Hot Encounters Book 3
Dead men do tell tales.
When Gwendolyn Wyse booked a room at a bed and breakfast in romantic Charleston, South Carolina, she’d hoped to rekindle the flame in her cold, unresponsive husband. What she didn’t expect were divorce papers—or her husband’s untimely death. Shocked and desperate, Gwen relies on her background as a witch and her knowledge of magic, invoking the rite of twilight to bring her husband’s soul back from the dead. But nothing prepares her for the swashbuckling spirit who answers her call—Stede Bonnet, the gentleman pirate who died on that very spot three centuries prior and who now possesses her husband’s body.
Stede offers Gwen all the passion she never had with her husband. But when the pirate lays claim to her heart, Gwen must choose between the man she loves and the demands of Stede’s mortal enemy, a villainous spirit with the power to take away everything Gwen holds most dear—including her pirate lover.
*This book is a revised version based on Watchkeeper, previously published by Ellora's Cave, Inc.
The Hot Encounters Series
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“I’m certain Major Bonnet can help you with that,” Teach said. “He and his manservant buried the booty.” His eyes narrowed with such malice, Gwen trembled. “The loot and the body are yer keys to the welfare of yer grandmother’s soul. Do ye understand?”
Gwen nodded but her mind screamed. How was she going to keep Stede Bonnet from taking off with Roger’s body? And how on earth was she going to coerce him into helping her find treasure that had likely been buried for centuries—to give to some other pirate?
The pirate turned to the man in Roger’s body. “Gentleman Pirate indeed, Bonnet.”
“Go back to hell, Teach.”
The pirate laughed and then with a sudden whoosh of wind, all the spirits vanished.
Gwen lunged, grasping at the spot where her grandmother had been only to fall sprawling in the floor. Pain shot through her knees and wounded hand. A sob racked her shoulders and she slumped against the Persian rug and cried.
She became aware of a big, warm hand stroking her back. Anger flared. Not only had this interloper stolen her husband’s body, he’d made love to her. Now, because she’d brought the bastard back from the dead, her grandmother’s soul hung in the balance.
Gwen could control her ire no longer. With cat-like speed, she pushed herself up and slapped the man who’d inhabited Roger’s body as hard as she could across the face. Shaking with rage, she clenched her stinging hand to her side.
Surprise flashed in his eyes but he remained motionless, naked and on one knee beside her.
How could she have been so easily fooled? She’d just indulged in the most intimate of acts with him. Had she really not known he wasn’t Roger? But Gwen had known something was different. She’d simply wanted to believe so badly that Roger could care for her, she’d ignored her intuition.
Slapping him had done little to relieve her anger so she lifted both hands to pummel him again. This time, he seized her wrists and hauled her body against his. She struggled but his hold was too tight.
After transferring both her wrists to one hand, he dragged her petite body into his lap as he sat. She writhed against his unyielding grip, grunting and groaning until she was finally exhausted.
When her shoulders shook with a sob, he cradled her against him, loosening the hold on her arms. “What are you called, witch?”
She sucked in a breath. “Where’s my husband? What have you done with him?”
“His spirit vacated the vessel. I had nothing to do with it.”
Fury blazed. “So you just decided to hijack his body?”
“Your spell drew me here,” he said as if she should have realized it herself.
Her mind grappled with everything at once. He’d said spell, not ritual. But her love spell had been meant for Roger. How had it lured some dead pirate to her? It didn’t make sense. She struggled again to no avail. “How?” she demanded.
A little chuckle from him infuriated her further. “You’re the witch. You tell me.”
She squeezed her eyes shut trying to calm down, to assimilate all the information, and then she opened them and pinned him with a stare. “Who are you?”
Stede Bonnet was a name she’d heard before. She’d come across it when she was researching Charleston for her second honeymoon destination. The Battery Carriage House Inn faced White Point Gardens where Bonnet had been hanged for piracy, his corpse left in a gibbet until the bones bleached in the sun, in the early 1700s. A ragged breath left her body in a rush. I’ve brought back a dead pirate?
“Tell me your name.” His voice was soft and gentle.
She drew back just far enough to look into his eyes. “Gwendolyn.”
He studied her face as if he were trying to fit her name to it. He nodded. “Gwendolyn.”
The sound of something so personal on his lips sent warmth unfurling through her, making her all too aware of his hands around her arms and legs—and very aware she was wearing nothing except a robe and pearl-garnished bra and panties. She lowered her lashes and at once, she was assailed with the sight of his naked body.
Roger had always been handsome but in a cold, conservative way. With Stede Bonnet’s energy inside him, she hated to admit it but he was overwhelmingly gorgeous—and her traitorous body was having a very difficult time resisting him.
He fingered the fabric of her robe. “Does this…Roger…possess any clothing?” Stede asked.
Gwen blew out a sigh. She debated refusing him. If he dressed, then he could skitter out the door and she’d never see him again. Granny’s soul would be lost and Gwen would be left with nothing. But could she keep him here, naked, for almost twenty-four hours?
Desire sparked and wound downward inside her. Would it be so bad to use her feminine wiles to entice him to find the treasure to save her grandmother’s soul?
No. It would serve her better to keep him here by other means. Like threatening him with the stun gun in her purse.
“You have clothes.” She stood and rifled through Roger’s suitcase, selecting a pair of jeans and a gray T-shirt. Trembling, she retrieved the Taser from her handbag and slipped it in the pocket of the robe.
“These are queer breeches,” he muttered. “What manner of toggle is this?”
Gwen turned and the sight of him wearing nothing but the jeans—with the fly unzipped and gaping to reveal a patch of black curls—stole her breath. She swallowed, her gaze locked to where his hands held the fly open. “It’s a zipper.” The words tumbled from her lips almost incoherently.
Trembling, she took the two steps to close the distance between them. She gripped the slider and drew it up, the back of her hand brushing the dusting of hair that led from his navel downward. Her gaze grazed his and she started to turn away but he caught her shoulders and held her there.
“What time is this? What year?”
“It’s the twenty-first century.”
A muscle in his jaw twitched.
She had to find out how much he knew. An eighteenth-century man wouldn’t be capable of driving a car to escape but he was certainly capable of running. “Do you have any concept of how long you’ve been here?” she asked.
He shrugged. Something bleak flashed in his eyes. “It was as if I were floating in water, lost, at the mercy of the waves—until I heard your siren call.”