Dark Light

Jayne Castle
September 2008, Futuristic Romance
Jove Books, $7.99, 320 pages, Amazon ASIN 051514519X
Part of a series

Grade: B
Sensuality: Warm

Though somewhat predictable, Dark Light is a comfortable read. The sexy, protective, alpha male and a spunky, yet sensible, heroine were just what I needed to get out of a slight reading slump.

The fifth installment of the author's Ghost Hunters series takes place in the futuristic world of Harmony, where centuries ago an energy field opened that allowed people from Earth to travel to the world once inhabited by advanced aliens. All communications were lost, however, and the colonists from Earth were trapped on Harmony when the energy field suddenly closed. However, the civilization built there continues to thrive and adapt to their new environment.

Sierra McIntyre, a descendant of those early colonists, is the underachiever of her wealthy, overachieving family as she works for a tabloid newspaper that sometimes reports the truth and sometimes does not. However, when several former Ghost Hunter Guild men disappear amid rumors of an illegal drug and the discovery of a secret alien lab, her intuition tells her she’s got a story. Unfortunately, to get to the bottom of the story, she’s got to go through the new Guild boss – John Fontana.

Fontana is a man driven to achieve. Born illegitimate in a world where laws make family a priority, he’s worked his way through the ranks of ghost hunters to claim the Guild's top position. Now he’s got serious problems within his organization and has to turn to a “do-gooder” reporter for help getting to the bottom of things. What he didn’t expect, however, is the marriage of convenience proposal that pops out of his mouth after experiencing an intense attraction to Sierra. For him, the marriage is the easiest way to keep her safe and an excuse to keep her near.

As the newly married couple track the source of the illegal drug and solve the mystery of the missing hunters, Sierra, through incredibly attracted to Fontana, sees the marriage as temporary (much to his great annoyance), whereas he has long term plans. When they become threatened and hunted, they must depend on one another to escape those who are desperately trying to cover their tracks. As threats bring them closer, each begins to rethink their arrangement.

Reading a book late into a series with which you're not familiar is always a little difficult. However the Author’s Note at the beginning of the book helps to clear things up without being overwhelming. Yet, even with that, there were minor gaps of information. I also wanted more sexual tension between the hero and the heroine. The potential is there for some hot chemistry, but it didn’t heat up enough. The length of time the couple spent together wasn’t long enough – I wanted them together more.

My favorite aspect of this story is the characters. The heroine is someone I could like – a little insecure, but serious-minded. Though she lacks the direction of the rest of her family, she wants to help those she’s come to care for. The hero, though possessing supernatural abilities and a powerful position, desires something more in life and he recognizes immediately that it’s possible with Sierra. I enjoyed the world that Castle creates and look forward to reading more in this same series.

If you’re looking for a light romance that’s comforting and quick, I can recommend this one. I must warn you, however, there is a scene stealer embedded within the story – a dust bunny named Elvis who wears a white cape and sunglasses.

-- Heather Brooks

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