Review: Texas Tea by Maura Anderson

Texas Tea is described the author in this way: “Photographer Lara Saunders has a lifelong secret – she can see and hear ghosts. When she was rescued from a near drowning by the ghost of a lighthouse keeper, he set her on a mission to document historic lighthouses and the lives of their keepers so they were not forgotten. Now on her third book in the series, Lara has arrived in San Diego to document the Old Point Loma Lighthouse but hasn’t counted on becoming the target Cody Warren, the matchmaking owner of the Del Fantasma bar. Or falling in love with a handsome Park Ranger whose secret is even more strange than her own.”

So, for me, this book had a lot of stuff stacked against it. I don’t like me some shapeshifters. I typically don’t like me some falling-in-love-at-first sight novellas. And I’m oy-veyed out on erotic romances. I know, I know, I write them too. How do you figure out why a book works and why one doesn’t? Shrugs. Sometimes there’s a cute factor. I don’t mean sappy, Disney cute (although there is a moment of that–without giving it away, it involves a pet-like creature). Maybe it’s the heroine–Lara. She’s not perfect, but she’s perfectly fine. She’s cute, in fact. Loses her keys, crumples receipts in her pocket. Comfortable with her own body, her own sexuality. She simply has this–um, well curse. Think “Ghostwhisperer” but with less finesse and starring a single woman. I really liked the heroine. She’s not kick-arse, she’s not TSTL, she just is. That’s a big plus in a book.

Then there’s the hero. He’s a little angsty about his own secret, and a bit more angsty about his perpetual hard-on for Lara. But he’s handsome and self-depracating enough to forgive. I liked him too. He’s got all the trappings of an ultra-alpha, but he’s a regular good guy, underneath that big secret. A regular Boy Scout, I mean Park Ranger.

This is obviously part of a series that includes our vampire match-making bartender Cody, proprieter (I think) of Del Fantasma. Good concept. There’s a ton of paranormal activity there, of course. My only disappointment was that Ms. Anderson seemed to hedge just a hair. Hmnnn, how do I explain this? She’s created two gifted creatures destined for one another, put them in a total paranormal environment, but hasn’t really immersed us in that environment. I wanted to scream “Let go–let your imagination sore, stop holding back!” A little more about the wonderful ghosts our heroine encounters, perhaps. (Oh, Lara is so cute when she thanks them for their comments–really liked that). They were so intriguing. This is one of those novellas that could easily have been category length.

Ms. Anderson is really, really good at description. I felt time/place/senses. I like a bit more dialog, and I might have enjoyed this book even more if there was a bit more banter. But the sexual tension all comes from description. There’s a lot of it, perhaps too much of it for me. But if you like the sexy stuff, this is your book!

Okay, so I’m confused. I liked a short erotic shapeshifter book. I want more. I want to know about all the ghosts, I want to hear about all the lighthouses, and I want to visit the paranormal “Cheers” again. That’s a big deal for someone who’s gotten grouchy about this kind of book. Two paws up! Maura has great imagination, and this looks like a very cool series. I want to read more of her work, soon!

Okay, on to the next recommended novella. So far, we’re 1 for 1!

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