"Light contemporary fantasy is two romances for the price of one"
Widow Audrey Magill is prepared to begin a new life in some
ways but definitely not others. Formerly a successful tax
accountant she has thrown this all over to pursue her dream
of making hats. Yes, hats. In Kentucky the right hat could
net a milliner thousands of dollars just prior to the start
of Kentucky Derby Days. Thus Audrey has purchased a house in
the center of town to serve as both residence and business.
Her grand opening is just days away and she is looking for
just the right odds and ends to give her shop the right air.
That is how she winds up in an antique store where she comes
across a portrait she just has to have.
No the testosterone laden portrait is not the thing for her
ultra feminine shop, but the subject of the painting had
called out to her, and when she'd discovered that its
subject, Riverboat Captain Silas Summerfield, had once owned
her home and the price had mysteriously become affordable
she'd snapped it up. She soon learns that the sudden
affinity for the portrait had been no accident. Captain
Summerfield had returned from the great beyond to save his
descendant Nathaniel's soul. Silas' ghost is bound to his
portrait, so wherever it goes, so he goes as well.
Audrey of course is to be charged by the Captain with the
task of saving said descendant's soul, but she's not at all
sure she believes in ghosts. After all, if they truly
existed wouldn't her late husband, a police officer killed
in the line of duty, have moved heaven and earth to be with
her. Heaven knew, in the same position she'd have done so to
be with him. But Silas soon convinces her to visit his
great, great many times removed grandson and in spite of her
better judgment she finds herself in Nathaniel Summerfield's
office trying to persuade him to scrap a multimillion dollar
real estate deal. It doesn't help that Nathaniel thinks
she's a fruitcake or that he stirs emotions in her that not
even her beloved husband ever had. He's insufferable to
boot. Audrey returns home unsuccessful and Nathaniel strikes
But the instant the ink is dry on the paper, Nathaniel gets
a strong sensation in the middle of his chest and it's clear
to him he's lost something important. From that moment on he
experiences a bone chilling cold that nothing can warm
except for the touch of one Audrey Magill. The attraction
between them is undeniable. Unfortunately Audrey is still
very much in love with her late husband. She still wore her
wedding ring on her finger and Sean's class ring on a chain
around her neck. Can Nathaniel convince her to move on with
her life? Can she help him to recover his soul?
In a neat little twist Silas, who had sired a son from an
indiscretion, married as a result and lost the wife he'd
barely known in childbirth, finds a sweet little romance of
his own. Audrey's neighbor Cecilia had been demoralized and
abused by her husband and had fled, flitting from town to
town in hopes that he'd never find her. Something about the
Kentucky town had called to her to stay though she'd still
eschewed any contact with heterosexual men. When Audrey
hires her to staff her ultra-feminine boutique it's the
perfect situation. At first she can hear Silas but cannot
see him but as the two get to know each other her heart
opens her eyes. Silas was a true gentleman, nothing like her
husband and being insubstantial he is totally safe. Only in
her dreams can the two enjoy romantic interludes. Ms.
Bevarly however does not whip up a hokey scenario to send
Cecilia back in time or for Silas to materialize in the
flesh. Still it was a delightful little side line and I'm
not really sure which romance I enjoyed more. At times the
main romance seemed a little one sided.
I have to say that I didn't think as much of Audrey's late
husband as she seemed to. He came off as selfish in bed and
could have at least come in person to let her know that he
was cool with her getting on with her life. It was painfully
clear that Nathaniel would be the true love of her life and
the reader will be glad that she finally realizes it.
There's a nice little mystery to be solved as well as the
pair works together to figure out exactly why Nathaniel's
soul went missing after signing the contract.
READY & WILLING is a nice little contemporary romance with a
fun paranormal element. It is a follow up story to FAST &
LOOSE a straight contemporary romance which also involves
the Kentucky Derby.
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted March 6, 2009