She needed a place to hide, he needed a ghost exterminator. What could possibly go wrong?
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I'm scared. Can I sleep in your bed?
When Professor Peyton Cache bought a big, gloomy, romantic Victorian house, he should have expected a ghost.
Kaci Melton needs to hide out for a while, and where better to disappear than a haunted house on one of her dad's ghost-hunting jobs?
Two problems: the professor is a tasty young guy with piecing blue eyes, six-pack abs, and a penchant for talking dirty. And the ghost scares the panties off her. Actually, given the professor, maybe that's not a problem...
The old Victorian house was haunted.
And how did Kaci Melton know it was haunted? Because nothing had gone right all week—make that all month. It only stood to reason there would be a ghost lurking inside.
Besides, the place just had that creepy, haunted look about it. Dark, gloomy, and forbidding. The three main ingredients for a house with a ghost.
The porch was wide and wrapped around the house and had all the dodads you’d expect in a Queen Anne Victorian. The large, projecting bay windows, towers, and turrets. Not to mention the decorative finials, spindles, and brackets.
At least the color was subdued shades of brown. In the face of all the elaborate swirls and the fancy trim, the beige and coffee colors toned things down somewhat. But then you had the dark, gloomy, and forbidding look to deal with.
All she had to do was step on the gas pedal of her little blue compact and get the hell away from here as fast as she could drive. All the spooky movies she’d ever watched told her to do just that.
But she couldn’t run away because she didn’t have a choice. Come to think about it, the people in the movies never had a choice, either.
She was doomed.
No choice whatsoever. She had to help her father out of this mess. She swallowed past the lump in her throat, put the car in park, and turned off the engine. Her hands trembled as she gripped the steering wheel. She wished she knew a calming mantra that would give her the courage to face her fears.
Unfortunately, she didn’t.
“Okay, let’s get this over with,” she mumbled as she opened her car door and got out, eyeing the place with more than a touch of apprehension as she went to the trunk to get some of her things.
Why do I always have to be the one to clean up my father’s messes?
Easy answer. She was an only child and her father had no one else. She sighed, knowing he meant well—most of the time.
She dragged a suitcase out of the trunk, then a satchel, shifting the strap on her shoulder so the weight was a little more balanced.
Knowing she’d be spending the next week or so here with some old dude made her queasy. Not because of the stuffy history professor. She could handle an old codger. A ghost was an entirely different matter.
Every step she took, she repeated the only mantra she did know: “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts, I ain’t afraid of no ghosts...”
It didn’t seem to be working. It hadn’t in Ghost Busters, either. She was terrified of ghosts, and she had a feeling they knew it.
A black cat jumped from the bushes and ran across her path. She jerked to a stop. Her heart pounded inside her chest. What the hell was this? Pick on Kaci day?
Stop being such a wimp!
She really hated her voice of reason. Why couldn’t it tell her just once to turn around and run for her life? But no, the voice always wanted her to be courageous. Pffft, like that would ever happen.
She dragged her suitcase up the steps, cringing at each thump. Thumping noises were not good, either.
After setting her suitcase on the porch, she slipped the strap from her shoulder and set the satchel down as well. Her stomach rumbled. Even her gut was trying to tell her this wasn’t a good idea.
She was here now; she might as well see this through. She tugged her baseball cap a little lower on her forehead and rang the bell.
“Act one. Here goes nothin’,” she muttered. “You are tough, and you don’t take crap off anyone,” she said under her breath. Become the part. She rolled her shoulders, then tilted her head to the right, then the left.
She was ready. Good thing, too, as footsteps approached. She fervently hoped they were of the human variety—the alive human variety. As in the stodgy-professor-who-lived-here variety.
The door opened, and she looked at the man standing in front of her. Stared, actually. She snapped her mouth closed when she realized it was hanging open and that she probably looked like an imbecile. But this was no stodgy professor—not by a long shot.