth above her hip. "Who are you?" he asked. "Will you remember?"
But he willed her not to. Not until he found the way to make her believe in him, accept him, trust him as a benevolent visitor. A spirit, perhaps, come to help her in her earthly tribulations. He would learn what she most wanted to believe and use it to his advantage.
And then, when the time was right, he would tell her the truth--just enough to fulfill the conditions of his unearthly bargain. Enough to get what he wanted.
He smiled bitterly. "I give you fair warning, my lady," he said. "I haven't changed. I never change."
He hadn't meant her to hear him, but she did. And this time when she opened her eyes they centered directly on him.
He acted on instinct, willing himself to insubstantiality. He snapped to his feet and retreated across the room.
The woman blinked and sat up, body rigid with shock. Her gaze swept back and forth across the place where he stood, searching for what she could no longer see.
"Oh my God," she said. She put shaking hands to her mouth, then to her cheeks. She squeezed her eyes shut and massaged her temples fiercely.
"Dreams," she muttered. "That's all it is."
But her skin was very pale, and her fingers trembled as she fumbled for a smooth, narrow object on the table beside her bed.
David knew she'd seen him. She'd seen him and was afraid, as anyone would be afraid to find a ghost at her bedside.
From the Paperback edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Jesse Copeland has returned to her hometown to lay to rest the ghosts of her past... only to be confronted by an actual ghost, David Ventris, who's there to right the wrongs of his own past so he can escape from the limbo where he's been existing since he died at Waterloo.It seems Jesse is the reincarnation of his wife, and his guilt over how he failed her has been punishing him all this time.Jesse, meanwhile, is struggling with her own memories. Gary Emerson is also back in town, as a campaigning politician. She's sure that Gary, her mother's lover, was responsible for her death, but she doesn't remember any details.I'm not sure why this book didn't grab me. I'm very fond of paranormal romance, and should have enjoyed it. But David's goals seemed too unclear to me--beyond the expected guilt keeping him from embracing love. He seemed to waver between cold-blooded self-interest and guilty misery, with occasional forays into protectiveness, and only the last was well-explained.Jesse, too, seems oblivious to her own motivations, and oblivious to the feelings of those around her.And there's a sub-plot about an orphaned girl and her uncle that felt as though it came from a previous book in the series, but this book isn't part of a series.Or maybe I'm just too shallow to accept a melancholy hero. I don't like to think that, but it's possible. In a romance, I admit, I do want the hero to be, well, heroic. I don't mind if they have problems, but... No, it's not just heroes--it's the heroines, too. I don't like melancholy characters in romances. Sad, tormented, dark characters are wonderful. I love them. Just don't make them melancholy.
Have reread this many times
Let's just say I became bored with the book and put it down half way through. Didn't pick it up again until several months later when I didn't have anything better to read. The book moves very, very slowly. The story is good, but the pace is the killer here.