Title: Winter Oranges
Author: Marie Sexton
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: November 30, 2015
Page Count: 325
Reviewed by: Renee
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Jason Walker is a child star turned teen heartthrob turned reluctant B-movie regular who’s sick of his failing career. So he gives up Hollywood for northern Idaho, far away from the press, the drama of LA, and the best friend he’s secretly been in love with for years.
There’s only one problem with his new life: a strange young man only he can see is haunting his guesthouse. Except Benjamin Ward isn’t a ghost. He’s a man caught out of time, trapped since the Civil War in a magical prison where he can only watch the lives of those around him. He’s also sweet, funny, and cute as hell, with an affinity for cheesy ’80s TV shows. And he’s thrilled to finally have someone to talk to.
But Jason quickly discovers that spending all his time with a man nobody else can see or hear isn’t without its problems—especially when the tabloids find him again and make him front-page news. The local sheriff thinks he’s on drugs, and his best friend thinks he’s crazy. But Jason knows he hasn’t lost his mind. Too bad he can’t say the same thing about his heart.
I will never look at a snow globe the same way again.
“Most folks don’t like being haunted.”
“That’s because they aren’t haunted by Ben.”
Marie Sexton manages to deliver magic. In every way you choose to interpret that phrase. Jason has decided to take a break from Hollywood and buys a secluded house in Idaho. He sees a young man named Ben who no one else can see but him in the guest room above his garage. Ben is also translucent. Is he going crazy? Is Ben a ghost? No on both counts. You will have to let go of your skepticism for this one, and it’ll be worth it. Ben was frozen in time from the mid nineteenth century. He’s not a ghost because he never died. But he’s not REALLY standing in front of Jason either. It’s something else entirely.
Ben has been watching the world around him ever since. He has a fondness for cheesy soap operas and Murder, She Wrote. I fell in love with him right then and there. I was addicted to Murder, She Wrote growing up. Kindred spirits, he and I 🙂
Jason’s best friend (and benefits), Dylan, thinks Jason’s gone off the deep end. Who can blame him? Jason’s talking to someone who isn’t there.
Each interaction between Ben and Jason is more touching than the last. This was so beautifully written! The constant struggle of their obvious tenderness together with the weight of Ben’s intangibility is difficult to for them. But it makes each moment sweeter because of that.
“I’m saying I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to be good enough to deserve this one moment here with you.”
There is one scene that made me see absolute red, and that is the reason for the half star deduction. It would be a spoiler, so I won’t give details, but I could’ve done without it.
Otherwise, this was an absolute pleasure to read. And I did it in one sitting. There is a HEA for our MCs, and it is equally as beautiful. (And for those wondering about the steam factor, YES, there is steam in this book!)
ARC kindly provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.