published by Avon Romance in August 2007
I took this synopsis from the author’s website, which seems to be a bit more complete than the one on the back cover of the book:
When a former Goth girl has a near-death experience and returns to life with a whole new outlook, she isn’t happy to find that she’s brought a ‘sixth sense’ back with her. Restless female spirits now sense a kindred soul in Nicki Styx, but she’d far rather they take their tales of woe elsewhere. If becoming a reluctant ‘ghoulfriend’ to the dead isn’t enough to turn that pink streak in her hair to white, she still has a vintage clothing store to run and buried secrets to keep from the emergency room 'hottie' who’s doing some digging of his own.Genre: paranormal romance, ghost
Joe Bascombe gets a second chance when the pretty young woman whose heart just stopped comes back to life, and he’s determined not to waste it. Too much work and responsibility have made Dr. Joe a dull boy, and a quirky gamine-faced girl with a zest for life might just be the cure he needs. Too bad she thinks she sees dead people.
A carefree lifestyle suited Nicki just fine, but life changes after death passes her by. Never one to meddle in other people’s affairs, she now finds herself burdened with the responsibility of seeing justice is done in her friend’s murder. The dead woman’s spirit claims that her live-in boyfriend, already arrested for homicide, is innocent and needs to be set free. When Nicki balks at playing detective, the bosom buddy she had in life becomes a pain in the neck in death, landing Nicki in deep Voodoo. Growing feelings for the wholesome and responsible Joe complicate the issue, and Nicki finds herself longing for something she never expected - a normal life.
In the end, Nicki learns that the ‘dearly departed’ don’t always tell the truth. Her ghostly friend wants revenge, not justice. But no ghost is going to get the best of this former Goth girl. Together, Nicki and Joe make sure justice is served and the troublesome spirit is sent on to the other side.
Eventually, Nicki may find that dealing with dead girls is easier than dealing with reality, but for now Nicki and Joe have found something to live for. The hereafter will just have to wait while they enjoy the here-and-now.
Series: Nicki Styx series, Book #1
Why did I get this book? I was looking for something to read/buy. To be frank, I picked up this book, read the back blurb and went: “not another one!” Especially when this book sounded very similar to another one I read a couple of months ago. I mean, let’s face it, Near-Death-Experience (NDE) coupled with abilities to see ghosts afterwards plots have been done and re-done. But I still bought the book ^^; I guess I wanted something to buy :)
My impressions? This was a light and fast read for me. Yes, the plot is familiar, but the characters are not and I think that’s what saved the book for me. I liked Nicki and I thought Joe was very sweet :D They make a good pair and there are some twists in this plot that makes this book worthy of a try. Also, it turns out that this is the first book in the Nicky Styx series and I think it shows potential.
The Heroine, the Hero and the Romance: Well, let’s start with Nicki, our heroine. She was adopted as a baby by free-spirited parents and after their deaths in a car accident, she bought a store with her best friend, Evan. She’s on the gothic side, very bold and outspoken; however, she’s not too tough either. I think that she’s pretty vulnerable and actually is not as tough as she would like people to believe. She’s a very likeable heroine and reminds me a bit of Stephanie Plum, minus the clumsiness and the crazy family.
You know the next-door girl? Well Joe the doctor would be the next-door guy. In my opinion, he has two things going on for him: 1) he’s not in law enforcement and 2) he’s not an alpha. LOL :) Instead, he’s the more serious, responsible, dependable guy… and definitively sweet.
The romance was nice… Joe was definitively trying and you know, they’re building up something. No soulmate or instant mating… just a healthy dose of attraction and a few dates. I did think that the relationship was evolving a bit too fast, I mean, they didn’t fall in bed together immediately, but still it was a bit fast to my taste, given their situation.
The Story: So once Nicki gets over the fact that she can see dead people and starts to believe it, it gets interesting. She gets the visit of a few unrelated ghosts as well of a supposedly friend who’s been murdered and asked Nicki to prove that her man was not the killer. However, the supposedly friend is not very friendly as a ghost and Nicki stats to suspect that something is wrong when the supposedly friend “hurts” Evan once Nicki refuses the help. Turns out that some voodoo is involved.
Meanwhile, there’s also Joe. Nicki is not sure what to do with him… She knows he is attracted to her and she is to him too; however, he has also asked if she could be a subject in his NDE research. The most interesting twist in the book however, would be the fact that Joe is married... to Nicki’s twin sister, or at least, that’s what he believes.
What I liked: I liked that it was fluff and fast to read. I liked Nicki and Joe and both together. I even liked the best friend, Evan.
What I didn’t like: The voodoo aspect of the book. Never liked voodoo and this book didn’t change that.
Grade: B. This was a good effort from the author and the storyline does have potential to become better. I guess we’ll have to see with the next book; however, the synopsis and excerpt sure are promising.