This contemporary erotic romance is a timeless love story.
It's also an Easter egg hunt with clues peppered throughout leading the reader to a story within a story.
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Unable to deny his own translucence, Dr. Jason Bowen determines his lack of physical substance could only mean one thing—he’s a ghost. Murdered more than a century before, Jason haunts his house and ponders the treachery that took his life.
When Lanie O’Keefe arrives with plans to renovate her newly purchased Victorian mansion, Jason discovers, ghost or not, he’s still very much a man.
Despite its derelict condition and haunted reputation, Lanie couldn’t be happier with her new home, but then she has no idea a spirit follows her every move throughout the day and shares her captivating warmth at night. Jason soon discovers he can travel through Lanie’s dreams and finds himself reliving the days before his murder with Lanie by his side.
It took one hundred and twenty years for love to find them, but there’s that insurmountable little matter of Jason being dead.
Lanie sat on the stairs, pulling old carpet tacks from the bunching old runner and talking on the phone to Lexie about their dinner plans. She had no idea Jason sat on the stair above carefully contemplating how he might reveal himself without frightening her. Discovering her tack hammer misplaced for the third time, she gave up on the frustrating task and went to get ready for her blind date.
Her bath had the same effect on him as it had the other times he watched her bathe. She stood wrapping hair and body in thick towels, looking for all the world like she’d just emerged from the Turkish baths. Over her shoulder, in the mirror, he watched her fascinating application of tints and lash color, though, in his opinion, she was just as beautiful with as without. His cock grew soft once she began to dry her hair with a gadget he had never seen before. Margaret certainly didn’t have one of these noisy electrical hot air blowers. His body roused again when she put her undergarments on. Her pantalets were nothing more than a Y-shaped piece of material that accented her adorable rounded backside. Her brassiere was crafted from very feminine black lace, low enough that the rosy hue of her areolas slightly peeked above the edge. A French milliner couldn’t have chosen better. She dabbed perfume behind her ears, on the inside of her wrists and at the spot above her heart. Although the fragrance was faint, he was surprised he could smell the familiar floral scent on her as she passed. That sense had been dead as long as he. Holding this piece of clothing or that before her, she appraised her reflection in the mirror with each. After four considerations, the dress she settled on was black and short—too short. He found himself frowning.
The frown persisted as the mantle clock stuck ten o’clock and deepened when it struck eleven. By eleven-thirty-two, he was in a fine pique.
Hearing Lanie’s automobile roll onto the gravel drive, he invisibly materialized downstairs to meet her at the door with his arms folded across his chest in irritation. Leaning against the wall, looking her over from head to toe as she came in talking on her telephone, he thought her lips were a little chafed, a little too swollen. She’d kissed the man she’d just met that night, no doubt more than once. The thought annoyed him more than the late hour.
“No really, I had a nice time with Jim.” She laughed. “Yes, nosy, I let him kiss me. Lexie, I know, but please no more dates until I finish the clinic. Please? I have too much to do to get sidetracked.” She laughed again. “I don’t know, maybe I will see him again. He kissed fine! Of course you can set us up again when I get things done here. I don’t know how long it’s going to be—I have the clinic to open! Yes, I know you do. No, when I’m done you’ll be the first to know. I promise. Love you, too.” She hung up the phone shaking her head. “Sheesh,” she said in exasperation, but the over-kissed smile lingered.
Irritated a great deal, he followed her upstairs and watched as she washed her face, brushed her teeth, and changed into her worn, comfortable-looking clothing. Still invisible, he didn’t follow behind her when she went back downstairs. Rather he focused his mind and appeared alongside her at the bottom. Heading to the parlor, she turned on Margaret’s television and took a seat on the sofa directly across. When kissing her date goodnight, he suddenly had the arms of an octopus. She picked up the remote and proceeded to flip through channels, feeling wired from fending off her date’s sweet but unwanted attentions. Watching her, Jason shook his head. “Oh no, sweetheart, I haven’t waited the entire night for you to lose yourself to this contrivance.” With that he projected his spirit energy into the wires that fed the machine electricity. The screen instantly filled with snow.
Lanie frowned at the snowy screen and flipped through channel after channel looking for better reception. “Oh, come on!” she told the television. After another run-through, she gave up and turned it off. “Damn it. All I wanted to do was unwind before bed.” She ran an exasperated hand over her face. There was a lot to do the following day and she knew it would take hours for her to fall asleep. A thought came to her. Most over-the-counter sleep aides were antihistamine-based. Having seasonal allergies, that was something she had readily available. That would certainly make her sleepy. No, I don’t like how my head feels in the morning. Instead she headed to the kitchen for a cup of chamomile tea.
Jason watched her go, feeling the slightest remorse for haunting her television. He reasoned he didn’t like that noisy box that for all appearances put Margaret into a daily trance. He followed her into the kitchen where he noticed her lips again. His remorse evaporated. Sharing passionate kisses with a man you just met! Annoyed, Jason swept his hand across the counter and knocked the spoon to the floor with a clatter.
Lanie jumped at the sound. Frowning, she reached under the chair where a spoon had inexplicably fallen then looked around for anything that might have knocked it on the floor, hoping she didn’t have large mice or, God forbid, rats. Setting it in the sink, she said, “I think I have ghosts.”
Jason’s anger instantly faded as her statement took him by surprise. Testing her, he slowly opened the cabinet door, the old hinges squeaking and groaning. She turned to the sound of the swinging door, and he watched her face carefully. No fear, just curiosity. The whistling kettle diverted her attention. Once more he found himself wishing he were able to sit over a cup of tea and talk with her. He wanted to know where she’d been tonight and why she’d kissed a man she hardly knew. He wanted to know why she haunted his thoughts as surely as he haunted these halls. But moving a spoon and a cupboard door was a far cry from materializing in full form before her.
Taking a seat in the chair across from her as she scribbled small pictures onto her notepad, flowers mostly, daisies and lily-of-the-valley, he read the messages she wrote to herself regarding what needed to be done the following morning. This list was the shortest yet. Occasionally she’d look at the cabinet door to see if it would actually move again. He was tempted, but a part of him was too afraid she’d leave, never to return. Then the moment he had waited the entire day for happened. She yawned.
“You’re tired, you should rest,” he whispered. He could see the suggestion taking root in her mind. Putting her nearly full cup in the sink, she headed to bed.
Watching her sleep, Jason sat beside her a long while thinking on how lovely she looked tonight. He would have loved to have been the man to take her out on the town, to the theater perhaps. Out for dinner, certainly. If his own kisses had swelled those luscious lips, he would have ventured from her sweet mouth to the tops of those exquisite breasts so tantalizingly displayed in the décolleté of her neckline. His entire being desired to lose himself in the living heat of her. There was simply no stopping himself from caressing her, having lost that particular battle of conscience the first night she lay in his bed. He’d convinced himself that as long as he kept his baser needs to himself, touching her while she was completely unaware was a harmless compulsion.
Materializing just under the linens, his glowing form lit the sheet like a Japanese lantern. He whispered to her unconscious mind as she lay curled on her side, “Lay back for me, sweetheart, let me look at you fully while I feel how warm you are.”
Unconsciously responding to his suggestion, she rolled on her back, one arm tossed casually over her pillow.
Once more marveling that he was able to touch her at all, he swept her raven hair back from her lovely face, his thumb lightly tracing the delicate arch of her eyebrow. Touching her skin was like touching a rose petal in his garden, a warm sun-kissed rose petal. Gliding his hands over her warmth, he caressed her trim belly and arms all the while carefully avoiding the dove-soft breasts as any gentleman might unless given leave. Though it was true she hadn’t granted leave for any touching, the fragment of his gentlemanly comportment quickly faded as her living heat seeped into him.