USA Today Bestselling Author
Recently divorced author MacKenzie Dillon has lost her writing mojo. When she inherits her great aunt’s haunted house in Virginia, she is determined to make a new start. The creepy old house provides inspiration but at what cost?
Successful architect and paranormal skeptic Justin Kent returns to Penny Hollow to fulfill his father’s dying wish of revitalizing their small town. To do that, he needs the allegedly haunted estate at Summerfield. Mac, the new owner, may be gorgeous and spunky, but she refuses to sell.
These two have a dangerous history that spans the ages, but will they discover the truth in time to save their lives?
One of my favorite things to do while waiting for book to release is to hit an author’s backlist for things I haven’t yet read. I found a few books on Heather Long’s list I haven’t yet read so here’s one of them.
Justin Kent is a successful architect and he wants nothing more than to go back to his life. He has to fulfill his father’s wishes according to the will before he can do that or he and his siblings will forfeit their inheritance to the town. Penny Hollow, Virginia needs to be revitalized and they came up with the idea of most haunted town. The Summerfield mansion would be a main focal point as it is well known to be both haunted and cursed. Justin had befriended Katherine Summerfield and from that he had her assurance that the deed would be sold to him upon her death. Something that didn’t happen.
Author MacKensie Dillon has just been through a nasty divorce, one that left her almost penniless. Inheriting this mansion is a godsend to her. A place to live and write in undisturbed quiet. There are strange things happening in the house some can be explained others can’t. Justin hasn’t really given up on buying the place but is recognizing defeat as MacKensie doesn’t want to sell. Instead he decides to extend friendship and help with some of the work that needs to be done. To top it off her ex won’t leave her alone, he wants to reconcile something that isn’t happening.
MacKensie knows about the Summerfield ghost and the ‘curse’ and accepts some of the strangeness to that. It was nice with Justin coming to lend a hand and she was writing like a fiend. Then the nightmares start.
This is a favorite scene.
Mac waited on the porch until Justin showed up, a burly, spotlight-sized flashlight in his hand. Fortunately, she’d found a pair of shorts on the washer, or she’d have been standing out there in her tank top and panties.
“Hey,” he said, sweeping his gaze over her.
Laughter gleamed in his eyes, but she couldn’t fault him for making fun of her. She hopped from foot to foot. “Thanks for coming.”
“Sure thing.” He turned the beam from the flashlight toward the darkened house. Lightning flashed in the distance, illuminating his amused face. “Ghost chase you out?”
“The power went out and the door is stuck.” She crossed her arms, mallet in one hand and phone in the other. She wasn’t letting go of either. Her heart continued to race, and she tried hard to keep the sob catching in the back of her throat from making an appearance.
Justin paused and turned the flashlight back on her. “Hey,” he said, taking a step toward her. His humor sobered to concern. “It’s an old house. We’ve got a storm coming. Chances are it’s just a blown fuse. I’ll fix it, okay?”
Not trusting herself to speak, she simply nodded.
“Mac.” Justin gave her arm a squeeze. “Really. Happens all the time. You want to come with? Or go wait in my truck?”
At least he’d managed the offer without making fun of her. Stop being a chicken… But she couldn’t resist staring up at the dark house. It seemed so much more ominous in the occasional flash of lightning. “I’ll go with.”
“Okay.” He held out his hand, and she passed him the mallet.
To his credit, he simply nodded and took the lead. She followed him and fought the urge to grab his shirt and hang on. He went to the fuse box first, but a few minutes of fiddling didn’t earn them any results. When he would have left the mallet behind to head out to his truck, she picked it up.
Justin glanced at the mallet but didn’t say a word. He put a hand on her arm, and the contact soothed the nerves doing jumping jacks in her belly. Supplies in hand, he went back to the kitchen, but the lights still wouldn’t come on. “All right, chances are it’s something at the power station’s end. I’ll make a couple of calls. Let’s check the door next.” Halfway down the hall, he motioned for her to stop. “Watch your feet.”
She glanced down at the shards of lightbulb glittering under the powerful beam of his flashlight.
“Stay right there,” he told her. Glass crunched as he made it to her door. It opened the moment he twisted the knob.
Mac wanted to cry. “I swear it wouldn’t open.”
“I believe you,” he said swiftly—almost too swiftly. “It’s late, you’re exhausted, and I think you could use a break from what goes bump in the night—especially with the storm rolling in.” Despite his tone, Justin wasn’t laughing at her. He could have—particularly after their conversation about ghosts. “C’mon, why don’t you come back to my place? You can have a guest room. We’ll come back and fix this in the morning.”
She really should say no, but lightning filled the sky at regular intervals, followed by powerful thuds of thunder. And she so did not want to be by herself. “Fine,” she acquiesced.
Thankfully, the rain held off, letting them drive to his place and make the dash from his truck to the door of his house without either of them getting soaked. Justin ushered her inside, and Mac could barely keep from gaping. This place was beautifully lit, stately, and well-decorated. Expansive. Expensive. So different than Summerfield.
She stood barefoot and bedraggled, staring at the wide entrance hall with its gleaming dark oak floors and heavy, hand-thatched rugs that perfectly coordinated with the dark, wood-paneled walls. Everything gleamed, and a hint of lemon and wood oil clung to the air.
The foyer itself was wide enough to host a huge party. They’d come in through the back door, but the wide hall extended the length of the house to the double doors at the front. Beyond the entry hall, like a bright, cheerful and brilliant counterpoint to the dark wood, his dining room glowed pastel green opposite a sitting room done in the same minty color. But it was the paintings above the crenellations along the ceiling that took her breath away; paintings of cherubs like one might find in a chapel.
“And this is a caretaker’s cottage?” she whispered. No wonder Justin winced whenever he saw the half-stripped and peeling wallpaper in her overcrowded kitchen, which was still littered with unpacked boxes shoved into the corners.
“More or less. Took some time to get everything restored to how it would have been after its original construction.” Justin motioned to the stairs. She’d failed to notice them, considering they blended beautifully with the wooden walls.
“And you get a second floor.” Why did he have a second floor when her home was supposed to be the main house?
Justin patted the railing and chuckled. “Come on. Let’s get you to a room so you can sleep. We’ll check out your place in the morning and see what’s up with the wiring.”
The wiring, the walls, the doors that open and shut themselves—could all that activity be due to her ghost? But she’d thought the ghost was supposed to be friendly, a charming addition to her home. Something to help push her writing along. Why the sudden change?
How does one have a meeting of the minds with a ghost?
Long, Heather. Haunt Me (Entangled Covet). Entangled Publishing, LLC. Kindle Locations (1082-1131)Kindle Edition.
All of this is just the beginning as MacKensie continues writing books that are historical rather than contemporary but the characters just seem to have minds of their own.
Justin continues on the work around outside finding an ornate gazebo, that he knows he has to renew to it’s former glory.
Plenty of twists and turns as the ‘ghost’ or perhaps the curse plays havoc with Justin and MacKensie. At the same time the attraction between them grows into so much more.
Truly a fun, mysterious and spooky read with just a bit of sizzle.
5 Contented Purrs for Heather!
USA Today bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas in the summertime.
From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories–her characters drive the books.
When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family. She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.