The Gaunt by Genta SebastianThe Gaunt by Genta Sebastian is a sweet erotic romance about love which transcends centuries.

Chronically single and bored with her life, graduate student Nell strolls up to a famed local haunted house on the Halloween night, curious to find out if there is anything to the urban legend. Instead of The Gaunt—a tormented malevolent spirit of a woman who lived there long ago—she meets V.

The haunted house’s current owner is a writer, author of successful sapphic romances. She had expected little from the house when she bought it, maybe a little inspiration for her next novel. Instead, she met a sly old lady by the name of Morti, who introduced her to the house’s history, its legends, and its two spectral inhabitants: Emmaline and Beatrice.

Enamored with the tragic romantic story of the two ghosts, V enthusiastically agrees to help Morti bring the dead lovers together for one day. The plan is for the two of them to have a moment of bliss on this earth, so that they may finally leave it for the world beyond. All that remains to do is to talk Nell into helping them, and V, a good-looking stud, is confident she can accomplish this.

Writing and Story

The Gaunt is primarily an erotic romance, with generous space given to the explicit sex scenes. As such, it uses the backstories of its characters as the scaffold to build the said space. These stories are mostly narrated by characters themselves, though Morti and V tell parts of Emmaline and Beatrice’s stories. The past lives of these women are a compelling read, and I only wish the author had explored them in more detail.

There are few surprises to be found in this novel, but it nevertheless managed to remain interesting throughout. Sexual tension between the two leads, and their secondary ghostly counterparts, carries the story in spite of its uneven pacing. The atmosphere of the warm, stuffy sitting-room and the heat of alcoholic beverages is crafted vividly, and remains strong and consistent.

I did say there are few surprises, which occur towards the third act of the novel. Even if the reader manages to predict them, they make for a nice, rounded, satisfying story. Character arcs of all five major characters are neatly tied together and concluded, leaving you in the warm, pleasant afterglow. It’s like finishing a good cocktail.


The spice. It must flow, it’s clear from the opening chapter, and oh, does it flow once we get there. There are several extensive sex-scenes, featuring all manner of positions, techniques, toys, and body-parts pleasured. If you are looking for a fun read in between your smut, this might be a book for you. Two pairs, both butch/femme, have good chemistry, make decent banter, and are very enthusiastic about doing as much of it as they can within 24 hours. The novel delays the reader’s gratification by withholding the smut until the halfway point of the story. By that time it has built up more than enough tension, very efficiently.

The characters are all decently developed, and I particularly liked Nell, the protagonist, and Morti the resident witch. Both characters have arcs which made several interesting turns. Both are more than they might seem at first glance.


One of the shortcomings of The Gaunt is the writing style, which leaves much to be desired at times. There is certainly an audience which will not mind it, by which I am primarily talking about habitual readers of fan fiction. Profusion of adjectives and repetition of set phrases instead of referring to characters by name or only pronoun, sometimes breaks the flow of text. It’s a shame, as the text is otherwise very fun read. This sort of style might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I enjoyed the book all the same.

The Conclusion

The Gaunt is a sexy, fun, flawed, but ultimately enjoyable read. Its historical backstories, supernatural beings, magic, and smut bring something to the table for all sorts of sapphic readers. Its characters are compelling, complex beings, for all the fantastical elements which the story weaves in. It keeps up the tension throughout the story, of more than one kind. And it definitely delivers on the spice front. Even if not all the flavors of the cocktail agree with you, it’s well worth your time.

Excerpt from The Gaunt by Genta Sebastian

Wait a minute. “While you were alive, you fell in love with a dead person?” Nell shook her head. “How does that even happen?”

They all turned to look at Morti, who threw up her hands in defense.

“All I wanted was for Bea to solve Em’s murder and bury her corpse on Halloween night, which she did. I thought Em would be released and happily cross over to wherever humans go when you’re not among the living.” She shrugged. “It would have righted as much of the wrong as possible and maybe I could have moved on, too; there was still the minor matter of a missing piece of my soul. But that’s not what happened.” She shook her head at Nell, rolling her eyes.

“So…” Nell prodded Bea but leaned back in the sofa pulling V with her, sensing her oversized hovering might be intimidating. “How’d you fall in love?”

Emmaline stared at Bea from her glass. “I first saw you when you found my body, your sweet shock and caring concern called me. Some part of me I’d locked deep inside opened in your presence. The madness disappeared as if it never happened. All I knew was you, Bea.” She smiled,remembering. “The angry, trapped, tormented Gaunt disappeared, just like that.” She snapped spectral fingers.

Nell glanced shyly at V and found those deep blue eyes already on her, a small smile playing on her handsome face.

“I hungered for you whenever you were away from me, longing to be alive, to hold you in my arm, to kiss you.” Emmaline sighed. “But even after you’d buried my body…” Now she did break her gaze to stare at Morti. “For which I truly thank you, Red Sky. Severing the tie with it brought me closer to sanity

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Bits and Bobs

ISBN number: 978-1-942594-12-3

Publisher: Macoii Publishing

Genta Sebastian Online


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