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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Paramour by Margaret Ethridge

Paramour by Margaret Ethridge
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (226 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Azalea

Camellia Stafford has never been alone in her room. For twenty years, she’s been engaged in a fierce power struggle with her bedroom’s previous tenant, Frank DeLuca, the ghost trapped in the light fixture above her bed.

Caustic and cranky, Frank has one soft spot—Cam. Over the years, their feelings for one another have evolved from grudging friendship to an enduring love that burns white-hot until Frank puts his feelings for Cam on ice.

When she suffers the loss of her beloved father, Cam returns home to say good-bye, and confront her feelings for Frank. She finds an unexpected shoulder to lean on in neighbor, Bradley Mitchum. Cam falls hard and fast for the handsome ad man’s charming smile and passionate nature, but Brad’s easy-going exterior masks a steely backbone tempered by adversity.

Two men: one living, one dead, and both vying for her love. Now Cam must determine if her heart is strong enough to choose which dream could lead to a love that will last a lifetime.

Can a girl have two loves if one of them is a ghost?

The story begins with the prologue where we discover how Frank died. Then we meet Camellia, and finally Brad. Each character has a point of view, and the reader learns their strengths and weaknesses as their very different personalities unfold.

Francis DeLuca breaks everything he touches–crockery, his mother, and finally himself. He is dead, a ghost imprisoned in a light fixture, able to materialize only when that light is turned on. He’s been dead a quarter century, the victim of a gunshot during a robbery turned bad, and he stays in the bedroom -- his own kind of purgatory.

Camellia Stafford has come home to the house she grew up in, to bury her father and to confront her feelings for Frank. For twenty years, she’s shared her room with Frank, its former tenant. Over the years, they’ve gone from grudging friendship to love. Cam has conversed, fought, pleaded with him...and loved him. And Frank has admitted loving her, but he’s dead. He can’t do anything to change that, and Cam is lonely and frustrated.

Enter Bradley Mitchum, a hot-looking neighbor who has carried a torch for Cam since she was a teenager. Cam falls fast for handsome advertising executive Brad, a generous man, but with issues. As their passion develops, it causes more than a little consternation from Frank who desperately wants Cam for himself.

I’m not normally a reader of paranormals, but Ms. Ethridge’s setting and sassy dialogue sucked me right into the story and kept me there throughout. Cam is delightful, and Brad is a jewel, but Frank stole my heart with his macho-yet-tender image. Each of these three characters shows growth; essential, in my opinion, for creating memorable characters. In Cam's case, she must trust her feelings and not be afraid. Brad, who provides for his retired parents, is the rock upon whom she can trust. Frank grows most of all, changing from being angry and selfish to putting others before himself.

Everything about Paramour–the setting, the dialogue, the pacing, the hot, sexy scenes, and most of all, three of the most interesting characters you could want to meet plus a surprise ending–will keep this story in your mind long after the final page is turned. I guarantee you won’t be able to put this book down. Ms. Ethridge is an accomplished writer, and this is a stunning novel.