MacGowan’s Ghost by Cindy Miles
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (316 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum
Gabe MacGowan a sexy, brooding, guilt-ridden widower and father to mischievous seven-yearold Jake is the proprietor of Odin's Thumb Inn and Pub in a misty Scottish seaside village. He decides to sell the inn and move, not only to give his son a more stable environment, but to escape the ghosts who haunt him in particular his dead wife. Gabe hires Allie Morgan, an easy-going and fun-loving American, to oust the spirits who are chasing away potential buyers. Odin's Thumb is bustling with frightened tourists, quirky residents of the village, and dodgy yet lovable apparitions including the ghost of a sea captain who fancies Allie. Allie knows she can help Gabe chase away his own ghosts, but can she help him rediscover life and love?
Ghostly chaperones, sexy Scottish Highlanders, and a terrified inn keeper keep an intrepid American woman on her toes and test her sense of humor while leading her on a path of discovery that will change her life. MacGowan’s Ghost has so much to offer a reader with its richness of characters, dialogue and scenery, not to mention a sensual build up that keeps the emotional tension taunt, that it’s a book a romance reader can visit again and again.
First off, there are the ghosts. The whole plot revolves around them and they do a fine job of keeping the heroine, Allie, from doing what she was hired to do. In fact, they make a counter offer. It’s adorable how she not only understands them but eventually counts them as friends. How can ghosts be friends?
Ms. Miles explored that to my satisfaction and amazement. So much history, love and compassion surrounded them that I sometimes forgot they were ghosts. I felt really bad for one of them because I think he fell in love, but it couldn’t ever be realized. Poor guy, he knew it too but that didn’t stop him from doing certain things. I respected him all the more for it. Authors work magic; I wish Ms. Miles could someday work it for him.
The man who does benefit from love is the hero, Gabe. Actually, the truer phrasing would be that he eventually benefits from love. The author put him through the wringer emotionally and he has to deal with some very unpleasant things from his past before he can truly live for the future. It starts off innocuous enough but eventually he’s faced with an evil he has no idea how to handle. Fear rules him for a lot of the story and a reader will find out why. It was a very powerful plot conflict, and effective. In spite of that drama, he is a wonderful, manly and seductive man. I enjoyed learning about him, how he views his home, family and village. I also liked how completely Allie bowled him over and made this competent and virile man so tongue tied, he could only stare. Ms. Miles did a wonderful job of describing his eyes. I was hard pressed to decide which was the sexiest part of Gabe MacGowan, I liked everything about him.
Jake is Gabe’s son and he’s another contributor that affects Allie’s decision making. I liked how the author utilized the young and vibrant character because it brought more depth of emotion to the telling of the tale. Throw in a doting aunt and a loving mother and grandmother, toss in an exuberant brother and pesky prospective buyers for the inn, and a reader has a full stage of personalities to be charmed and entertained by.
Speaking of secondary characters, I had no idea that Ms. Miles had written other paranormal romance stories. When I met Gabe’s neighbors, I was agog. How did I miss more great sexy Highlander stories? I have no idea if it was intentional or not but the author set up an awesome hook for investigating her back list and I assure you, I’m going to. They were hot!
As for Allie, the heroine, she’s a peach. She’s presents as a chipper, optimistic and caring individual that refuses to see or speak ill of anyone. She is charming, delightful, cooks well and has the serious hots for Gabe. At first she comes across as too perfect. As Gabe and a reader get to know her, small tidbits of darkness start to show up. Eventually, I found out how she came to be the way she was. It was horrific, scary and totally fascinating. Ms. Miles has a great imagination and this book benefited from its genius. There is a lot more to Allie Morgan than just an effective ghost mediator/interpreter/ouster.
As much as I adored this book and stayed riveted to the pages until the late evening hours, there was something that made me snort. I liked Gabe’s eyes, and I mentioned that earlier. This is an extremely sensual romance that only became spicy at one point or moment in the book. It was mostly build-up and teases. One technique that was over used was the stare or eye-lock between Gabe and Allie. It got to be sort of freakish because it was used so much. I understood the author’s intention and in the beginning it worked like a charm. After awhile, though, his staring made me uncomfortable, like he was a vampire working woo-woo. Fortunately, there were many more wonderful techniques and descriptions that pushed my happy buttons and it all worked out.
I’d be lax if I didn’t mention the humor. This book was loaded with it. There are plenty of opportunities for a reader to giggle, chuckle, groan or throw their hands up in exasperation every time Drew put in his two cents, which was often and much to Gabe and Allie’s consternation. For me, it was fun.
MacGowan’s Ghost is a wonderful read with plenty to keep a fan of romance basking in its sensual glow. The characters are endearing, well rounded and entertaining. The plot was intricate and woven well throughout the tale and the relationship between Gabe and Allie was everything I could have wanted. I enjoyed the dialogue and the clever schemes the author thought up to deter the sale of the inn. The happy ever after is at first touching, bittersweet yet full of hope and promise. The final moments that sealed their happiness was what I’d been wanting and waiting for, for so many chapters in the book, and it was a relief to see it realized. Ms. Miles delivered on the promise of a delightful love story and I couldn’t be happier. If readers haven’t discovered the talents of this author, they’re missing out. Obviously, I was, but no longer. I like this author’s style.