Shaking Off the Dust

Warning, this title contains the following: explicit sex, graphic language and violence.

Dr. Tom Mercurio was a brilliant neurosurgeon who saved countless lives with his skill. Too bad he was such an arrogant blowhard. When he died at terrorists' hands in a fiery airliner explosion, the list of people who cared to participate in his memorial service was dismally short. But Hannah Campbell, a nurse who had worked with him, and whose life he once saved, agreed to take part. Which was how she happened to be holding his ashes when a sudden storm struck, blowing the good Dr.'s ashes up her nose and knocking her cold with a stray lightning bolt. Now she sees dead doctors.or, at least, one irritating surgeon's ghost.

Mercurio's closest friend, Dr. Takeshi Shimodo, doesn't know what to think when Hannah tells him his old college buddy is her new and constant companion (at least in spirit), and that he wants them to find the terrorists who blew up his plane. He does know that she's extraordinary-in more than her apparent psychic abilities-and he's interested in getting to know her better. But the FBI is interested in her newfound abilities, too, and international villains are determined to shut down any investigation. Does Hannah's and Takeshi's budding relationship stand a ghost of a chance?

There are many great descriptors for this story, but I think I'll start with "unexpected". I've been reading romantic fiction for a long time, and I can safely say this story not only caught my interest with its fresh, intriguing premise, it held me tightly all the way through with multiple twists and turns. Yet, with all the unexpected moments and quirks, it never strained my sense of credibility. Given the initial premise of the existence of an afterlife and spirits of the dead being able to linger and communicate under certain conditions, Rhianna Samuels gives us a story that feels plausible, even possible. There's a lot going on here-Hannah's new abilities, and her health problems that threaten her well-being, Dr. Mercurio's presence, and his demands for justice, Takeshi's scientific interest as a researcher and doctor, which often conflicts with his feelings for Hannah, and the whole airliner story arc, complete with FBI, international police forces, terrorists, and organized crime figures. There are also other "spirit issues", but I can't even get into that without risking spoilers. But Ms. Samuels handles all these threads deftly, bringing together a story full of suspense, pathos, adventure, and plenty of deep, hot romance. Although the plot is complicated, she doesn't slight character development; I felt I knew Hannah, Takeshi, and Mercurio well-strengths and weaknesses, and motivations.

Shaking off the Dust is a complex, fast-paced tale that finds a unique premise and explores it well, while giving us interesting characters. If you like paranormal elements, riveting suspense, or just a good heart-felt romance, give this one a try. It's going on my keeper shelf-I'm just not sure in which category!

Book Blurb for Shaking Off the Dust

Hannah's list: Ghosts are cold to the touch. Being tied up isn't much fun. And danger is a sure-fire prescription for amazing sex!

When Hannah Campbell attends a memorial service for the neurosurgeon who once saved her life, the last thing she expects is a lightning strike that knocks her out cold and blasts her lungs full of the departed's ashes. Things only get weirder when she wakes up to find the deceased standing over her hospital bed, insisting she help him track down the terrorists who blew up his plane.

Professor Takeshi Shimodo doesn't know what to believe when smart-mouthed Hannah appears on his doorstep, claiming to be haunted by the ghost of his best friend. Yet she exhibits some extraordinary psychic abilities. And her determination to find justice for the crash victims, in spite of her fragile health, touches his heart.

Takeshi's acupressure techniques are meant to calm Hannah's erratic heartbeat, but the longer they are together, the more his magic fingers have the opposite effect. Soon, their passion flares hotter than any lightning strike.

But now the terrorist they seek is hunting them. And the FBI is suspicious Hannah knows just a little too much.

Without some "spiritual" help, they haven't a ghost of a chance.

Night Owl Reviews Mar, 2008 4.50