The Kiss of the Phantom

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The Kiss of the Phantom

Mariah Hunter is an Aussie treasure hunter based out of the USA. She will look for just about anything for a price. Currently, she in deep trouble and if she doesn’t find a way out of it, she may not be around much longer. In hopes of taking care of this problem, she heads to a remote corner of Germany to search for a stone in the remains of a Gypsy village. Though she finds the stone, her problems are far from over!
Rafe Forsyth is the youngest of several Forsyth brothers, though he only shares a father with the rest of the brothers. Born in the early 1700s, he was entrapped in a red stone by dark magic. From within the stone, Rafe sees his young beloved wife killed by the king’s soldiers. Rafe wants only to be left alone within his grief and guilt but for some reason he is freed from the stone when Mariah touches it, though only in phantom form.
Mariah quickly learns that she wasn’t the only one after the stone when her ex-boyfriend shows up with his new girlfriend warning her of the dark magic. But she is more concerned with the bullets flying her direction than mythical magic as she starts a race for her life. Little does Mariah know that soon she will be dodging killers while dealing with her increased feelings towards a phantom a couple of hundred years old and needing to work with her ex and his family for everything to come out in the end.
This is the third book in a series of books concerning the Forsyth brothers and their entrapment in magical items. Even though I have not read the prior two books, I greatly enjoyed this one. I didn’t really need to know the previous adventures of the other brothers to become involved with this one. 
The characters were excellent and developed extremely well. Mariah’s past becomes reveled as she deals with working with her ex letting readers learn how she got to her current point in her life. Her motivations and goals further solidify as she shares her family life with Rafe. Rafe has plenty to share, as he has to explain how he became entrapped in the stone. His character develops as he interacts with Mariah and begins to explore the new time he finds himself in. Secondary characters and their personalities, motives and pasts are also developed with enough depth that they are more than mere background but are an important part of the story.
This story never slows down or drags. It starts with a prologue involving a couple of secondary characters that play a large part in the overall series and continues with a glimpse into Rafe former life. Chapter one begins Mariah’s adventures with a meeting over the stone and when the book ends, you can’t believe its over, as there is still so much you want to know.  This story covers several countries, a couple of centuries and more than one bad guy, one of which may not be a bad guy at all! Killers show up where you least expect them and always where you do except you’re never sure who sent them and for what purpose. Disbelief in magic becomes total trust in it when popping from one location to another is necessary for survival. Needless to say, there is no down time in this story.
When she’s not trying to stay alive, Mariah is slowly allowing herself to fall in love with Rafe or in lust or something of that nature. She’s not good at sharing her feelings or allowing anyone too close. Should she lower her guard long enough to see where this relationship could go or does it even matter as Rafe still loves his long dead wife?
I loved this book. I liked the way it fit. I loved the ending where maybe the guy everyone is sure is bad, isn’t. This story was fantastic and the relationships were so real. Ms Leto did an excellent job. So, excellent that I had to find the previous two books due to her drawing me into a saga of family, love and life.

Book Blurb for The Kiss of the Phantom

Treasure seeker Mariah Hunter has traveled to a remote corner of Germany in search of a stone that could solve her financial troubles. But from the moment she touches the artifact, Mariah is haunted by erotic images of a mysterious man named Rafe who appears just in time to save her from certain death. But as she finds herself undeniably drawn to her dark savior, it might be Rafe who is the real danger to her heart...

Night Owl Reviews May, 2009 5.00