Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Heat Rating: 4
Emmaline Force talks to ghosts. When a desperate plea for help comes from Maria Sanchez, Emmaline and her best friend, Matt, head halfway across the country to help. Upon arrival, Emmaline is immediately attracted to the skeptical and temperamental Blade, Maria’s brother. Fresh from a failed engagement, Emmaline wants a no-strings affair and nothing more. Blade has other ideas.
As things heat up between Emmaline and Blade, she finds herself the target of a jealous and malevolent spirit. Her rocky and volatile relationship with Blade shatters the same night Emmaline incites the ghost to violence.
Eighteen months later, Emmaline finds herself back at the ranch to visit Maria and Matt, who fell in love and married during their first visit. The wounds in Emmaline’s heart have healed and she has finally admitted to herself that she is in love with Blade. Can she repair their relationship and finally defeat the ghost who has claimed Blade for her own?
Many writers create books in the erotic romance genre, but fail to deliver the full gamut of a story. Besides the erotic element, there has to be character arcs, a beginning, middle and end and vivid characters. Michele Zurlo’s Irrepressible Force is a textbook example of a book meeting all the beats.
Irrepressible Force takes us to a resort, inhabited by Rosalie, a recalcitrant and meddlesome ghost, Emmaline Force, friend to the owners, Maria and Matt (Matt used to be Emmaline’s partner in the ghost business) and Blade, a dark and troubled man and Emmaline’s love interest. Ms. Zurlo’s characters are complex, requiring us to stay engaged and look through their superficial attributes to the underlying layers. This complexity, including Rosalie, is the driving force of the book.
Called in to remove Rosalie, Emmaline has to confront not only this ghost, but also herself, as she deals with a recent abandonment in her life. She also faces off with Blade, with whom she has some history, but their ‘romance’ is a battle of wills.
This is the second book by Michele Zurlo with disturbing elements, which makes you an additional character as you confront your feelings regarding sex. Chapter two has an extremely well written sex scene that, besides the eroticism, really defines the characters of Emmaline and Blade. Also, for students of this genre, it can be a lesson on hitting all the nodes in writing erotic scenes: Tension, Foreplay, Explicitness and Afterglow.
Irrepressible Force is the type of book that commands your attention. You can’t skim the surface here and hope to understand the many layers at work, you need to remain engaged. There are plots and subplots at work, from the obvious Blade and Emmaline, to the Rosalie element, Matt and Maria’s relationship, and Matt and Emmaline’s relationship, now that they are no longer partners.
It is a balancing act to keep all these elements in motion and still move forward towards resolution. Ms. Zurlo, as she did in her book, Hanging On, creates a complex story, still easy to read, but nonetheless one compelling enough to keep you turning pages, as you follow each of the plots to their resolution.
Desmond’s Quote: “A rare find in the erotic romance genre, Irrepressible Force is a compelling story about core desires and confronting personal demons. Emmaline’s confrontation with Rosalie is not much different than confronting her demons within. A genuine ‘must read’ for those of us requiring more than a superficial story and one to keep your mind occupied, long after you put the book down.”
5 Tea Cups!