Genre: paranormal romantic suspense
Behind the walls of a beautiful English Abbey, Cathlin O’Neill is forced to confront deepest sorrow and the ghosts of an ancient love as she and rugged bodyguard Dominic Montserrat, haunted by his own shadowed past, race against time to solve a centuries-old mystery…. and free a forgotten passion that burns anew.
During some renovations at Draycott Abbey’s wine cellars, a skeleton is found behind a wall, and with him his last will and testament and a case of priceless wine. The Draytons are tasked with fulfilling this last will, and Nicholas Drayton, the current Viscount, surely intends to. Especially as it involved the skeleton of the Earl of Ashton, who disappeared a long time ago. The current tenth Earl of Ashton, Dominic Montserrat, is a friend and collegue of Nicholas, so contacting him is easy. Contacting the other person involved in this mess, is not so easy.
Cathlin O’Neill has no intention of answering his phone calls, as her mother died at the Abbey when she was ten years old. Dominic could really use the money the wine will make him to pour into his new vineyard, and so he takes it upon himself to get Cathlin to agree to the terms of the will. If she keeps refusing, the wine will have to be poured into the moat … and Nicholas fully intends to honor this wish.
Cathlin is still young, but she is one of the worlds leading authorities on old wine. She loves her job and she is very good with it. It took her best friend Serita a long time to get Cathlin to come to London and start a new business together, but now they are doing well. And when Lord Ashton keeps pestering her at the important wine auction Cathlin is attending, she is totally not interested in anything he wants to tell her. (Of course, he goes all wrong about getting her attention in my opinion). Serita takes pity on Nicholas though, and tells him where Cathlin lives, so he can follow her.
But danger seems to follow Nicholas to Cathlin’s house. And Cathlin also has no intention at all at inviting him in, but relents after all when he promises her to take a look at her leaking roof. Cathlin has recently inherited her family home and it is almost in ruins, but she loves it and wants to restore it. It just takes a lot more money than she has or will make in the near future. And so she decides to listen to Nicholas proposition. Still, going back to Draycott Abbey is not something she is looking forward to, even if it might give her some closure. No one ever found out what happened to her mother that night, but she does not believe it was suicide.
Nicholas did not tell Dominic all the rules to gaining his inheritance though … Cathlin and Dominic will have to stay at the Abbey for a whole week … being married. Having come so far, Cathlin agrees to the plan, in the understanding they will get a divorce as soon as that week is over. Dominic has other plans though, he has recognized Cathlin as his, and he will get her into his bed and into his life forever. There is a reason his mad Uncle Gabriel made that will, and he will discover what happened in the past, and try to rectify what went wrong then, in the present.
Of course other less scrupulous parties are after the expensive wine as well, and they don’t care how they will obtain it. So Dominic will have to update the security of the Abbey first and ask for additional help from his friends. And Cathlin will have to authenticate the wine, before they can sell it. And when the Royals express their interest in it, the stakes get even higher.
I think these old books are getting too old for me to enjoy, as I was irritated with Dominic and his alpha tendencies a lot. He showed so little common sense in dealing with Cathlin, wanting to take over her life and have her obey his every order. For her own safety of course. And in my opinion, being attracted to someone is very much different from being in love with him or her. They did not even know each other. The flashbacks to their former lives are very intriguing and I almost preferred that storyline to the current one.
Cathlin has made a good career for herself, and I admire her for that. Of course I don’t know anything about wine at all, except that I don’t like it. Which makes me wonder how a centuries old wine can still be drinkable after all that time, even as the conditions where it has been stored were perfect. I liked Cathlin and her refusal to come to heel, I totally understand her and agree with her.
Dominic is keeping his own life a secret from her, he doesn’t tell her anything about himself. Not his past as a bodyguard, nor his present as a vineyard owner in France. Yes, Cathlin has a prejudice against his work as it has taken her father from her as well, playing spy games until the one job he did not return from. But still, just tell her before she finds out otherwise.
The danger was very real, the mystery very well written and it kept me reading. But I will take a break from these old books for a while, so I will be able to enjoy the next one more. I did pick it up for my own reading challenge, of reading a book longer than a year on my shelves.
If you like romantic suspense, with ghosts and past lives, you really should pick up this series, especially if you like your heroes to be pushy and alpha.
The paperback is sadly out of print, but you can buy it expensively on Amazon, or as ebook on Amazon, here
© 2013 Reviews by Aurian