Review: Phantom Desire by Houston Havens

phantom desireReviewed by Shelly

After reading the first book in the series, I knew that this was a new author and I did something I don’t normally do – I allowed for being a new author. I trusted the editing, as the publisher’s been around for a while, and most importantly I’m a ménage fan. That being said, if you read my review of the first story, I didn’t find it to be engaging until about a quarter of the way in. Along with that I had to suspend any semblance of things making sense to really enjoy it. And then I ran into the HFN at the end, but I liked the story enough that enjoying more that 70% of the story counted for much. About that HFN, my cardinal rule for romances — I don’t like HFNs. I read romance for a reason and in my selfish world – HEAs are a must.

As this story picks up directly after Book 1, I don’t recommend reading as a standalone because there’s going to be a lot that’s confusing (and frustrating) to a new reader of the series. The only part of the story from Book 1 I’m going to recap is that it’s acceptable and expected that one woman will marry brothers (regardless of how many). Fay’s best friend and fellow mind traveler, Chandra Lamar, has chosen the Nodin brothers. Each of the brothers is very different. Andonis (brought to mind Adonis) is the healer in the family; he’s also the good looking one who hasn’t had to do anything in the past to attract the women. Ortello (brought to mind Othello) is the warrior of the bunch and the only one that Chandra has a relationship (including sexual) with; he appears as a ghost throughout. Then the last brother, Nikias, is the intermediary and an albino.

For the first quarter, it was Chandra and Ortello. The thing is, Ortello is dead already and he’s only appearing in Chandra’s dreams and as some kind of a ghost. There’s a whole thing about only his body being dead and he’s there in ‘spirit.’  All that’s fine dandy but I found it ‘different’ for sex parts between these two. Then there’s the part about Chandra not having any kind of a relationship with the other two brothers until Ortello was dead. I wonder how that would have been different if Ortello had not died?

Unfortunately for me, this story didn’t start picking up until 44% in. Before that, the conversation dragged and was repetitive between Chandra and Nikias about how guilty she felt over Ortello’s death and how Andonis blamed Chandra for Ortello’s death and how Nikias didn’t blame anyone for Ortello’s death. Ugh! The relationship between Chandra, Andonis and Nikias was based on their mutual grief over the death of Ortello and there was nothing romantic about that to me. I didn’t even like the sex because it seemed so fractured and everyone was in it for himself or herself. That’s weird to say but with the premise that brothers marry a single woman you might see where some cohesiveness of thought and behavior might become necessary.

Once the action picked up with Chandra wanting to go on a mission to avenge Ortello, I started really enjoying the storyline. It moved a lot faster, but by that time I had lost most of my enthusiasm for the story and finding out about these three (or four) people in the relationship. By the end (there was an HEA, I think) I’m not sure what direction Havens is taking the story, as the focus seems to have shifted from the war that was introduced in Book 1. But what I did find out is that this is to be a 7 part series.

Happy Reading folks!

Rating: B-/C+

*ARC provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon

Phantom Desire
by Houston Havens
Release Date: September 1, 2014


  1. Jen at Red Hot Books says:

    So are you going to keep reading the series?

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.