Miss Olivia Wingate-Carsington has maintained a written communication with Peregrine Dalmay, the Earl of Lisle for the last several years. He has been in Egypt exploring underground tombs and mummies and generally staying away from his crazy parents. Apparently Olivia led him on merry adventures back when they were younger but they were never really more than great friends. When Lisle returns from Egypt for a visit he is shocked to discover that Olivia has turned into quite the gorgeous heart breaker who has already broken off several engagements. He is even more upset when his parents threaten to cut him off financially if he does not stay in England and go to their drafty castle in Scotland. The people there are refusing to work there as they believe it is haunted and Lisle does not see how he can get out of going and then, of course, Olivia takes it into her head to come up with a "Plan."
She leads his parents to believe there is a relationship between them and they agree to have her escort their son to Scotland where she will help him bring the castle up to snuff quickly so that he can return to Egypt. The journey up is fraught with peril as the more time they spend together the harder it is for them to deny their immense attraction for the other. Once at the castle in Scotland Lisle is forced to admit that Olivia is far more a grown woman than the girl he remembers as she effortlessly take charge and brings order to the chaos. Added to this are their two "chaperones"- two extremely raunch elderly ladies who speak their mind. They know that there is no ghost, but he refuses to believe her when she claims that someone is using a "ghost" as a distraction so that they can look for treasure on the property. Together they must solve the mystery and discover that they can have all the adventures they want with each other.
The first thing I thought when reading this book was how immature Olivia was and this started at the beginning with her heavily capitalized and underlined, not to mention exaggerated, letters to Lisle. This makes sense as she was young but she continues to seem very young throughout the book even as she was bringing order to the castle and brightening up Lisle's life. I guess this makes sense as Lisle was also much younger than most romance novel heroes at only 24 and he also seemed rather immature. There were ridiculous fights between the two of them where she resorted to name calling and he acting like a 20 year-old man. I figured out by the end that Olivia had had feelings for Lisle for many years but it wasn't explitly stated and was really hidden. I prefer it when these things are made clear so that we can understand some of her motives, but I did like that it didn't lead to moping and angst on her part. She really was trying help him and make his life better and that was romantic.
His feelings were rather sudden at the end and the final scene where they declare their love is beautiful. The sex between them was rather sparse and was decent if not spectacular. The side plot about the ghost and the treasure was very well done and, although it wasn't really a mystery as we knew who the bad guys were, I really enjoyed it and thought it was a strong element in the story. Much was made throughout the book about his parents and how they only thought about themselves and were generally weird. It kind of made Lisle and Olivia look rather mean for picking on his parents when it seemed like they were only looking out for what they thought was their son's best interest. However I did find the two elderly chaperones highly annoying and off putting and I wanted to slap them numerous times. They literally could not talk about anything but sex or men.
Rating: The characters were decent but not really my cup of tea but Chase always writes interesting books that I enjoy reading.