My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...
The Hallucinatory Duke by Meta Matthews was a fun paranormal romance with a touch of erotica. I was totally enjoying the story because it had a very interesting premise. But unfortunately, it ends way too soon for me to enjoy it completely.
When the story starts, we find the heroine, Amelia, literally being sexually harassed by the ghost of a 19th century Duke, the Duke of Durbane. Even though the guy is sexy in his Regency-era getup and Amelia’s body tunes up whenever he’s here, she still can’t wrap her mind around it. Sure, she’s doing this research on the man on behalf of her employer, Prof. Durban, who is obsessed about finding out if he’s related to the Duke or not. But this is way too much! He’s gotta be some kinda hallucination! But his touch is anything but that. The duke not only seems real but he likes to touch her like... well, like he has every right to touch whenever he wants to. Amelia’s angry retorts towards the duke and curses, calling him a ‘perv’ etc. were really hilarious.
Amelia complains to Ben, or Prof. Durban about this encounter. But the man acts as if things like that happen every day! He’s VERY focused on finding the truth and hands out some more stuff he brought back from England to Amelia. Among those, there is a diary of a woman who apparently was the cousin of Durbane’s Duchess, Amy. Then, surprise, surprise! Amelia discovers that her surname and the woman’s surname are the same, which leaves her quite baffled. Is she also a descendant of the Duchess? She certainly never heard of anything like that but Amelia is intrigued nonetheless.
So the story goes, that after the Duke and the Duchess married is when some trouble brewed for them. I’m not very knowledgeable of Hardwicke Marriage Act but that is what was causing the trouble. The Duke had only one cousin as an heir apart from him and that cousin was becoming a thorn in his arse. The Duchess left for America, with her cousin in tow, while the Duke vanished without a trace soon afterwards. His cousin also died a few yrs. later and title was announced extinct in the end. But was the Duchess secretly pregnant with the Duke’s heir? The story is quite hazy as we learn most of it from Amy’s cousin’s diary and later the assumptions made through the research.
As Amelia starts researching on the duchess, she was about to get another surprise of her life soon...
Jack, Ben’s nephew, was also being sexually harassed by a hot, big-breasted woman dressed as someone who lived 200 yrs. ago. The woman is also VERY determined to... erm, well, pleasure Jack. Even though his body is swayed by the woman’s touch (which is not at all ghostly), Jack is not amused! His uncle has been forcing him to help in that research to find out about that Regency Duke but Jack is not interested in a possible ancestry. However, he was helping... and now all these are happening to him. When Ben starts ignoring his calls, Jack becomes suspicious. And when he finally manages to discuss all these with Ben, Jack finds that Ben seems unconcerned. Then he sets up a coffee date with Jack in a diner he regularly visits. This is the same diner where Ben meets up with Amelia as well.
I could totally see what was coming, and yes, it was great to see both Amelia and Jack meeting up for the first time. Maybe, not really for the first time as they both discover that they resemble the Duke and the Duchess to an alarming degree. This revelation opens up some new possibilities... I was hoping for a more elaborate storytelling but nothing of the sort happened. Amelia and Jack fall for each-other while doing the research together, way too soon for me to believe in it. And the story ends on the assumption I was talking about earlier, without any viable answer to what exactly happened to the Duke and the Duchess. The story just... ends.
There was no explanation of how did Ben got involved in this venture in the first place and why he thought that Jack and Amelia might be, just might be the reincarnations of the Duke and the Duchess, let alone if they really are the descendants of the Duke of Durbane. Bummer!