Provoking the Spirit by Crista McHugh
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (44 pgs)
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum
Remy Robicheaux didn’t know that when he bought his home, it would come with a ghost. Anxious to get rid of the spirit, he calls his little sister’s best friend to help him. Instead of the gawky teenager he once knew, he finds himself face to face with a temptress.
Ainsley Brennen enjoys being an amateur ghost hunter, but when her high school crush calls her to help him figure out the strange activity in his house, her feelings for him are resurrected in a way that makes her knees weak. In an effort to get to the bottom of the haunting, she discovers there’s more than one way to provoke a spirit.
If you are a fan of ghost hunting shows then this book will appeal in a big way. If the TV shows were like this book, they’d come with content warnings.
The other aspect of this story is a romantic ‘what if’ scenario. What if your chosen career puts you back in touch with a person you secretly yearned for from afar? What happens when you find out that your dreams could possible come true? Would you believe in it? Trust it? That is the dilemma facing this story’s intrepid ghost hunter, Ainsley. She’s made a life for herself, she knows what she wants and accepts the things in life that she can’t have. However, not everyone is so accepting of that outlook.
Remy is an old friend. He’s rich, successful in his career and yet he’s still alone, missing that certain something. What I liked about Remy is his willingness to trust Ainsley, even when she’s doing something he’s not too sure of. There’s an element of respect and honor about him when it comes to dealing with his sister’s friend. Yet, he’s no longer content with the status quo. He’s changed but until he faces his past in his present, he doesn’t realize it. It takes an inner epiphany to bring it to light and I’m glad he figured a few things out.
The plot movement is helped by a paranormal thread that weaves through the whole story. If what happens in this story could happen on my favorite show, ratings would go through the roof. As it is, the undercurrent brought emotion and connection between the characters and helped them get past their awkwardness.
Provoking the Spirit, a take on some sage advice I’ve heard, really produces a stunning and entertaining story that manages to be romantic, hot and melancholy all at the same time. It presents a fine balance between developing characters, a changing relationship, some uninhibited sensual provoking and the potential for a solid HEA. Definitely a story worth investigating.