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Review of Phantom Lovers

Evernight Publishing, 2012
Phantom Lovers
Marie Medina

This ebook was a freebie put out by Evernight Publishing. It's a short story, so know that right off the bat because my critique of the book is directly related to its brevity. And yes, this is for all intents and purposes a piece of erotic fluff, but I've always believed that erotica can be as enjoyably romantic as mainstream best-sellers. But more on that in a bit.

Lynsay doesn't believe in ghosts, and she definitely doesn't believe the theater where she works is haunted. But she can't deny the truth when two men appear out of nowhere. Nor can she deny her powerful attraction to them.

John and William, lovers in life and afterlife, have had their eyes Lynsay since she first came to their theatre. They watched, wanted . . . and waited. Now they've decided the tine for waiting is over. But will she return their feelings?

Normally, when reviewing shorter works, I try to avoid statements like "if only it were longer" since that's inherently unfair. Novellas and short stories are not intended to be novels and shouldn't be read or evaluated as a novel would be.

It's very tempting to do so, however, isn't it?

For instance, the only solid complaint I have about Phantom Lovers is something that was caused by its length and could have been resolved with a bigger word count: the first month of the trio's relationship is completely leapfrogged by one of those "one month later" cheats.

Sure, the author saved all the big action for after the jump, but I always enjoy the parts where characters first start to learn each other–‒the flirting, the sexual tension, the epiphany moments. These are the elements of romances I love most. So it was a let-down for me when the characters go from basic strangers on one page to established lovers the next. And since John and William are already infatuated with Lynsay when the story opens, at no point do we really get to see anyone fall in love. And that's just no fun.

Yes, I appreciate that a short story needs to get to the point. And, in this case, much of that point was the consummation of the relationship. Still, I can't help but wish we'd gotten more because I think it would have been a great segment. I mean, c'mon . . . Not only does Lynsay have to come to terms with loving two men equally, but they also happen to be ghosts. As in, long dead, invisible to everyone else, and confined to the building they haunt. Then there's the men's side of things–‒bringing a third lover into a decades-established relationship, a woman they've longed for but can only be with during stolen moments of the day. I'm telling you, it could have been good.

So where does that leave us? With an erotic story that, though sweet and spicy, isn't particularly romantic. Which isn't a bad thing, honestly. Sometimes you want a book that gets down to business. But if you're looking for a love story, this one won't satisfy that itch. I did like the writing, however–‒enough to be curious about other work by Marie Medina.

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