Title: A Frost of Cares
Author: Amy Rae Durreson
Publisher: Dreaspinner Press
Release Date: January 27, 2016
Page Count: 153
Reviewed by: Renée
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
Military historian Luke Alcott leaps at the chance to live in the seventeenth-century country mansion of Eelmoor Hall, home of the Royal Military School of Medicine, after being offered a job cataloging the school’s archives. Luke believes he chose the perfect place to start a new life and put his broken past behind him. But soon after settling into the old house, he hears strange noises—like footsteps—and he begins to suffer from terrible nightmares.
The only person Luke can turn to for help is the taciturn caretaker, Jay, a veteran of the Afghanistan war who carries an old battle wound. Together they try to understand Eelmoor Hall’s history and decipher what could be causing the haunting. As the weather grows colder and snow dusts the countryside, a child goes missing. Luke needs to deal with his own demons and learn to trust in love again if he hopes to face down the angry spirit and find the missing girl.
This is one of those books that was outside of my comfort zone, but so so worth it.
HEA – check.
Angst – check
Good character development – check
Ghost haunting MCs’ living space – check
No, not that kind of ghost. Let me start over for you.
Luke is a British military historian hired to archive and pack up the contents of a library at a historic residence that’s been owned and used by the Army for medical school for the past century. It’s there he meets the only other person who inhabits the residence, Sergeant McBride, it’s caretaker.
The story is told through epistolary method, as Luke is recounting the events from those weeks in an electronic journal, ten years after they’ve happened. We learn of the outcome of the romantic relationship right away because of it, though this didn’t take anything away the outpouring of Luke’s story.
Luke and Jay have demons though. Luke is still mourning an ex who disappeared ten years ago, never to be heard from again. Jay is still mourning a limb. Neither have accepted where life has brought them. This was my favorite part of the book. Watching them blossom for each other. Even with only Luke’s POV, we truly see BOTH men’s scars begin to heal.
Luke is staying in a room far across this “manor” from where Jay resides. And its away from Jay that he begins to encounter “her.” The Mistletoe Bride latches onto Luke, for whatever reason, and wants him to help her. As a historian, Luke does all he can to research what happened during her actual life and how it was tied to the building, and then tries to deduce what it is that she wants. Now, if it was me? I’d have run screaming after the first “incident” because there is no amount of money worth that shit, uh uh, no way, no how. But it’s Luke’s and Jay’s logic and Luke’s researcher mind that cause these men to keep digging.
But what starts out as them thinking she means no harm, she just wants resolution, quickly turns into “This chick is cray cray.”
Aaaaand this is where my discomfort came in. So I feel the need to put out a warning, just for those who are scaredy cats like me. There’s a bit of a creep factor with this book. It’s not OTT. It’s not gonna make you lose sleep. But this isn’t a “nice” ghost, content to haunt the halls and just be seen from time to time. So I have no shame in admitting that I was a smidge freaked the fuck out. I was also reading at night while the rest of my house was sleeping, which in hindsight was probably not the best setup for my ninny baby self. Anywaaaaaay….moving on. Not thinking about it. Luke and Jay know what they gotta do.
Back to Jay and Luke. Even though there’s a ghost here, it doesn’t detract from the romance at all. Like I said earlier, the whole time they are researching and plotting how to rid the halls of The Mistletoe Bride, Luke and Jay are building something, becoming smitten, and healing. I was all smiles. And the British humor had a lot to do with that. The snark was spicy and right up my alley.
I highly recommend this one, even those who don’t usually read m/m with ghosts. I usually don’t either, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I will be going to this author’s backlist immediately to see what else she’s got.
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