Author: Cassandra Hawke
Genre: Paranormal romance, Ghost, M/F; erotic romance
Imprint: Ai Press
You Pay: 4.49
Flame rating: 3 flames- Stories will have sensual, yet more explicit love scenes, and the language used to describe them may be more graphic and direct
Cover art: Les Byerley
The ghost of Annie Dunsford is beautiful, passionate and deadly. Revenge is her goal. Sex is her weapon. Logan is her victim. Unless Paige and the unexpected passion he has found with her can save him…
A surprise joint inheritance requires Logan and Paige to live together in the old haunted house for a year. It all seems simple enough. But it is not simple at all.
The ghost of a murdered ancestor haunts the place. Out for revenge, the beautiful but deadly Annie Dunsford seduces Logan and their steamy passionate sexual encounters suck the life out of him leaving him sexually frustrated, drained and afraid to sleep alone.
Logan’s vulnerability sparks something deep in Paige’s soul, and the sexual attraction simmering between them explodes into molten hot sex. The ghost is furious at the emotions developing between Logan and Paige, and they find themselves fighting for their lives. Their joint struggle to survive the ghost’s fury and demands for justice brings them closer together and sparks an unexpected passionate new love. But is that love strong enough to save their lives from a spirit who wants only their deaths?
Publisher’s note: This book has been previously published. It was edited for re-release with Ai Press.
She stuffed the letter in her handbag and climbed out of the car. Her life was in turmoil with a broken relationship, a shock redundancy, and the sudden unexpected sale of the house she had occupied for the last five years. She was not in the mood to be arbitrarily summoned to the Adelaide offices of Ashley, Crane, and Atkins—Solicitors with no explanation. It was just over a month since she had been here to attend the funeral of Sarah Hamilton, and she was sure if her elderly cousin, several generations removed, had left her a small bequest, the executor could have just sent it to her.
Her five-inch stiletto heels clicked with a staccato ferociousness on the tiled floor of the foyer as she hurried to catch the lift. It left without her, as the only occupant made no attempt to hold the doors open. She sighed as she jabbed the call button. After what seemed like an eternity, the lift returned and carried her up to the plush, well-appointed offices of Ashley, Crane, and Atkins. She knew she was late and felt flustered, hot, and bothered, as the receptionist showed her into Mr. Atkins’s office.
“Ah, Ms Reed, glad you could join us. I am Martin Atkins, the solicitor handling Sarah Hamilton’s estate.”
She took the proffered hand and was subject to a damp, loose handclasp that ended quickly.
“May I introduce Mr. Logan Dunsford-Hamilton, your co-beneficiary?” Martin said in a formal tone.
She studied the man with interest as he rose with the lithe grace of a big cat out of the leather chair beside her. He had changed a lot but her rage toward him had not, she discovered, when a disconcerting flash of fury sliced through her. He towered over Paige’s five foot nine, was well built, and ruggedly handsome. He held out his hand. She took it. His hand was cool and the grip firm.
“Ms Reed and I know each other already. Paige and I were childhood playmates many years ago.”
Paige made an effort to smile civilly. “Of course, Logan. We used to play together at Cousin Sarah’s house.”
He grinned. “And you were always leading me into wild adventures, getting us both into danger and trouble.”
‘Really, Logan. I think you might be exaggerating just a little.”
Logan shook his head. “Oh, I don’t think so, Paige.”
She pulled her hand from his grasp.
“You were the elder, so I suspect you were the ring leader but liked to put the blame on me, the baby. Perhaps you thought I wouldn’t get punished as harshly as you.” A small shudder slipped over her. She didn’t remember any specific incident—only the anger, cruelty, and heartache of that last day.
He cocked his head slightly to one side. “You really don’t remember?”
“I really don’t remember, Logan. I suspect I was too young.”
“Ah, but surely you do remember your invisible friend, the ghost,” he asked.
Another shudder, more defined this time, washed through her.
“Of course, I remember the ghost. She was still wafting up and down the passages of the old place the last time I was there,” she said, all the time wishing he hadn’t brought the subject up.
“Are you sure you don’t remember my broken leg?”
“No, Logan. I do not,” she snapped. A sudden undercurrent of uneasiness swirled through her. She struggled to keep her bitterness towards this man in check as he persisted in reliving a past she had quashed.
He bowed slightly. “Sorry, Paige. I did not mean to disparage you. I was sure you would remember, but then, you were probably only about three–and-a-half or four, maybe. Never mind. It was a long time ago. So, I assume you are as in the dark about this bequest as I am?”
Paige nodded. “I was not expecting anything from Cousin Sarah’s estate, and I am keen to find out what this is all about.” She turned to Martin Atkins. “Perhaps we should get on with the business.”
Martin Atkins nodded as he indicated the tub chair to the left of his desk. She tucked her tight, pencil-straight skirt around her backside and sank as gracefully as she could into the spare chair. It was low and deep, and as she tucked her ankles together, she wished she had worn lower heels.
“Mr. Atkins?” she prompted, as he fiddled with the papers in front of him.
“Yes, well…” He shuffled the papers some more and adjusted his glasses. “I’ve asked you both to attend today because I have the privilege of bestowing a joint bequest on you…”
Logan stirred in his seat. “I don’t understand… Sarah Hamilton was a distant relative, somehow, of my biological parents and I’ve had no contact since I was about seven.”
“Give me a moment, Mr. Dunsford-Hamilton, and I will explain.”
Paige looked at Logan Dunsford-Hamilton and met the direct, appraising stare from his steely grey eyes with an openly curious one of her own. He made no attempt to hide the fact he had been studying her as a woman, as well as a co-beneficiary. Her face warmed from the neck up as she read the clearly spelt out attraction in his expression. She turned away. She was used to men staring at her like that, but this man’s stare, she resented deeply.
Martin Atkins leaned forward. “Logan and Paige, your bequest comes from the late Sarah Hamilton, a relative of both of you—although I am not sure how you are related, Logan. Sarah Hamilton was, of course, Paige’s cousin several generations removed on her mother’s side.”
“Yes, my mother and I visited and corresponded with Sarah on an ad hoc basis. I came for the funeral.” Paige looked at the man beside her, interested in his reply.
He merely shrugged his shoulders. “My adoptive parents and Sarah Hamilton had a falling out when I was about seven. We never went to the house again, and it was too hard for me, as a kid, to keep up with my dead parents’ relatives.”
Paige was piqued at his off-hand manner. She dredged her memory. She had always known he was a distant relative but could not remember how he fit into the family tree.
“Oh, there is no question of your familial ties. Miss Hamilton was ninety-nine when she passed, and she was as mentally bright as most people half her age. She had traced the family tree and had been keeping tabs on you both—all of your lives.”
Paige shivered as though something had brushed her skin with a feather light touch. It was a bit disconcerting to think someone had been keeping track all these years without revealing her interest.
“Now, the bequest consists of the family property located in the hills. It includes twenty acres of mixed native vegetation, cleared land and an eight-room dwelling. The dwelling is livable, but currently in need of considerable restoration and repair. It is the family home, built around eighteen forty, for The Honorable Anne—she was known as Annie to most—Forbes and Captain William Dunsford on the occasion of their marriage. It was built and tied up in trust for Annie’s direct descendants by her guardian and uncle, Captain Harrington Forbes. Apparently, he did not like Annie’s choice of husband.”
Paige gasped. “The house!” Of all the ironic things, she was to share a house with Logan—the man she had deeply resented all her life. “Why would she leave the two of us the house? What about other relatives?”
“All other relatives have been taken care of, Paige. Sarah Hamilton was a very wealthy woman.”
“But she lived in such poor circumstances—genteel poverty, my mother used to say.”
Logan cleared his throat with a slight cough. “Are you saying Paige and I are to share ownership of Sarah Hamilton’s old family home?”
“Yes, Logan,” Martin Atkins confirmed with a touch of impatience.
Logan sounded disgruntled. “Sharing an asset is complicated. Besides, I have no use for a rundown house. What would it bring on the current market?” he asked.
Fury sparked in Paige at his arbitrary manner. “Hang on a minute. Don’t I have a say in this?” she protested.
“You want that house?” Logan asked.
Paige sat as upright as she could in the leather chair. She glared at Logan. “You didn’t give me a chance to decide. I might just want it.”