Title: Ghost of a Chance
Author: Nina Bruhns
His time, his sentence in this ambiguous state, this particularly nasty purgatory he was relegated to is nearly up. Tyree St. James is looking forward to the emptiness and relief he hopes will follow this torture he has endured for the last two hundred years. There were many things he had accomplished, and arrangements made for the distribution of wealth. His agents had been meticulous and thorough, and he was satisfied. All he had left to do now is bide his time, and hope his transition to his new state of being would be smooth and painless. As it is now, he feels no real discomfort, but that long ago memory of the pain he endured was still fresh in his mind, even now recalled with ease. It never ceases to amaze him the lengths his mind would go to in order to drag him back to his present circumstances, and he wonders if it will change with the ending of the curse. He will soon find out, and in his point of view, the sooner the better. There were very few regrets in his life, and those are caused by memories of long past events over which he had no direct control.
He realized long ago he had to let events take their course. There were certain steps he could take, measures to prevent further mishaps, and thereafter took them thus insuring the mistakes of the past would not be easily repeated. He is looking forward to a peaceful week, a peaceful good by until the stranger appears in his home. He thought his rules had been made well and clear to Mrs. Yates, but apparently she had not understood. Whatever the circumstances, the woman is here, and her things are in his bedroom. This will never do, and now the problem is how to get rid of her before anything untoward happens. He doesn’t want her involved, he doesn’t want to be tempted. But that is one wish that will never be fulfilled. Curse it all anyway, there are few people that can actually see him, or even feel is touch, but in this case, it is sadly true, and the temptation isn’t the problem. Her willingness to believe him a dream lover, and her patent disbelief in what he is will drive him crazy. What was Mrs. Yates thinking by allowing Clara to invade his home? How can he get her to leave…does he really want her to leave?
She isn’t really sure what the man is trying to pull, but his smoke and mirrors tricks are not going to fool her or drive her away. She is here to write a story, one that will win for her the one great desire for travel and adventure far away from the flat Kansas plains. The first prize offered by Adventure Magazine is her goal, the year-long round-the-world voyage is gonna get her out of the doldrums. The freelance contract is another perk that will set her on her way, and establish her as a travel writer and journalist for sure. Of course her ultimate relationship to Magnolia Cove was not just her interest in pirates, but in Sullivan Fouquet, a distant uncle on her mother’s side. There couldn’t be any better subject matter for a travel article than an illustrious ancestor, and his buccaneer ways. The only thing she really needed was a bit more information, and Magnolia Cove seemed to be an excellent place to glean what she lacked. And at week’s end, there was to be the pirate festival.
It is a shame about the very reclusive and odd Tyree St James, who has captured her attention. She still wants to believe their lovemaking was all a beautiful and sensuous dream. The hitch is he claims to be dead, a lost soul as he puts it, she is definitely having a hard time believing it. He knows a lot about her pirate ancestor Sullivan Fouquet, Sully to both his friends and enemies alike. Almost too much. He speaks of the man as though he knew him well, but he couldn’t possibly. Sully has been dead for almost two hundred years, and yet the intimacy of Tyree’s knowledge astounds her. She is not quite convinced he is actually a ghost, well a bit more than a ghost, but still it is beyond belief. Any good historian would certainly be able to ferret out facts of an intimate nature. But there is some mystery about the man that makes her curious. He is undoubtedly hiding something, a secret of some kind, and Clara Fergussen is determined to find out just what it is. The trouble with that is she only has a week, and she is beginning to think she will need a lifetime…
I don’t know why Nina Bruhns decided to write this story. Perhaps it was something inside that needed to be said, but I can say I found Tyree St. James to be her most engaging, handsome, and exasperating hero yet. And Clara is her most determined heroine to date to refuse to believe what she sees. The two are excellently matched, both unwilling to believe what their hearts are telling them, and both keeping those secrets. There is also the matter of Mrs. Yates’ meddling, the diary of the man Tyree claims sailed with him, the end of the curse, and several mysterious arsons. For Tyree, the way is clear. Find a way through this maze unscathed, and meanwhile protect Clara from the ravages of a curse he hasn’t a prayer of understanding, and keeping her from falling in love with him.
All in all, Ghost of a Chance is another wonderfully told tale, and one that has to find a place among the keepers on your shelf. Nina’s story telling abilities are honed and sharp in this tale of pirates, curses, treasure, and greed. Tyree and Clara are thrown together by fate, and forced to play out the hands they have been dealt. Unsure of the rules, they will have to face whatever challenges lie in store and work their way through to the end, unknowing and uncertain of the outcome. Ghost of a Chance will be available from Harlequin Silhouette in September, and I highly recommend it for your collection. If you are not yet a Nina Bruhns fan, Ghost of a Chance will recruit you, and most likely send you scurrying to look for her backlist. The very talented Ms. Bruhns has yet another great book to her credit, and it is one you won’t want to miss.
Yours in good reading,