A while back, I reviewed an asexual male/male romance. What could possibly compete with that? A male/male bellboy plus a rock star GHOST! That’s right. A real, live — I mean dead — ghost. Unfortunately there was no Patrick Swayze-type ghostly possession, but the characters do their best with what they have.
Tyler is a snarky bellboy at a fancy hotel who loves pop culture references and kind of hates his girlfriend. Said girlfriend is a big fan of the band Incite the Masses, and when the story opens, the bass player in the band has checked into Tyler’s hotel and requested seedless California grapes. After Tyler scours every late-night grocer in Boston, he finds the grapes and takes them up to Mr. Rock Star’s room, only to find him dead of a drug overdose. Tyler’s girlfriend dumps him for killing the guy (by not fetching grapes fast enough).
A few months later, Tyler finds Dead Chris’s ring in the penthouse and puts it on. Cue ghosting! Chris looks great for a dead guy, and he doesn’t know he’s dead. He and Tyler banter and argue, then say their farewells, only to discover that Chris isn’t going anywhere. He also can’t go more than twenty feet away from Tyler. This means that he follows Tyler home, watches tv all night (ghosts don’t sleep), and complains in the morning that Netflix turned itself off because Chris couldn’t push the button on the remote control.
“You’re the most boring person I’ve ever met.”
I frowned at him. “You know, for somebody who can’t use a remote, you’re being an awfully big bitch to the one who can.”
Tyler and Chris mainly tease each other, but it’s never mean, and they become friends. Then, more than a third into the book, they each reveal that they’re bisexual. To me, that felt like a late revelation, especially on Tyler’s part. He’s the sole narrator, and he mentions boobs and great sex with his ex-girlfriend a lot. He also mentions Chris’s dimples and nice hair, but immediately follows with “why am I thinking that?” Even knowing that this was a romance, I felt like that reveal was forced. Then it takes a while for Tyler and Chris to admit that they’re hot for each other. That makes more sense; since Chris is dead, it seems like kind of a dead-end (ha ha, sorry) romance.
Amidst all these feelings, Tyler decides that Chris needs to say goodbye to a few people so that he can move on. Tyler works extra shifts to save money for travel, while Chris learns how the poor people live. They watch a lot of Supernatural, so that Chris can understand why Tyler’s first thought was to shoot him with a salt gun.
Most people call this a slow-burn romance. Yes. There’s no contact until 70% in. Again, Chris is a ghost, so they didn’t consider that option for a while, plus the rules of this ghost-verse require the build-up. After that, though, there’s lots of snarky/angsty emotion and snuggling. By the end, they have to make a pact to not tease each other about how sniffly and schmoopy they are being with each other. It’s cute. And, yes, there is ghost sex.
Overall, I had fun reading this, mainly because Tyler’s mind is a fun place to be. I would have liked earlier openness about his sexuality, because it almost came across as “gay for you.” But otherwise, it was funny, and even delivers its own kind of happy ending.
Click to purchase: Amazon
Rock N Soul
by Lauren Sattersby
Release Date: January 16, 2016