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by Jennah Sharpe
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
Description: Columnist, Adele Amhurst has hit upon a great story. Her house is haunted by a sensual ghost, Adam, who preys on the dreams of women to feel alive. When he enters her dreams, he becomes more possessive than she'd like. In order to expel him from her home and her head, she enlists the help of two friends, her employer and friend, Gina, and her appetizing neighbor, Nicholas. Despite his arrogance or perhaps because of it, Nicholas is the only one who can change the mind of a ghost, but can she handle what that intimacy may mean?
eBook Publisher: Cobblestone Press, 2007
eBookwise Release Date: March 2008
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [94 KB]
Reading time: 60-84 min.
"By Midnight is a steamy, erotic roller coaster ride--a great read for a lazy afternoon."--ARomanceReview.com
Adele Amhurst grabbed her suitcase handle and pulled it from the passenger seat of the taxi. She dropped it on the sidewalk and slammed the door shut. Feeling completely overwhelmed, she stood on the sidewalk, looking up at the dilapidated house. She took off her wire-rimmed sunglasses, looking down to check the crumpled slip of paper bearing the address of the place rented in her name by her friend, and editor of the Daily Messenger, Gina. Yes, this is it. Oh God! She looked behind her to watch the taxi turn a corner and roar out of sight. Man, I should have told him to wait.
Adele sighed loudly just in case anyone watching mistakenly thought she was pleased. She was embarrassed to admit this was her idea. When Gina had mentioned the house's proximity to the office, Adele snapped it up, sight unseen. Gina set everything up in advance. Adele would rent the house through the office as did every other journalist or photographer who'd lived there before her. At twenty-eight, Adele was without children and funds. Buying a new home every time she pulled up stakes wasn't a feasible option.
Gina had neglected to mention the house that stood on the stately property had a lopsided veranda, many missing shingles and was sided with crumbling bricks. Only the colored leaves on the hill behind gave any sense of majesty to the old Victorian home. New Hampshire was a beautiful state, but she hadn't quite expected this.
Desperately hoping the roof didn't leak, she heaved her backpack higher up on her shoulder and slowly walked up the cobbled laneway. With the evening sun in her eyes, she didn't notice the man standing near her front door until she was only feet from him. Adele was startled when she reached the dim shadow of the house and saw him looking down at her from the wooden veranda steps. She was not in the mood for company. She halted and let out her breath slowly before finding her voice.
"Yes?" Her tone was flat.
"Are you renting here?" he asked with a crooked grin.
"More or less."
"Ah ... welcome to Oak Corners. When I saw you pull out the suitcase, I figured you were the new tenant." She watched him eye her up and down. "Just thought someone should say hello."
"Thanks. I'm renting for a couple of months before I decide to buy. Apparently, the newspaper office keeps it for sale in case they have the opportunity to make a profit. I've heard it's been for sale for quite some time."
He nodded his agreement, the fine features of his face crinkling into a smile that, despite her resolve, stole Adele's breath. Slightly crooked, his smile exuded a sense of adventure. Her confidence waned somewhat when she realized he was appraising her.
He was handsome in that dreamy, businessman sort of way. His crisp navy suit was filled out very nicely from his strong thighs to his broad chest. Holding out a hand for her to shake, the man descended the stairs when he realized she was taking him in. She took his hand, admiring the long, lean fingers and glimpse of a wrist lightly dusted with dark hair. His hair was the color of weathered oak, matching his creamy brown, soulful eyes.
"Hello, I'm Nicholas Patterson, your neighbor. I hope you don't think I'm being rude just walking over here." He was able to lock her gaze to his. His eyes were kind but something in his tone made the word mysterious come to mind. She couldn't read his private thoughts, but they were there, hiding.
With her hand still in his gentle grip, she stilled as she felt his thumb rub slowly over her palm, sending shivery sensations up her spine. A new town, a new home, a new job. Wasn't that enough? She really didn't feel the need for a relationship. Feeling her knee joints begin to wobble in his presence, she reminded herself of this.
She blinked back to reality. "Nice to meet you. I'm Adele. I'm writing for the newspaper and they found me this beauty of a place to live. I just can't wait to see the inside," she said in a tone laden with sarcasm as she gestured grandly to the house in front of her.
He laughed. "I'm sure you'll be fine. So, what do you write?" The crisp fall breeze lifted his hair from his forehead.
"I'm going to be doing regular reporting on community events but I'll also have a weekly column on dream interpretation. It's a passion of mine." She began to climb the steps toward the door.
"Really! That's something I've never really understood. Anyway, here's my number. I wouldn't mind going out sometime with you. I assume there isn't a Mr. Adele. Or maybe you could just call if you're lonely." If she hadn't been able to read them earlier, his knowing grin told her all she needed to know about his thoughts.
He flicked a business card from an inside pocket and held it out to her. As she took it from him, she noticed a scar across his knuckles and a large opal ring on his finger. The initial melting in her stomach at his formidable form flittered away when the thought occurred to her that he might be a real estate agent.
"Thank you. I'm going to go in now." She knew her tone was full of condescension but it slipped out so easily. It had been a very long drive. "I'm sure I have tons to do inside before dark."
He intentionally moved aside only a few inches so that she was forced to brush against him as she passed. Hmm, that just cinched it, she thought. She wanted nothing to do with this man. She waved goodbye with a stoic smile on her face, slipped the key in the lock and shoved the heavy door open with her shoulder. Adele pushed the door closed behind her, taking care to flick the lock. She watched Nicholas stride back across the lawn. She couldn't put her finger on why he gave her such an unsettled feeling. He seemed nice.