Title ~ Restless Spirits (Restless Spirits #1)
Author ~ Jordan L. Hawk
Published ~ 6th January 2015
Genre ~ M/M Paranormal Romance, Historical
After losing the family fortune to a fraudulent psychic, inventor Henry Strauss is determined to bring the otherworld under control through the application of science. All he needs is a genuine haunting to prove his Electro-Séance will work. A letter from wealthy industrialist Dominic Gladfield seems the answer to his prayers. Gladfield’s proposition: a contest pitting science against spiritualism, with a hefty prize for the winner.
The contest takes Henry to Reyhome Castle, the site of a series of brutal murders decades earlier. There he meets his rival for the prize, the dangerously appealing Vincent Night. Vincent is handsome, charming…and determined to get Henry into bed.
Henry can’t afford to fall for a spirit medium, let alone the competition. But nothing in the haunted mansion is quite as it seems, and soon winning the contest is the least of Henry’s concerns.
For the evil stalking the halls of Reyhome Castle wants to claim not just Henry and Vincent’s lives, but their very souls.
Well that was fantastic! Jordan L Hawk has kicked off the new year for me with a most satisfying and stupendous reading session, that I really didn't want to finish. All I can say is thank goodness this is a series because I've just fallen (again) for two more of her intriguing, engaging, unusual pairings. One book about this new couple would just NOT be enough. Psychical Society member and scientist, Henry Strauss and mysterious medium, Vincent Knight are definitely a winning combination.
Science meets Spiritual in a delightfully creepy, atmospheric story with both out of this world spookiness AND down to earth mystery. Plus a sexually charged, sensual romance that set my heart a fluttering, as well as thumping when the danger and ghostly shenanigans notched up a gear. Book one introduces us to two enigmatic men—and the people important to them in their lives—who begin their relationship at odds, as their conflicting ideas about the world of spiritualism, conspire to pit them, and their opposite beliefs, against each other in a lonely mansion where menace lurks amongst the cobwebbed corridors and impending peril hides in its dark, shadowy corners. <shudders!>
A cross between an "Olde Worlde" episode of Ghost Hunters and The Haunting Of Hill House, it kept me totally immersed and nicely creeped out all the way through. Set in the late nineteenth century, the historical side feels authentic yet at the same time never comes over as stuffy or formal, which I guess comes down to the paranormal aspects that add a touch of fantasy to the mix, and because of Henry's extraordinary ghost hunting inventions and machines; almost a bit steampunky...but not...
Anyway, however you pigeonhole it, Restless Spirits is an absolute blast and I loved every spookalicious moment of it!
The actual storyline concerning the haunting is excellent; the plot twisting and turning, with lots of misdirection and scope to keep you wondering if in fact everyone, or everything, is as it seems. More than one person is nursing secrets, including Henry and Vincent, whose pasts include conflicts and histories that at times cloud not only their judgements about each other, but have them making decisions that result in their actions putting themselves, and the people around them, in more danger.
From the moment Henry and the gorgeous, Native American clairvoyant Vincent lay eyes on each other they’re clashing one minute, but always with a palpable, delicious, simmering tension that draws them to each other despite their rivalry. Witnessing just how Vincent and Henry generate the energy needed to summon the malevolent spirit causing havoc in the haunted house? OH MY!... Best seance EVER!!! A bit more than ectoplasm was produced under that table!
Then there are the supporting characters, including some not so 'solid' ones, who really bolster the plot and add to its enjoyment. Jordan Hawk writes great female characters into her stories, and the women in this are no exception. Strong willed, no nonsense Lizzy: spirit writer and Vincent's partner is a real force to be reckoned with and surprising in her own right, and Henry's mixed race, sixteen year old niece Jo: who at such a young age, has had more than her fair share of emotional baggage to carry, is a great sidekick for her scientifically focused Uncle. These are characters who are important to the development of the plot and add structure and purpose in their relationships with the MC's, as both female presences are influential in the lives of their male counterparts and I can't wait to see how they'll figure in the coming books. The rest of the cast in this, power the story along and add a few gasps and intakes of breath as you don't always see what's coming. I did sort of guess one of the outcomes but there were enough other shocks and surprises to not make that an issue. I just sat back and got lost in the journey.
I've tried to keep away from plots and blurbs because I think this should unfold itself to you as you read. Each stage of the book, enjoyed without any preconceived notions of where the story is leading. If I'd known anything, I'd have been really miffed not to have discovered it by myself. Refreshing and novel, this was a pure pleasure to read and I just hope it's not going to be too long a wait till Henry, Vincent and the girls are back on the psychic trail, using Henry's smarts and Vincent's spiritual senses.
Having a haunting? Problems with Poltergeists? Spooked by spirits ..."I know who I'd call, and it ain't Ghostbusters!!!
Buy it Here
A short time later, everyone drifted into the dining room for lunch. It was less formal than their earlier meals, and at the moment only Henry, Jo, and Night were present; the others’ footsteps and voices sounded on the stairs and in the hall.
Henry scarcely believed the Franklin bells had worked. Of course theory said they should, and he’d been confident in it…but there had always been a little seed of doubt.
Not now. He’d create his own model of the bells and patent it as a “ghost detector.” Strauss’s Sure-Fire Spirit Finder—that sounded good, didn’t it? Sleep peacefully, without fear of unseen spirits, the ad might say. Of course, he’d have to find some way of insulating it from lightning storms, or else legions of customers would end up convinced that they were haunted every time the weather turned foul.
But those were just details, to be figured out later. For now, the point was that the device had worked.
Bamforth laid out a selection of cold meats, cheeses, and bread for them on the long side table. Henry assembled a sandwich from them and dropped into one of the chairs at the table.
Vincent Night sat down directly beside him.
Bands tightened around Henry’s chest, and his hunger dissolved. Or rather, his hunger for the food. Even not looking directly at Night, he was keenly aware of the medium’s body inches from his, just as he would have been the heat from a fire. He reached hurriedly for his coffee with his right hand even as Night reached with his left. Their elbows bumped, and Henry felt in his groin the shock of the casual touch.
“Pardon me,” Night said, giving no indication that Henry’s presence had any effect on him at all.
“Of course,” Henry replied, striving to sound cool. Which was impossible, considering all he could think of was the heat of Night’s lips on his, the press of his erection through their trousers.
No. He had to fight this. The man was a fraud and a liar at worst, an archaic purveyor of superstition at best. How many widows had Night tricked out of their inheritances, leaving them destitute? How many young men had he taken advantage of, claiming to care for them?
Except he’d gone out of his way to reassure Henry last night in the bedroom. Offered to make him tea. And this morning, he’d tried to help Jo, at least until Henry had intervened. Those seemed less like the actions of a fraud, and more like the actions of someone concerned about those around him.
“Are you quite all right, Mr. Strauss?” Miss Prandle asked as she entered the room.
Henry blinked back to the here and now and realized he’d been clutching his coffee and glaring at his plate without either taking a sip or eating a bite. “Quite fine, thank you,” he said and brought the coffee cup to his lips.
“I’m sure Mr. Strauss is merely excited by the morning’s events,” Night said blandly.
Henry choked on the coffee in his mouth, succeeding in bringing it up his nose. Jo helpfully pounded him on the back.
“Indeed,” he said, mopping his face with his napkin. “Science is always thrilling. Far more so than most other activities one might undertake.”
“Of course,” Night replied, pausing to take a bite of bread. “There is nothing quite so rousing for a man as to have his bells played with.”
Meet Jordan L. Hawk
Jordan L. Hawk grew up in the wilds of North Carolina, where she was raised on stories of haints and mountain magic by her bootlegging granny and single mother. After using a silver knife in the light of a full moon to summon her true love, she turned her talents to spinning tales. She weaves together couples who need to fall in love, then throws in some evil sorcerers and undead just to make sure they want it bad enough. In Jordan’s world, love might conquer all, but it just as easily could end up in the grave.
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