Title: Just in Time (NineStar Press 2018 Holiday series)
Author: Jacqueline Rohrbach
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: November 26, 2018
Genre(s): Holidays, Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 73
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
The legendary ghosts of Christmas—Past, Present, and Future—failed to cure Evan Eazer of his misanthropy. He hates people, loves conflict, and has a swearing habit to boot. Phil, the Ghost of Imaginary Time couldn’t be more thrilled. Finally, it’s his turn to get off the bench and into the game. He’s sure he can cure Evan and earn back his place in the giving-people-Christmas-epiphanies rotation.
Evan won’t reform easy. He’s immune to Phil’s many charms and seems content to live out the rest of his life bitter and alone. Worse, Phil’s time on the bench has left him ignorant to the ways of humanity. He struggles to navigate the new world and find his place within it let alone help someone else find his way back on the right path.
But one thing Phil does understand about the strange world in which he finds himself is Evan and his pain. He knows what it’s like to be misunderstood by pretty much everyone. But can he get Evan to understand him, too?
“Just in Time” is a quirky retelling of Charles Dicken’s famous Christmas Carol with a new addition to the ghosts of Past, Present and Future — the Ghost of Imaginary Time. So what exactly is the Ghost of Imaginary Time, or as he calls himself Phil? As Phil explains:
Everyone wants to be understood, I suppose. But my gig, my true gig, is that no one can. Past helps humans deal with their trauma, Present helps them cope with reality, Future gives them something to change. I make you face up to the fact that you don’t know shit.
Still not sure what that exactly means? Well how about ….
Think of me as an imaginary number, a placeholder for the impossible. That’s me. I don’t have a defined beginning or end. I’m not clean cut and simple like Past, Present and Future. Some words are like that, too. They’re placeholders for everyone we can’t imagine but imagine all the time. Love, for example.
Yeah. Well. Anyhoo … Human Evan is a cold-hearted bastard and when Past, Present and Future fail to get him to reform, Phil gets to try his hand. And sure, if Phil had taken the time to read the human manual, he would have known things … helpful things like how to NOT freak out people by smiling creepily all the time or offering them candy he has unwrapped to streamline the eating process.
But as Phil spends more time with Evan, he realizes the danger – if he acts more human, he’ll become more human and soon he’s an “I love you” away from becoming fully human. There is love and redemption and a new life in store for both Evan and Phil as the story ends, but I didn’t really feel any chemistry between the two, and while their HEA is well deserved, it seems at odds with the first part of the story. Also, I’m still not sure exactly what the Ghost of Imaginary Time is! 3.5 stars.
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