Cover & Excerpt
Five Senses Book 2.75
Five Senses Shorts Book 2
Hearts entwined, their love will conquer history.
Jem Kerrigan appears to have it all. Her husband, Jack, loves her to distraction. She owns a thriving café in Granite Pointe, and she’s considering expanding her business. The only thing not falling nicely into place, the thing she wants most, is a baby bump.
Hoping to distract Jem from their inability to conceive, Jack buys Sea View House and encourages her to pursue her dream of opening a banquet space. Jem is skeptical when she sees the dilapidated wreck atop a bluff. Deserted for a decade, rumors are rampant about ghosts and ill-fated love stories. While there is something haunting about the hundred-year-old mansion, the woven hearts theme enchants Jem.
After discovering the tragic story of the original owners, Jem begins to understand the importance of the carvings of entwined hearts scattered throughout the house. The motif quickly becomes a symbol of Jem’s love for Jack. The promise of their future together is spirited, even if Jem’s arms remain empty.
Genre: Paranormal RomancePurchase link(s): Amazon & more coming soon
Content/Theme(s): Ghosts, Haunting, Foodie, Small Town life, Contemporary
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Excerpt & More
The sigh she’d tried to hold back came out as a small sob, and she instantly hated herself for it. “I lose a little bit of my ability to believe it will ever happen with each month that passes.”
He grasped her shoulders and eased back to look at her, his gaze warm and encouraging. “It will happen, sugar. We’ll have a baby, and she’ll be gorgeous with curly, honey-colored hair and big brown eyes, just like her momma. Hold on to that belief, Jem.”
Summoning up a smile she barely felt, she said, “As long as she, or he, has her daddy’s dimples, I’ll be happy.”
“Chances are good she will.” He lifted her chin with his fingers and slanted his mouth against hers, his lips tender and sweet. “It will happen for us.”
“I’m trying to be patient. But how long can we face this roller coaster?” Aiming for a light tone, she failed when the words came out with an unmistakable bitter edge. She pushed out of his arms and trained her gaze on the front doors. “Let’s talk about your plans for Sea View House.”
Jack’s lips turned down, matching his brow, but he seemed to change his mind about whatever he might have been about to say. He jammed one hand into the pocket of his jeans and reached for her hand. He laced his fingers with hers and tugged her toward the stairs. “Watch your step. Some of the boards will have to be replaced.”
A loud cracking sound beneath the sole of her tennis shoe sent a shiver up her spine. Fortunately, the board held under her weight, and she quick-stepped up to the next one. The entire porch had semi-rotted boards, many with flaking paint, others with exposed bare wood.
They paused beside the double doors. “Only some of the boards?” she teased.
“Maybe a few more. Come on, Jem. We’re on a fact-finding mission here.” Jack turned his grin on her as he drew an old-school skeleton key from his pocket. He held it up for her inspection. He tipped the ornately fashioned end toward the doors. The scrolling bits of metal formed into entwined hearts. “I only ask that you keep an open mind. I think you’ll love what’s behind door number one.”
Jem shrugged, but held her tongue as Jack inserted the key into the slot on the tarnished brass plate on the door. Etched hearts decorated the bottom of the plate, and Jem was instantly charmed. Jack wiggled it around, twisting it one way, then the other, until the distinctive rattle of tumblers turning filled the quiet air around them.
The smile on his face as he turned the crystal doorknob was anticipatory. It quickly faded when the door didn’t budge. “Hmm, it’s stuck. It must be swollen from the rain a couple of days ago.” He dropped her hand, rested his shoulder against the weathered planks, and shoved. Nothing. After leaning back, he lunged forward again, ramming the door with his full weight. Still no movement. Taking a small step back, he rubbed his shoulder with a grimace.
“Jack, don’t hurt yourself.” She almost laughed when he rolled his eyes at her. As if she was preaching to the choir. “Hey, maybe you locked the door instead of unlocked it. It’s old, so it might be backward. Try the key again.”
“Maybe.” Turning the key a second time, he reached for the handle. “Damn, that’s not it.”
Jack walked to one of the tall narrow windows on either side of the door. Cupping his hands on the glass, he peered through the dusty glass pane.
Jem scooted closer to the door and bent to examine the lock. The dull brass of the key winked in the weak sunlight that filtered through the leaves of the pin oak tree shading the porch. When her fingers curled around the filigreed end, she was surprised the metal had retained heat from Jack’s pocket. She twisted it back to the right with a satisfying click. With a quick glance to her left, she caught Jack’s eye as she grasped the knob and turned. This time, the door creaked inward toward the gloom of the entry hall.
“How the hell did you do that?” Jack demanded, eyes wide.
Jem shrugged as she turned her attention to the inside of the house. “I have no idea. I think we’re going to need a flashlight. It’s pretty dark in there.”
“Stay put. I’ll go grab a couple from the truck.” He continued to rub his shoulder as he made his way back down the steps. Her back to the entry, Jem rocked from one leg to the other. Jack’s upper body disappeared over the bed of his truck. The lid of his toolbox lifted, and then seconds later, he slammed the top closed and hustled back to her side.
The mag light was heavy in her hand as she rotated the end to ignite the powerful beam.
Jack already had his light on and had passed through the opened door. He swung the bright light from side-to-side, revealing a murky cloud of dust.
The hair on the back of Jem’s neck stood at attention, and her heart thudded a bit heavier in her chest as she stepped over the threshold. Reaching out, she grasped a belt loop on Jack’s jeans, hoping to ground herself. The place gave her a weird vibe, not scary or unwelcoming...more like a surreal homecoming. She snuggled close to his back, and the warmth of his body settled her.
Jack directed his light to the left, the blue-white ray sweeping over a door. Taking her hand from his waistband, he gave her an encouraging smile as he wove their fingers together. He pulled her across the space to a closed door on the left. Their footsteps bounced off the high, stamped-tin ceilings, reverberating back to them in a ghostly echo.
The door opened with a squeal when he pushed it, but more light flooded into the dim hall. With the extra illumination, Jem noted the rounded walls of the entry. A staircase swept up one side of the semi-circular area. Dingy paper covered the walls. Every few feet there were darker spaces where pictures must have hung. Even though the balustrade of the staircase was dusty, the ornate details carved into the wooden slats were visible.
“Jack, look. More hearts.” Wonder and delight filled her voice as she broke the heavy silence in the entry.
He squeezed her fingers and shot her a funny grin. “You noticed that, too? I wonder if it continues throughout the house.”
“Only one way to find out.” Jem gestured toward the door Jack had opened on the left side.
They moved as one into the parlor. The room was stripped bare of all furnishings. Scarred hardwood formed a herringbone pattern on the floor. Tattered, yellowed lace curtains hung over the narrow floor-to-ceiling windows. Large cabbage rose wallpaper peeled off the walls in wide swaths. Soot stained the bricks and mantle of an oversize fireplace that held a prime spot in the middle of one wall. French doors, lacking glass in many of the sections, stood closed on either side of the hearth. Through the broken portals, Jem noted an airy screened area.
Jack dropped her hand and prowled farther into the parlor, walking toward the opposite end of the long, narrow space.
As she studied the room, Jem could see past the decay and neglect to the grandeur the room must have once possessed. Her vision tunneled on a spot in the center of the room, everything else fading. In her mind’s eye, she envisioned a damask-covered settee with spindly legs in front of a cheery fire. Comfortable wing chairs flanked either side. Delicate side tables rested between the seating. A wispy vision of a woman on the settee wafted into Jem’s imagination. Blond hair styled into a loose bun with a few stray curls surrounding her heart-shaped face. Her brown eyes held sadness. She wore clothing more suited to the twenties than present day. She had folded her hands primly in her lap, resting atop a piece of parchment with hearts drawn on the top. Jem’s pulse sped up as the woman raised her head and smiled, looking directly at where Jem stood. Seeing the woman was like looking in a mirror. Put Jem in a period costume, and it could be her sitting there.
“Jem!” Jack’s voice broke through Jem’s reverie.
She blinked hard, and the apparition disappeared. “What? Sorry, I...” Jem didn’t know how to finish her sentence. She’d been so lost in the vision, she hadn’t heard Jack’s question. Giving her head a slight shake, she tuned back into the here and now.
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