Just because she’s sixty-three, cynical, and a church musician, Emily Rauch is hardly done with life—or love.
Now that she’s traded in her old barn of a place for a tiny house in the hills, Emily’s ready for a new start.
Throw in one enormous pipe organ, two ghosts, a pot dealer named Santa Claus, the reappearance of Emily’s bad-boy college squeeze, and a blizzard…what could possibly go wrong?
“…You are a woman of … appetites, Em. You like to eat and drink and…”
“…and fuck.” Emily shocked herself by saying that. Dropping an f-bomb when you were just randomly turning the air blue was one thing. But this was no fuckity-fuck-fuck. This meant actually doing the deed…
But she hadn’t shocked Al. “Indeed. And fuck.” He nodded, his lips tight. “I left you in the lurch.”
Emily sighed. “Yup. Yup. Guess you did. But we talked that stuff to death two decades ago. Shit, Al! It’s just … just … I don’t know what it is. Alexa, play Widor organ music.”
“I don’t know any songs by Widor,” said Alexa.
“Alexa, argh!” Emily made neck-choking gestures toward the black cylinder on her counter.
“Bee-boop,” said Alexa. Her illuminated blue ring danced and turned itself off.
“I know our lovely and talented daughter meant well with that thing,” said Al. “But The Echo sucks at classical music unless you get lucky. Works better just to ask for radio stations.”
“You’re too good at that. Do you haunt many Echo owners?”
“Just Gordon.” Al laughed ruefully. “That young fella of his bought an Alexa for him. Alexa, play WQXR.”
“Playing WQXR.” Alexa provided them with the middle of Respighi’s “Ancient Airs and Dances.”
“Not bad,” said Emily. “No static. It barely comes in up here on the FM. And they’re a public station now, so no more pre-need funeral ads, I guess. God, funerals!”
“Yeah. That. I gather you had a spectacularly bad day…”
“Do you get special ghost email about that or something? Ghost Facebook?”
Al’s laugh, again, was rueful. “Hard to explain. It doesn’t work like that. I never really thought of you as a femme fatale, Em.”
“I wasn’t the one who fatale-ed him! I honestly didn’t intend to have anything else to do with him! Or not much else, anyway. Look, I was being a sex-positive, independent woman caring for her own needs. He went home to his girlfriend, tried for a little more of the old slap and tickle … and crumped.”
“And now you’re playing his funeral. And he came to the organ loft today to bother you.”
Emily began to laugh, too—a bit too hard. There was nothing else left to do. “Oh, fuckity fuck!”
Then there were tears in her eyes again. She laughed until she ran out of air. “I never even unblocked him on my phone. I never even friended him on … Facebook! It was supposed to be a nothing. A one-off. A…”
“I sort of remember Brad. He was at the reception when you played in Brooklyn, right? Was he a good organist?”
Emily wiped her eyes. “He was terrific. But loud and flashy—at least when we were kids. A show-off. I don’t think I’ve actually listened to him play since before I met you. He loved boat races as much as he loved music. Not to mention chasing women. I used to regard that as a challenge when I was in school: break the womanizing horn-dog’s heart and win the Battle of the Sexes. Ah, Al, we’re so nuts when we’re young.”
Al took Emily’s hands. “‘Nuts’ is harsh. I think we’re young when we’re young. You know?”
“I do know.”
“Em, I’ll tell you this… Brad’s going to be … around. Womanizer or no, he probably liked you a lot more than you thought. I get that. Plus, he doesn’t know he’s dead, right?”
“He seems a bit unclear about that. He’s got to know I’m practicing for his funeral. You never seemed unsure about being…”
“Being dead. I had lots of warning. I was sick for a long time.”
Emily nodded. “That sucked. You sure didn’t deserve it.”
Al pecked her cheek with his usual hurried and dry kiss. “No one deserves it. Your friend clearly has unfinished business,” he said. And then he disappeared.
**************Cait Sidhe’s Review***************
Looking in from the outside, sixty-three-year-old church musician Emily, or Em, seems like a very stoic woman. After a passionate marriage and the birth of her daughter, Emily’s husband Al discovered that he was gay. Em smiled through the gossip and the rumors and held her head high. When her ex-husband then died young of complications of AIDS, Em kept the ice in her veins playing pipe organ on Sundays at local churches. Now that her daughter is grown, Em has even downsized into a tiny house. Sure, it looks she might be pitied, but the truth is, Em isn’t done living yet! Throw in the ghost of her husband AND the ghost of an old ex-boyfriend and let the good times roll!
The Ghost of Her Ex is was a super fun read. I loved that all the main characters are in their sixties. That was a nice departure from the typical young and beautiful romance read. If you think that this will be a sedate, clean romance, you are completely wrong! Emily may be older, but she’s not dead! The romance somehow is both sweet and downright naughty!
This book had quite a few laugh-out-loud moments which I loved. The ex, Brad, while we don’t see him alive for very long, causes plenty of trouble after pulling a Nelson Rockefeller and dying in bed with his mistress. He’s trying to show Em that she needs to loosen up, and he’s willing to lend a hand to make it happen. La Cucaracha as a funeral song anyone? No? There are a lot of “inappropriate” moments like this one that makes for a good laugh and Em’s inner dialogue is never short on wittiness and snark. She’s quite hilarious and the situations she gets into make for more humourous cannon fodder.
Cait Sidhe’s rating:
I give The Ghost of Her Ex 4 out of 5 propellers. I love books that make me laugh and this one definitely did!
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About the Author
Aletta Thorne believes in ghosts. When she’s not making up ghost stories for grownups, she is a choral singer, a poet, and a DJ. But she’s happiest in front of a glowing screen, giving voice to whatever it was that got her two cats all riled up at three AM. Her house is quite seriously haunted—even scared the ghost investigator who came to check it out! After all, she lives just across the Hudson River from Sleepy Hollow. Aletta Thorne is also the author of The Chef and the Ghost of Bartholomew Addison Jenkins.