Hot Encounters Book 1
Would you believe?
Jillian Drew is a criminal profiler, grounded and analytical. But deep inside, she fears the intuitive abilities she’s possessed all her life. She’s done everything possible to turn her back on her psychic insight. But now her eccentric sister has been abducted, and nothing in her criminology background has prepared Jillian for that tragedy—or for Benton Walker, the ghost of a sexy soldier, and the only witness to Amy’s abduction.
Fearful of the brazen specter, Jillian nevertheless needs his help and she’ll do anything to get it. But nothing is as it seems, and Benton’s soul hangs in the balance. Uncovering centuries old secrets could either save him—or have dangerous consequences for them both.
*This book is a revised version based on Gatekeeper, previously published by Ellora's Cave, Inc.
The Hot Encounters Series
Read an Excerpt from haunt Me
The rest of the house was absurdly normal in comparison to Amy’s disappearance. There was absolutely no evidence of foul play here. Disheartened, Jillian gathered up Boo, a bag of dog food and one of Boo’s favorite toys before she started to leave.
But as she walked through the living room she noticed Amy’s Ouija board leaning temptingly against the side of the crimson sofa.
With frayed edges and a faded, cream-colored façade, the Ouija board didn’t look that scary. The triangular-shaped planchette sat on the gold Oriental rug next to it.
Did she dare?
This was ridiculous. She was a professional psychologist who didn’t need to resort to paranormal silliness to solve this case. But even as she debated she lowered Boo and her bundle to the wood floor, the bronze button burrowing into her thigh as she kneeled.
The thought of conjuring up that Civil War ghost terrified her. Her pulse rioted. She wiped the perspiration from her palms onto her pant legs. He may have witnessed the crime. He might be able to tell her what happened to Amy. She couldn’t not try this.
And then a dark thought darted through her head.
What if he was responsible for Amy’s disappearance? Worse, what if she contacted Amy through that board?
A hideous image of her sister—bruised and beaten, discarded in some cold, godforsaken place—rose to the forefront of Jillian’s mind. No, that was silly. A ghost couldn’t make someone disappear. Amy needed her and she owed it to her sister to do anything to find her.
Before she could talk herself out of it, she snatched the Ouija board and planchette and sat down at the card table. Like she’d seen her sister do countless times when they were kids, she placed her fingers on the planchette and mentally surrounded herself with white light. Chills skittered up her spine and down her arms.
“You’re not gonna need that, darlin’.”
Jillian froze. She couldn’t move. She couldn’t breathe. The ghost she’d seen in her vision materialized before her.
Dressed in a worn and double-breasted cadet gray, thigh-length frock coat, he was nearly opaque and looked as real as a flesh-and-blood man with the exception of appearing somewhat faded.
The only thing separating them was the flimsy old card table and she doubted that would stop him if it occurred to him to come any closer. Her pulse pounded relentlessly.
“What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?” He closed the distance separating them, his boots resounding on the wood floor. Spurs jingled with each step.
Jillian’s back flattened against the chair. Her breath left her lungs in an audible rush. She’d glimpsed ghosts many times before but never had one been this present, this alive. She couldn’t take her eyes off him. But it wasn’t because of his devastatingly rakish appearance—the roughly chiseled cheekbones, straight nose and curve of his sensual lips—it was because he looked so real, and because she felt a very odd sense of recognition. Still, the static charge of energy crawling all over her erased all doubt that he was a ghost.
Alarm throbbed in the pit of her stomach. She couldn’t seem to draw a deep enough breath. He was so close she could make out the stormy gray of his eyes, the dark stubble that shadowed his jaw.
Only the thought of Amy drove her out of her utter state of immobility. “Who are you?” Her voice trembled.
The hint of a smile curled at the corner of his mouth, but it wasn’t a friendly smile. It was mocking. “You’re even prettier than the other one.” His Southern drawl was thick and languid. He squinted. “Green eyes.” One dark eyebrow arched wickedly. “Is it true that women with green eyes are more easily…enticed…than others?”
His lurid comment provoked an impulse Jillian struggled to identify. He aroused a dark, unprecedented hunger within her that left her confused. She knew this man. On some intuitive level, she knew him.
But that was impossible.
This entire situation was impossible. She opened her mouth to speak but unable to find the words, she closed it.
Suddenly, it was clear.
He was merely a lost soul, an earthbound spirit looking for the Light. He’d no doubt come to Amy to be sent on. So that’s what she was doing on top of Shy’s Hill.
Scenarios raced through Jillian’s head. Amy may have been at the wrong place at the wrong time. She may have inadvertently witnessed a drug deal.
“Can you do it, too?” The ghost’s comment brought her abruptly back to the moment, reminding her that she was sharing an uncomfortably small space with a dead man.
“Do what?” Her voice rushed out in a hoarse whisper.
His regard slid down to the open collar of her blouse. Her nipples instinctively tightened underneath the thin fabric of her bra. And as if he knew it, he took his time returning his gaze to hers. “Well, I have to say, I was quite ready to go on to my great reward until I saw you.” His tone was sarcastic. His stare was not.
Her mouth went dry as cotton. “I’m not like my sister.”
“No, you most certainly are not.” His tone was mocking. The tip of his tongue dampened his lips.
Jillian could only gape at him. No man, dead or alive, had ever spoken to her this way. And the way he looked at her—it was scalding, lewd—as if he somehow knew her intimately.