TITLE: I’ll Still Be There
AUTHOR: Keelan Ellis
GENRE: LGBT, Erotic Romance
RATING: 2 1/2 Stars
SUMMARY: The summer after high school, Eli Dunn and Jess Early explore an abandoned brothel in the rural Florida Panhandle. They’ve always kept their mutual attraction unspoken, but in an upstairs room at the end of the hall, everything changes. Suddenly, all the longing Eli and Jess have tried so hard to conceal bursts free, and passion like they’ve never experienced comes to light, along with the ghosts of Clay Bailey and Silas Denton, murdered owners of the brothel. And Clay and Silas have no problem possessing Eli and Jess in order to express their love for each other, without thought for the living.
Deeply disturbed by the experience, Eli and Jess part and try to get on with life as best they can. But after several years, Eli returns to Florida, only to find that Jess has made some questionable choices. These eventually lead him back to the abandoned house and a confrontation with Eli. Old scores are settled and Eli and Jess reunite. But Clay and Silas’s ghosts aren’t finished yet, for they’ve always believed in the power of open and honest love.
REVIEW: Keelan Ellis had a very interesting premise for I’ll Still Be There, and I think if it had gone through a couple more rounds of edits and some fleshing out, the story would have been great. She had a lovely cast of characters and she did a good job of distinguishing the two separate time periods, so that you could visualize each one.
Ms. Ellis did a great job of character development. We got to see how each character grew and adapted to their situations. Each character had a personality, and it showed in their choices and actions.
My biggest issue with the book was that it dragged. I found myself struggling to read on, especially in Eli’s and Jess’s parts. I was interested in Clay and Silas more than anything, and I really wish the author would have made the focus about them.
The story is listed as an erotic romance, but we don’t actually get to the sex until over half the story is complete, and it isn’t very “erotic”. The sex scenes are basic and short, not really doing their job of exciting the reader. I didn’t feel connected to the story and characters, and I found some of the “sex talk” a bit off putting (at least for me).
That was the major flaw in the story; I’ll Still Be There is advertised as an LGBT erotica, but it feels more like a romance or contemporary novel. Even the ghost/haunting aspect seems to be an afterthought. The interaction between the four characters doesn’t happen until a good portion of the way through the story, well after the point of actually hooking the reader. It’s because the story couldn’t hold my attention that I’m giving it a 2 ½ star rating.