Meta Mathews is—fortunately or unfortunately—one of those writers who can't pick a time period and stick with it. Her first published book was a sweet contemporary set in the American South (where, not coincidentally, she lives). After writing another contemporary, she veered back in time a couple of centuries for the setting of a traditional Regency, which won the National Readers' Choice Award that year. Next she decided to stick with the Regency setting but move from sweet to rather steamy (to put it mildly). Now, with her first book for Total E-Bound, she's combining the two time periods for an erotic paranormal set in the present in the American South but with visitors from Regency England. Where she'll go from here is anybody's guess.
Expected publication: November 14th 2014 by Totally Bound
(Available for Early Download)
Can Amelia and Jack defy a spirit from the past long enough to ensure their future together?Having discovered that there’s no demand in Atlanta, Georgia, for college graduates with a PhD in history, Amelia Comstock accepts a job from her former professor to research the mysterious disappearance of the Duke of Durbane almost two hundred years ago. Unfortunately, her research seems to have stirred up the duke’s spirit, which—convinced she’s a courtesan—visits her during the night intent on pleasuring her sexually. When Amelia tries to quit her job in the hopes of ridding herself of the duke, her boss tricks her into meeting his nephew, Jack, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the duke and who is struggling with his own unwanted visitor from the past.When Jack Durban, a computer programmer, accepted a transfer to Atlanta, he didn’t expect his uncle Ben, a professor and historian, to recruit him to help research the disappearance of the Regency era Duke of Durbane. Nor did he expect to start getting ghostly visits from a woman wearing a ball gown who insists on pleasuring him against his will. Determined to end his research, Jack agrees to do one last favor for his uncle, which results in his meeting Amelia Comstock, a beautiful historian who strongly resembles his pesky visitor from the past. Jack soon realizes that he and Amelia share a unique connection, meaning that they must combine their efforts to defy the duke so they can enjoy their future together.
Meta Mathews, would you ever consider making Defying the Duke into a full novel? While the premise is plenty creepy, the backstory would make a really interesting counterpoint to the modern aspect of the book. Plus, that ending borders on being a cliffhanger. Well, in my opinion, anyway.
Do you ever feel like you've met someone before? Or dreamt about them somehow? Amelia and Jack feel that way the minute they set eyes on each other. While it could be that they're so engrossed in their research it's encroaching on their reality, it's a little harder to explain how they get visitations from spirits of the past that look like the other AND engage in some seriously sexy time with them, too.
But to what end? What are they hiding that they don't want brought to light in the present? Why is it so important? Unfortunately for me, the answers to these questions are hinted at, but not definitely given. The ghosts aren't the focus of the story, the researchers are. And their dilemmas are solved.
Amelia gets herself a job related to her PhD course in history, something that's notoriously difficult to find. It's interesting while getting a little creepy when a gorgeous male spirit starts visiting and satisfying her after she's done researching his life. It gets stranger after she meets her research partner who, stranger still, looks somewhat like her ghostly visitor.
Jack isn't sure if he's happy with what he's doing or not! He's working for his uncle, who can be notoriously difficult to take, and getting off on his research subject who is several centuries older than he is. And his research partner Amelia sort of resembles her, too. Something so difficult to explain shouldn't be such a turn-on.
Someone who also deserves more page time is the master puppeteer, Ben. There's a motive to his research that goes deeper than what's said and I want to know what it is. This crotchety genius is interesting, to say the least.
Defying the Duke deserves so much more. I do hope Meta Mathews uses this as a springboard and I get to see a story which brings more detail, since this by itself is brilliant. And yes, I'd read the full novel too, just to find out what these intriguing characters are really up to!
Note: eBook copy provided by Totally Bound for an honest review.