Nathaniel O’Donnelly likes his life quiet, his guests happy, and his ghosts well-behaved.
Although a boyfriend wouldn’t go amiss. Someone to share his beautiful B&B with, even if it is in the middle of nowhere and he’s long past the wrong side of thirty. Problem is, Nathaniel’s living with a ghost who thinks he’s cupid, and whose arrows fly a little too straight.
Gabriel Wickfield had the unfortunate luck of dying before his time, and now he’s stuck trying to make romance happen to earn his right to move along. Not that he’s bored in the meantime—Nathaniel is just too easy to tease. And also a little bit scrumptious…
With the curse reaching its expiration date, Gabriel needs to make a final match this Christmas. Without it, nothing but darkness awaits.
I don’t read a lot of romances featuring ghosts, not sure why, but I just don’t. Having recently read a book co-authored by Vaughn, I decided to give The Winter Spirit a try to see if I enjoyed the author’s solo writing efforts as well. I am so very glad that I did because I thoroughly enjoyed Nate and Gabriel’s unlikely romance.
The book opens with Nate being excited and nervous about the impending arrival of a guest to his B&B. A guest who was once a very important person in his life – his best friend and childhood crush, Owen. Because he wants everything perfect for their reunion after so many years, he warns his resident ghost to behave. Yep, you read that right, the B&B is haunted and Gabriel has been playing pranks on Nate for years. Once Nate’s excitement about Owen’s arrival is apparent, Nate is encouraged by both Gabriel and Elisa (his employee) to go for it. All seems to be going well until Owen comes on WAY too strong and Nate learns that his childhood best friend didn’t hold their friendship as close as he did. At this point, I really wondered where the author was taking the story because the potential romance between Nate and Owen came to a screeching halt. And then… Nate’s curiosity about Gabriel’s death had him looking into Gabriel’s life and becoming more interested in his spirited companion. Nate’s attention and Gabriel’s unexpected solidification meant that the two men could get to know one another better, both in friendship and physically. But as the anniversary of Gabriel’s death nears, Nate is worried that the things Gabriel aren’t telling him could cause more heartache for the both of them. However, Nate chooses to embrace the mindset of “It’s better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all,” and he sets out to give Gabriel his all in case these few days will be all they ever have.
I really, really liked how the romance between Nate and Gabriel played out. Owen’s presence in the story didn’t make Gabriel’s solidification simply a convenience for Nate to take advantage of. Rather Owen served as a bit of a wake-up call for Nate of what he did and didn’t want in a lover. It also gave him a chance to see Gabriel more as a person than as the annoying prank-playing spirit he had been. Nate got to know the man that Gabriel was and is. I enjoyed watching Nate “wake up” to Gabriel’s presence and becoming attuned to how the man affected him. I was almost as distraught as Nate when their time was cut short and likely would have cried along with him had I not been reading at work. I loved how Vaughn ended The Winter Spirit, giving both men a happy ending. I look forward to checking out more of the author’s work.
I found this book on Amazon and figured I’d check it out. I didn’t expect to totally and utterly fall in love with the characters. And yet I did. Nathaniel built up and runs a B&B basically in the middle of nowhere. Yes, it’s near a small town, but rarely do people come out – especially in the winter. He has a helper who loves to tease and a ghost bent on matchmaking. When an unrequited crush from Nathaniel’s past shows up out of the blue, will the ghost send the right arrow?
Let me just say I would call this book a combination love story and romance. I laughed and cried as I read it and I will be rereading it for years to come. I can’t even think of anything wrong with it. I was so captivated by the story.
Interested in a wonderful love story between two men? Yes there are erotic scenes, but the basis of the story is the romance/love angle. And it’s soooooo good.
A must buy in my opinion.