Penmort Castle by Kristen Ashley
Series: Ghosts and Reincarnation #1
Published by Indie
Published on: March 24 2001
Genres: Paranormal Romance
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Cash Fraser is planning revenge and to get it he needs the perfect woman. So he hires her. Abigail Butler has lost nearly everything in her life and she’s about to lose the home she loves.
Cash meets Abby, who is posing as a paid escort, and the minute he does he knows he’s willing to pay for more than Abby being his pretend girlfriend. A lot more. Abby needs the money or the last thing that links her to her dead family and husband will be gone. The deal is struck but both Cash and Abby get more than they bargained for.
Cash realises very quickly that Abby isn’t what she seems and while he changes strategies, Abby discovers that Cash’s legacy, Penmort Castle, is like all the tales say – very, very haunted. Making matters worse, the ghost in residence wants her dead.
Abby’s found herself in the battle of her life so she enlists Mrs. Truman, her nosy neighbour; Jenny, her no-nonsense friend; Cassandra McNabb, white witch and clairvoyant with a penchant for wearing scarves (and lots of them); and Angus McPherson, dyed-in-the-wool Scot (which means he hunts ghosts in a kilt) to fight the vicious ghost who has vowed that she will rest at nothing to kill the true, abiding love of the master of Penmort.
The first thing you should know is PENMORT CASTLE by Kristen Ashley is PNR-lite.
So if you’re purely a speculative fiction reader and need creatures on every other page to enjoy a book, you should probably just move along.
BUT. If you do occasionally read straight-up contemporary romance or romantic suspense—excellent palate cleansers both, in my humble opinion—you’re good to go.
You see . . . Kristen Ashley (KA) isn’t for everyone. Those of us (and we are LEGION) who love KA, really love her. Make-our-significant-others-angry-b/c-refuse-to-put-down-the-book love her.
But those of you who don’t love her want to kill her books with fire.
How do you know which one you’ll be?
Well . . . do you:
1. Like OTT alpha males?
I’m talking alpha males who do things that under any other (non-KA) circumstances would be unforgivable, but through some bizarre combination of extenuating circumstances and insight into character behavior (b/c excellently written POVs) is, in fact, forgivable?
2. Like truly unique and adorable heroines who are capable but not militant? Who appreciate rather than resent when a man opens her door?
Actually, that’s all you need to ask yourself: do you get angry when a man opens a door for you?
If yes, run far, far away. If no, and especially if you think it’s a lovely gesture, then get to one-clicking (b/c indie author = CHEAP).
Abigail Butler has endured an astounding amount of loss in her adult life.
First she lost her mother to cancer, then her father followed a year later. A year after that, her sole remaining grandparent died, and then . . . her husband whom she desperately loved was killed in a car accident.
That was four years ago, and for the last year she’s been living in the family home she inherited from her grandmother in England.
The family home that is a money pit.
The family home she refuses to lose like she’s lost her family.
Money pits are expensive and Abby is broke.
*whispers* This is where the KA-ness starts to shine.
Abby’s best friend overhears one of her husband’s work colleagues lamenting a family situation: his uncle, whom he hates, is in dire straights financially and trying to foist one of his (not blood-related) stepdaughters on him to marry.
This work colleague, Cash Fraser, is quite the catch and has women constantly throwing themselves at him, so he can’t cool his uncle’s heels by bringing ’round a girlfriend, b/c a “girlfriend” would have expectations.
“But what if,” BFF says to herself, “he paid an escort to pretend to be his girlfriend? Abby could do that! And Cash is LOADED, so he could pay her enough to get her back on solid ground! YES. I must make this happen!”
And she does.
This is where you say to yourself, “KA-ness sounds an awful lot like convoluted ridiculousness,” and ordinarily I’d agree. BUT. KA makes it work.
Beyond that, her characters are bloody fantastic. Meet Abby:
Abby kept her hair down but blew it sleek to frame her face and she’d done her makeup in what she referred to in her wide array of makeup looks (an array she’d once enumerated to Ben while he nearly choked himself laughing even though she was not being funny) as “Smoky Evening”.
“Have you slept with him?”
Abby’s mouth dropped open.
“Don’t give me that look,” Jenny warned. “He’s hot. I was in your shoes, I’d sleep with him,” she announced baldly. “How long did you wait?”
“It happened Thursday,” Abby answered.
“You were always slow,” Jenny remarked.
“I don’t think it’s that easy to get rid of a ghost,” Abby told the older woman.
“I didn’t say it’d be easy,” Mrs. Truman noted, waving the remains of her donut again. “I just said we’d sort something out.” She leaned forward and took a sip of coffee before sitting back and saying, “I know a few people. I’ll make some calls.”
“What’s going on?”
“I know what’s no’ going on,” Angus cut in impatiently, “and that’s the fact that no ghosty she-bitch is being hurtled over the side of the tower straight to the depths of hell. That’s what’s no’ going on.”
And that brings me to the paranormal element. Cash is the rightful heir of Penmort Castle and Penmort Castle is haunted by a malicious ghost who is determined to kill the true love of the rightful heir. And she’s done it. Five times, not counting the first when she was still alive.
Ghosty she-bitch, indeed. *winks*
SO. If you haven’t already tried Kristen Ashley and you haven’t been scared off by my earlier qualifications, I recommend you do so. Sooner rather than laters, baby. Fall is the best time for ghosts. Highly recommended.
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