Genre: paranormal romantic suspense (with ghosts)
This is no dream . . .
Nikki DuMonde's newest employee is standing at the end of her bed at four o'clock in the morning begging for help. It's a joke, right? Besides, as manager of a successful New Orleans haunted-tour company, Nikki doesn't scare easily. But in the light of day, harsh reality sets in as a police officer informs her that Andy was brutally murdered -- at the exact time Nikki swears the distraught woman was in her room.
No one believes her except Brent Blackhawk, a paranormal investigator desperately trying to forget his tragic past. Half Irish, half Lakota -- and able to communicate with the dead -- Brent is used to living in two worlds. But when he realizes the ghost of a slain government agent is also trying to reach out to Nikki, he knows that she, too, must listen to the dead . . . if she wants to keep living.
Nikki DuMonde is used to sensing ghosts, after all, she and her colleagues and friends give tours in New Orleans. O they are careful never to state that ghosts exists, but Nikki just senses that there is something around. How else to explain the sudden cold spots, or the strange mist she sees at times. But seeing her friend Andy at the foot of her bed after a night out at the town, is not something she has experienced before. Especially when she is awakened by the police who tell her that Andy has been found dead that same morning. A heroine overdose. Nikki refuses to believe that Andy killed herself, she was clean and had no intention of starting again, she enjoyed her new life and her job in New Orleans. But the cops can find no leads at all, and Nikki only has a vague clue. A strange bum ran into them the other day, and Nikki tried to warn her about something. But the bum has also been found dead, and he happened to be an undercover FBI agent. So he really has had nothing to do with her friends death.
Her best friend Julian thinks that Nikki is losing it, ghosts do not exist, and she needs to see his shrink. But Nikki is not the only one suddenly seeing ghosts; a woman whose purse was snatched has seen the same bum that Nikki has seen around.
Adam Harrison hears about the case, and he sends Brent Blackhawk back to New Orleans to find out the truth. The FBI agent was onto a big case, and he needs to find the evidence. Brent does not relish going back to New Orleans, it is where his beloved wife died, and the city is literally filled with ghosts. And he does see them. He is also convinced that Nikki can see the ghosts, and as both her dead friend and the dead FBI agent keep appearing for her, it is clear that they need to tell her something, and he will need her help in finding out what is happening.
There is also an old slave ghost in the main cemetery, who has grown really powerful over the centuries, and who is reluctantly helping Brent. To get close to Nikki and the others, Brent agrees to become a member of their team. After all, he was born and raised in New Orleans and knows even more stories than the rest of them. Half Native American and half Irish, he is a born story teller, and the audience loves him.
Nikki immediately feels a connection to Brent, and he makes her feel safe. Julian is not happy with this development, even though he has been teasing her about needing to get laid; he senses something is off with Brent. Brent is also attracted to Nikki, and he wants to protect her, but he also wants her to help him win the ghosts trust. Of course there are practical problems with that; Nikki cannot just call out in the middle of a tour that some ghost has appeared. Even more people would want her committed for that.
The police are not sitting still either, they keep searching for leads and witnesses, and as they really dislike the FBI agent who was appointed as the liaison between the agencies, they are open to psychic help from Brent.
I really enjoyed this second book in the series; I read it in one afternoon. (No I don’t read possible scary stories in the evening!). Of course, it was not scary at all; the ghosts were not evil but helping. Okay, Huey was teasing sometimes, throwing rocks to trespassers or pulling women’s hair.
I liked Nikki from the first page, she is a lovely woman and a good friend, and really afraid that she is loosing it when she keeps seeing Andy’s ghost and the bum who ran into them. But Brent manages to soothe he fears, and with his help, she acknowledges her strange new gift, and tries to handle her fear and accept what is happening. I really admire her for that, I think I would really go crazy myself.
Brent is an amazing character as well, he does not share much about himself or his past, but what he tells Nikki is important. His wife died 10 years ago, and since then he has not been really attracted to a woman like he is now to Nikki. Of course there have been some short affairs over time, but nothing permanent.
The author also managed to make me really suspect some of Nikki’s coworkers, as being part of the plot, and that was amazingly done. The real plot was not something easily guessed, and the end scene was amazing. This is not fast paced action suspense, but a good story filled with real suspense and some action. I did enjoy the ghosts and some of the secondary characters a lot.
Heather Graham has a lovely writing style, she manages to get my attention on page one and does not let me go until the book has ended. Her characters are really lifelike, New Orleans is as always a great backdrop for a ghost filled story. And I am more determined than ever to visit America and especially New Orleans one day and walk through this old city and eat all the strange things they serve there.
© 2014 Reviews by Aurian