Phantom Mischief by Jennifer LaRose

Phantom Mischief by Jennifer LaRoseAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Ellora’s Cave

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Michelle

Shanna is thrilled when her fiancé sweeps her off to Ireland for a romantic interlude and asks her to marry him at Castle Tullamore. But their sexual adventure quickly turns into a nightmare when he reveals his dark side. With the engagement broken and her fiancé gone, she crumples into the arms of Tullamore’s handsome gardener, Niall. He proves how hot, sensual and mind-blowing sex can be. It’s unsettling, though, how he manages to distance himself after making love. In fact, he downright disappears!

Niall mourns the death of his beloved Abigail until he sees Shanna. He falls in love with the gorgeous American but fears his heart will surely be broken again. They can’t stay together, not in the manner Shanna needs. But when a determined, dark apparition begins stalking her, Niall realizes it may be the key to their destiny.

Part of the Emerald Isle Fantasies series.

Having never read a book by Jennifer LaRose, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. My first impression is what you see isn’t exactly what you get. I figured I was in for an erotic story containing ghosts with a little bit of suspense thrown in. The back cover blurb for this book, in my opinion, contains a little bit of false advertising. It is a story about Shanna hooking up with a sexy gardener ghost in Ireland after her fiancé is no longer in the picture. It is an erotic story in which she falls in love with him, and he with her. It also contains a bit of “stalking” by another ghost. However, the “dark side” of her fiancé? Niall’s lost love? Dark apparition? Those things were so insignificant that they are almost not even worth mentioning. The book did have some qualities that kept me reading, but I was a little put off by how much it wasn’t what I expected.

Shanna was a little disappointing. She was relatively normal for a contemporary novel heroine. She was smart, snarky, quirky and a little bit vulnerable. I felt that the author didn’t do her justice, because there was something about her I just didn’t like. I wish I could put my finger on it. Maybe it’s the way we are introduced to her when she travels to Castle Tullamore with her fiance. They are supposed to be on a surprise (for her) romantic getaway, but Shanna ends up ogling the sexy gardener on her way inside. For someone who is supposed to be in love, she sort of goes off the deep end admiring the (unknown to her) ghost. Her behavior regarding all of the spooky incidents at the castle is a bit irrational, and I never really felt her connection to her fiancé. Her relationship with him was kind of glossed over, and the author portrays him as a self-centered jerk, which left me wondering what she saw in him to begin with.

Niall was a good hero. I liked the idea of him, and his story, a lot. He lived over a century ago, but died a tragic death after his first love was killed. Abigail was the first girl to steal his heart, and he intended to spend his life with her until she was murdered. He still resides at Castle Tullamore, having had a spell cast on him binding him to the estate. He first took notice of Shanna on her first visit to the castle a year ago, and is once again captivated when she reappears in his “life”. There are initially a lot of obstacles between these two. Shanna’s aforementioned fiance is a problem in the beginning, but his stupidity pretty much takes him out of the picture pretty quickly. The fact that Niall is a ghost and Shanna is not is obviously a huge obstruction. Also, the whole “dark apparition” which turned out to be another ghost from Niall’s past with a grievance against any women he cares about was pretty much anticlimactic.

Some parts of this story were a bit far-fetched, and the pacing of the book was a little chaotic. Some chapters had the story flying by, and others dragged on with nothing really happening. I thought that the whole evil villain part was more like a horror B-movie than anything else, and these two already had enough odds stacked against them without that being thrown into the mix. All of that aside, the book was decent. The author threw in a lot of snappy dialogue and knew how to write a sexy hero. The chemistry between Shanna and Niall was palpable and their romance was definitely steamy. I also liked the way their happy ever after worked out.

I give Phantom Mischief by Jennifer LaRose 3 stars!

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