Uncovering a ghostly secret, one skeleton at a time.
After years of investigating paranormal activity, lead ghost hunter, Jack Trader has little to show until, at an abandoned farm house in the boot-heels of Missouri, he and his partner record the presence of an angry specter. When the time approaches to show their proof, somehow it’s been erased, forcing them back to the house to try and re-film the footage.
Renovations at Lila Monclair’s successful bed & breakfast bring more than dust, noise and boot prints to the halls of the Inn. A ghostly figure, in the form of a mysterious, dark-haired woman in 40’s style dress keeps frightening off guests. As word spreads of the possible haunting, a number of reservations are canceled. Now Lila’s worried she could lose everything.
Jack and Lila are seduced by these star-crossed ghosts, each in search of the other. Together, they play out the nightmare that tore the two soul’s apart more than 70 years ago, while the budding romance between them is threatened by an indiscretion of Jack’s that has Lila questioning if he’s even worthy of her love.
Jack staggered back as if she’d slapped him. “What are you talking about?”
“I went back up to the attic to try on that dress you showed me earlier. You came up. Music from somewhere started to play and we danced and…” She turned away.
And what? He grabbed her chin to make her face him. “And what, Lila?”
“You don’t remember any of this?”
He didn’t know what to think. If what Lila said was true, a spirit had taken over his body and mind, and something happened between them. “How far did this go?” In all the years he’d investigated paranormal activity, this had never happened to him.
Her cheeks turned pink, and Jack assumed the answer: too far.
“You said you went up to the attic again to try on that gown. Did you have it on?”
“I’m assuming that whoever possessed me thought you were the recipient of that dress. Benjamin saw you as Frannie.”
“That’s what you called me.”
“I’m so sorry, Lila. I don’t remember any of this. I’d been reading your great-grandmother’s journals. I learned that Benjamin forced Frances into sleeping with him. Eunice found out about it while she was pregnant with, I assume. Benjamin, Jr.”
Her jaw dropped. “My great-grandfather did that?”
“According to Eunice’s diaries.”
“I feel so awful for Frances and Thomas. Do you really think he killed them?”
“Somebody did. Who had more of a motive then Benjamin?”
“Why is his ghost back?”
“That’s a great question. It could be that Frances is here again—that he loved her so much he returned to be with her.”
“How do we find out what happened all those years ago, Jack? I feel as if Frannie came to me to fix something—to make things right. How do we do that?”
“We just keep digging until we find the answer. It might be as easy as just reuniting Frances and Thomas.”
Her eyes widened. “How?”
“I’m not sure yet. Let’s both sleep on it. At this point I think that would do us both a world of good.”
“Aren’t you worried that my great-grandfather could somehow possess you again?”
He snorted an impatient breath. “I wasn’t until you brought it up. I’ll do some research before I go to bed. There has to be a way to prevent that from happening.”
“Okay.” She started to walk away, but Jack reached out and grabbed her hand.
“I’m sorry about what happened.”
“It wasn’t your fault. The idea that my own ancestor tried to….” She shivered.
“Did you enjoy any of it?” Jack knew he shouldn’t ask such a question, but he couldn’t help himself.
Her cheeks reddened again. “What do you mean?”
“How about I kiss you, and you tell me if it feels any different? For scientific purposes only.”
He was playing with fire, but right now, he wanted nothing more than to kiss Lila Monclair. “What do you say?” He gave her one of his signature smiles, hoping to convince her to play along.
Her voice cracked, and he almost chuckled. He didn’t think she’d appreciate that, though. She might even change her mind about the kiss altogether.
“Okay, then. Try to take note of any difference. Do you think you can do that?”
“I’ll do my best.”
“Try to relax.” Jack placed his hands on her shoulders and drew her close. “You’re a little tense, Lila. You need to loosen up.”
Jack leaned forward and brushed his lips across hers in a chaste kiss, surprised by how soft her lips were. He pulled back. “So, what do you think?
“He didn’t kiss like that.”
She shook her head. “Unh-unh.”
“Let me try it again.” He covered her lips with his, this time with more pressure in the execution. He retreated. “Well?”
“Nope, what?” Jack frowned.
“You don’t kiss the same.”
“Are you sure?”
He studied her look of indifference. “Can I ask why you’re so sure?”
“You don’t want to know.”
Jack slammed his hands on his hips. “I certainly do.”
“I didn’t feel anything.”
He narrowed his eyes. “Which time?”
She cleared her throat. “This time.”
No woman had ever said that about his kiss. Not once. Talk about a kick in the proverbial balls. Now, for pride’s sake he would have to try again—this time with a little more intensity.
“I’d like to give it one more shot to be hundred percent certain.”
Did she roll her eyes? Now she was just being cruel.
He pulled her close and crushed his mouth to hers, causing an inferno to ignite deep in his gut. He thrust his tongue between her lips as his hands roamed to the small of her back, drawing her flush to him. When she moaned against his mouth, Jack pulled away. “Was that close?”
She blinked and stepped back.
“Lila?” he prompted, smiling inwardly.
She swallowed. “Yes. That was close to the kiss in the attic.”
“All right, then. Good night.” Jack turned and walked up the stairs, smiling from ear-to-ear. He’d proven his point. Now he could go to bed, feeling like his balls were intact.