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Harlequin Blaze: Shiver

October 8, 2010

Shiver by Jo LeighAnother Harlequin added to the repertoire, this time under the Blaze category.

SYNOPSIS: Carrie is a cynical comic strip artist. Sam is the owner of the “haunted” Crider Inn. Jaded and introverted Carrie doesn’t believe in ghosts or any other spirit mumbo-jumbo, but agrees to spend a week at the inn with her ghost-crazy best friend. While on vacation Carrie meets Sam, who fits into her “vacation fling” category. Sam is undeniably attracted to Carrie, and the two indulge in a week long affair. But after numerous rendezvous and even a few unexplainable phenomena, both Carrie and Sam realize they’re deeper into each other than what they planned.

The most charming thing about Shiver is its cast of secondary characters. They’re both quirky and charismatic, and just as engaging as the main duo. When it comes to geeky ghost hunters, it’s easy to write them as cliche or flat, but the author does a good job of making them cute — in a pocket-protector sort of way.

One thing that I wish had been different is the build-up between Carrie and Sam. The tension between them before they get together is lax and fizzles quickly. Although the story is short and the author probably didn’t want to waste pages on climax, a bit more delayed gratification would have made their encounter that much sweeter.

Oh! Almost forgot to mention the dialogue, which I really enjoyed. The banter between Carrie and Sam was cute, while the conversations between Carrie and her best friend, Erin were true-to-life chats that women readers can totally imagine having with their own bff. It was a change from the dialogue in One Night With His Virgin Mistress, but having an upbeat, contemporary vibe works well in this case.

Overall, I would compare this story to a slice of cake: sweet, quickly devoured and a little bit bad for you. Luckily, this indulgence won’t show up on the scale!

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