Nothing But Ash
by L Shannon, contemporary (2009)
Liquid Silver Books, $4.25, ISBN 978-1-59578-538-1
I'm sure you know some people who are so troubled by various problems that you end up distancing yourself from them because, while you don't want to be selfish, you realize that these people are not helping themselves. By being in their company, you are being drawn into their problems and they end up making you feel drained and unhappy as well. Well, the hero Owen Sinclair is one such guy, and watching him let his daughter run wild without doing some tough love thingy to help her makes my eyes roll.
Owen's wife Cindy had disappeared two years ago and people, including Owen, believe that she might be dead. Cindy wasn't the kind of person to just leave without a word. Cindy's best friend, Erin Walker, is secretly in love with Owen. She is also the Sheriff of the town of Midnight Ridge, and with the daughter Sienna becoming increasingly out of control, Erin ends up with close contact with Owen pretty often. Shortly into this story, Sienna starts insisting that she can see Cindy's ghost and that Cindy was murdered, and that's when the problems start.
This is a short romantic suspense story with a touch of paranormal elements. For a story of its length, the pacing is fine. Erin is a pretty tough heroine who is convincing enough as a law enforcement officer. However, in this story I find myself put off by Owen's passive attitude. Even when Erin finally shows him how Sienna has gone out of control (he didn't believe Sienna was that bad and pooh-poohed Erin up to that point), he passively let things continue between him and his daughter, resulting in... well, you read the story to find out if you want to know. Let's just say that this man is a little too wrapped up in his pity party for my liking. Erin's attitude about this is pretty much something like "Oh, he's had a tough time, poor thing!" As for Sienna, as much as I try to be understanding since the poor dear is still visibly upset and lost over her mother's disappearance, but my goodness, this is one annoying brat who needs some tough love and some spanking.
All in all, Nothing But Ash is a decent read, although I do wish Owen and Sienna hadn't test my patience as much as they did in this story.
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