Genre: contemporary romance, with ghosts
Cuttersville, Ohio is full of ghosts, and they all want Piper Tucker's help.
One guy in town just wants Piper.
Ever since Piper Tucker was young she wanted to be like everyone else, but her uncanny ability to see ghosts always put her on the other side of normal. And the apparitions are showing up now more than ever, desperately seeking help. But what can she possibly do for them? They've already been dead for years. Besides, she has a personal concern of her own right now. A real flesh and blood concern - named Brady.
He's Piper's childhood crush, and no sooner is he back in town than sparks start giving off heat. For Brady, it's hard not to notice the sexy young woman Piper's become, or forget the special gift she had as a girl. And right now it could come in handy, because a long-forgotten murder has been keeping a restless spirit from finding peace. All Piper and Brady have to do is solve the crime to put the specter to rest. But the passion brewing between them is just as restless, and could prove twice as dangerous.
Last year I read Heiress for Hire, the second book in the series, and enjoyed it very much. So when I saw this book, I had to snatch it up. The heroine in this book is the daughter/stepdaughter of that books couple, all grown up now. It was fun to see Amanda and her husband still very much in love and in lust, and with two young sons of their own.
Until she was 8 years old, Piper was a very much neglected little girl, malnourished and with no hair because of it all. Quiet, she had learned never to ask for anything, never to expect anything from adults at all. Then her stepfather dumped her on her father Danny Tucker’s doorstep, and she finally found out what a family should be. Danny never knew he had a daughter, but he loved her instantly and became the best father he could be for her.
Piper has always been a good girl, she is 24 years old now and a school teacher, but still living at the farm with her parents and brothers. She loves being at home, never alone, feeling loved by her family. But now, while she is babysitting Shelley’s twin daughters, no one else but her old crush appears out of nowhere. Brady is back in town and there is an instant connection between them. 10 years ago, Brady left Cuttersville for Chicago, sure that he would make it in the art world. But he did not, and now his job at the advertising firm has been terminated. He is down on his luck, out of a job and out of money. And so he has come home to figure out what to do with his life. He is 31, and has nothing to show for himself. His salary will only be paid for the next three weeks, and he has no live savings at all. He will have to break his leash on his apartment, as there is no way he can pay for that anymore.
But first, he is visiting his cousin Shelly, and hoping he can spend the night there as he does not want to disturb his grandmother this late at night. He does not count on the fact that his cousin has actually left town for the weekend, and to find a beautiful young woman as the babysitter. He does not recognize Piper, until she tells him who she is. And then he remembers the little girl, whom he painted a butterfly bedroom for. And who he really, really would not mind doing other things for … which is of course highly inappropriate, he used to baby-sit Piper! And her father, Danny, has big fists …
Piper is embarrassed that Brady finds her like this, in a top and shorts, her pyjama. But he is soaked through, and she can’t let him stand on the doorstep. After talking a bit, and teasing Piper about still seeing ghosts or not, they decide to go to bed. But Piper is for once in her life determined to go after what she wants, and that is Brady in her bed. And so she boldly goes after him, and has the best sex of her life. But so does Brady, and it really shocks him. Piper is not the kind of girl a man has a fling with, and he is leaving for Chicago in two days … or isn’t he?
Lucky for Brady, his grandmother has some rental properties in town, and is willing to let him live in one of them, in exchange for him to fix it up. But Piper has suddenly decided to get a place of herself, a place where she can have a social life, and Brady’s grandmother is willing to let her rent the Blue House, after Brady has fixed it up. Of course, if she is willing to help him with that, she could save on the deposit.
Everyone seems to be against Brady and Piper hooking up together, except for Brady’s grandmother. Piper is just the girl to keep him here in town and make him settle down…
It all seems to be going great, they are almost living together already, when something happens that sets of Piper’s insecurities, and she decides that maybe she needs more time. Time to really deal with her past, and with her ability to see ghosts. Time to stop wanting to be normal and fitting in, and time to do what she wants and needs.
I really enjoyed this sweet love story. It is not friends to lovers, as she was just a little girl when Brady left. Nor big brother’s best friend. But still, they already knew each other. And that was fun and added to the story. There is a big secondary story line about the ghosts living in Shelly’s house, and how the ghost Rachel is suddenly attacking Piper, and the ghost Brady is trying to tell her things. The new Brady is determined to get to the truth about what happened in the past, but Piper is too scared to dig any deeper. She just wishes the ghosts would leave her alone, to be normal.
So they both had growing up to do; to decide what they want in life. I enjoyed it that the journey was not so smoothly after all. There are some hot love scenes in this book, also some sweet scenes though. It is fun to see all the previous characters again, and I really have to find the anthology with the third story in this series.
Erin McCarthy writes fast paced stories, with loveable characters and a great sense of humor and wit that is exactly my taste. The little village of Cuttersville, Ohio, and its inhabitants are a great backdrop to the story. As there are plenty of children around, I do hope there will be more stories in this setting.
© 2014 Reviews by Aurian