Do You Believe?
In my paranormal romance, Haunting You, the heroine, Rachel Spencer, is a medium. The ability to see and communicate with ghosts began after she lost who she thought was the love of her life. Strong emotions made it possible for her to communicate with him—until he crossed over, and she was forced to lose him again. Ever since then, she’s been bombarded with spirits who’ve made it difficult to live her life—and pass her bar exam.
I gave a lot of thought to this supernatural force as I was writing this story, and it reminded me of some of the strange events that have happened in my life. I can’t/won’t/don’t want to say I’m a medium, but I will admit that I am a believer.
My first supernatural experience occurred when I was a young girl. I woke in the middle of the night to see an apparition—a man in a long white gown—slowly walking toward me. I called for my mom several times before it finally disappeared. My mom reminded me that I’d been reading The Ghost On Saturday Night before I went to bed, and most likely I’d imagined seeing the apparition.
Maybe! It seemed real at the time.
I’ve had other experiences happen as an adult: waking with the feeling of being pushed up to a sitting position, only to discover that my son was lying awake with a headache—he hadn’t called for me…
My husband and I had stayed at the Stanley Hotel (you know, the hotel that inspired Stephen King’s The Shining, and is also famous—infamous?—for being haunted) one night, and I heard loud clapping and footsteps next to the bed. My husband hadn’t heard a thing. Oddly enough, I hadn’t felt fearful or in danger. More so, annoyed with not getting a decent night’s sleep. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful, historic hotel, and I encourage people to visit if they’re in the Estes Park area, but I really like my sleep, so I’m not in a hurry to stay there again.
Rumor is that while filming the bar scene in Dumb and Dumber, Jim Carey stayed the night at The Stanley. Or tried to anyway. Apparently he’d checked out sometime in the middle of the night and asked to be checked in at a different hotel. The story is that he’d seemed freaked out by something but wouldn’t say what it was. I can only imagine!
There’ve been a couple other instances where I’ve felt a strange undeniable presence, but I won’t get in to them now. What about you? Have you experienced any supernatural activity? If so, how did you feel about?
To find out more about Haunting You and my writing, please visit www.ViolaEstrella.com.
Bewitching Women Series
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Date of Publication: 10/25/2014
Number of pages: 302
Word Count: 85,500
Cover Artist: Estrella Cover Art
Rachel Spencer's life has been hijacked by the supernatural. Ghosts seeking help with their unfinished earthly business won't leave her alone. Her only hope for returning to normalcy and passing her next attempt at the bar exam is making a deal with one of the ghostly intruders. It should be simple--Ella keeps the other spirits away if Rachel agrees to help Ella's two teenage sons. No problem. Well, not until she meets the boys' guardian.
August Kline misses his old life. He never planned to raise two teenage hurricanes in an old house in small-town Indiana. But here he is, and he's determined to make the best of it...if he could only keep the house in order and not completely screw up his nephews.
Enter a gorgeous redhead who pops into August's world when life is at its grimmest. Rachel claims to be an old friend of Ella's and offers to help around the house. Sparks fly whenever they're together, and August is falling fast. Rachel keeps her distance, worrying her ghostly secrets will sabotage any chance of a relationship. But when danger appears and threatens the people she has grown to care about, she may have to face more than her own fears.
So she actually wanted to go through with this?
Fantastic. No, more like embarrassing. And wrong. So wrong.
A beautiful woman had popped into his life like a granted wish and all she wanted to do was clean his house.
He stepped outside, letting the glass door close behind him, and smiled at Rachel because, well, he found it hard not to when in her presence. Rosy-glossed kissable lips, light coppery hair, delicate features, and seductive eyes framed by thick lashes compelled him to be happy. Hell, to be ecstatic. The woman magnetized him. He was a goddamned moth and she was the brightest lamppost on the block. Only question was when would he get zapped?
“Hi.” She stuffed her hands in her pockets and rocked on her feet. Cute and sexy. Lethal combo.
“You came back.” Obviously, dumbass.
“I hope you don’t mind. Helping you and the boys would mean a lot to me.”
When she put it that way, it seemed kind of rude to object. But… “I really don’t think this is a good idea.”
“I want to. Besides, I owe Ella for all her mentoring. She helped me so much. And this is how I’d like to repay her.”
“I don’t know.” Why couldn’t he just say “no”? Where were his balls? They were there a moment ago.
“I insist, August. So…” She lifted her hand, palm up. “Hand over the house key. You’re not going to win this argument. I’m a soon-to-be lawyer. I don’t back down easily.”
“I can see that.” He dug into his pocket and pulled out his set of keys. “I’m going to pay you for whatever you do.” Truth be told, he should have hired a housekeeper before it had come to this. If he had, maybe Rachel would be more interested in his bed than his dirty dishes.
“No, you’re not.” She grabbed the key from his hand just as he unlatched it. “I won’t accept anything but extreme gratitude.”
“Extreme gratitude could come in many forms.” He instinctively reached out to touch her, brushing two fingers down the inside of her forearm.
Her cheeks flushed pink as she inched ever so slightly away from him. She averted her gaze to the parking lot. “Um, I’ll get started. Should I bring the key back to you before I leave?”
So she was shy all of a sudden? Too bad. He could have some fun debating with Ms. Soon-To-Be-Lawyer. But shyness was good too. The word “challenge” sprang to mind.
He leaned against the concrete plaza wall and inclined toward her, catching a whiff of strawberry. He hadn’t gained women’s interest in the past by being inhibited. And he wasn’t going to start now.
“You could spend the night,” he said.
Yep, that got her attention.
She jerked her head back, warm chocolate eyes wide and alert. “Pardon?”
August kept his cool, something he’d learn to excel at over the years in NYC, where the women he’d run into weren’t quite as innocent as this one. He hitched up one side of his grin and lowered his eyelids somewhat—a look several of his ex-girlfriends had told him was sexy.
Yeah, he was desperate.
“I mean, if you’re planning on coming back tomorrow, there’s no point in driving four hours round trip.” He winked. “With gas prices and all.”
Every inch of her body seemed to tense, including her clutched fists at her sides. “My car’s pretty efficient,” she mumbled, glancing at his lips before settling on his eyes.
“Safety then. It’s a long drive.” As subtle as possible, he reached out again but this time to see if her hair was as silky soft as it appeared. Her skin certainly was. He ran his fingers across her smooth cheek, sweeping a thick lock of unbelievably soft reddish-blond hair away from her face and behind her ear.
She tilted her head toward his touch, and he hoped to God the two ladies who had just walked out of Dolly’s Hair Salon wouldn’t scare her away from the kiss he was about to give her.
He cupped her cheek and moved in closer.
She pulled her bottom lip in to bite and then released it, making him want to taste her even more.
“Thanks for the offer, but I’ll pass.”
Before he could make his move or argue it was the best idea he’d had in years, she took three sharp steps away from him, leaving his hand caressing nothing but air.
“I’ll return the key in a few hours.” She turned on the heel of her tennis shoe and race-walked to her car.
Ah, hell. “All right,” he called after her, trying to sound as if he hadn’t just tried to make a move on her in the middle of a shopping plaza. And failed miserably. “See you soon.”
“Hey, Don Juan.” Loretta heaved the door open, grabbing his attention. “You collect payment from Ms. La-dee-da, or is she planning on paying you the old-fashioned way?”
August spun around and pointed a finger at her. “You know I could fire you, right? You realize I’m your employer and not the other way around?”
She rolled her eyes. “Hon, you would be lost without me.”
Shit, she was probably right. He blew out a breath. “Don’t insult Rachel, got it? She was a friend of Ella’s. And she’s going to be helping me out around the house as a favor.”
“A friend of Ella’s?” Loretta scrunched her black-dyed eyebrows together. “I don’t recall Ella ever mentioning her, and she told me everything.”
August shrugged. “Maybe there was more to Ella than you know.”
“Hmmph. I doubt it. I know everything about everyone in this town, and if Ms. Spencer is planning on sticking around Curlville for a while, I just might have to check her out.”
Trespassing onto land that may or may not be considered school property. Was that a Class D Felony or a Class A Misdemeanor? Rachel couldn’t think with her head fuzzy and her body heated. But she was sure a number of crimes were being committed at that very moment.
Including indecent exposure.
She glanced down at her mismatched underwear and imagined what her mug shot would look like.
What was she thinking? How could she think when August was beckoning her?
“Maybe this isn’t a good idea.” She crossed her arms, wishing she hadn’t gone with the foolish gut instinct to strip. A familiar child-like shame gnawed at the very part of her gut that felt guilty for her near-nakedness. But she couldn’t quite understand why, despite her shame, she moved slowly toward the edge of the pool, continuing what could possibly turn out to be a very bad life choice.
“Water feels nice. Come in.” August’s deep voice was grounded by the pool, giving the illusion of them being in a private cocoon. Crickets chirping was the only other sound for what seemed like miles. No traffic. No passersby.
The gnawing eased and she allowed her arms to drop. The gorgeous vision before her wasn’t hurting either. The moonlight hit August in ways that danced on the drips of water skimming down his toned, tanned body and cast shadows under his midnight eyes. He slicked his hair back from his face and held out his muscled arms, waiting for her to join him.
Committing criminal acts had never felt so tempting.
Not that she’d ever committed a crime. She’d always been attracted to the allure of bad boys but had never done anything remotely unscrupulous with them. Yet after she’d seen August undress and dive into the pool, she’d found herself doing the same—wanting to join him.
Stop thinking, Rache.
I can’t help it.
Her guard had dropped for a nanosecond, and now she was standing on the edge of a public swimming pool that high school kids used during the day. Kids! This could be considered a sexual offense. She’d probably be labeled a sex offender for the rest of her life.
A sex offender!
“This is a bad idea.” The cricket sound gave a synchronized hiccup, breaching the peaceful cocoon. Was someone out there? She quickly glanced up to check if any buildings surrounded the pool, above the hedge line. Thankfully there were none to be seen. No peering eyes watching them from a window.
Of course nothing could stop someone from entering through the gate just as they had.
“How many people have the combination to that lock?”
“To the gate?” He lifted a brow. “Honey, don’t worry. I promise no one is going to bother us. Even the sheriff is at home sitting in front of his TV, drinking a beer. This little town has a zero crime rate.”
That didn’t make her feel any better. “We’re committing a crime.” What was Ella going to say about this? She’d wanted Rachel to help August, not do jail time with him.
He dropped his hands, one covered his mouth as he attempted to hide his smile. But she saw the flash of teeth, the curved lips.
“Are you laughing at me, August Kline?”
“No.” He moved to the edge and grabbed her ankles before she could retreat to her pile of clothes. “I’m not laughing at you. I think you’re damn adorable, but I’m not laughing.”
The feel of his rough wet fingers rubbing along her skin made her shiver. And almost, almost, forget what she’d been worried about.
“Come in with me. It’ll be fun.”
She could only imagine how fun it would be to slide into his arms, wrap her legs around his hips. Kiss him. The man had a remarkable body. Muscled and lean in all the right places. She wondered what he did to keep in shape. More so, she wondered how it would feel pressed up against his wet and nearly naked frame.
His smile twisted to a sensual smirk as his hands ran up and down her calves. “I dare you to come in.”
“You dare me, huh?” She tried to sound playful as her stomach flip-flopped.
“Forget about the millions of worries flurrying through that beautiful mind of yours and get in here with me. I won’t let anything bad happen to you, Rache. You have my word.”
Misdemeanor. Nope, couldn’t be more than a misdemeanor.
About the Author:
Viola Estrella loves a story with flawed characters, paranormal elements, humor and romance. She tries to include these aspects in all that she writes and loves every minute of it. When she's not writing, reading, or designing cover art, she's spending time with her husband and four sons in their Colorado home. Viola is a 2010 RITA® finalist.
Also in 2010, she was honored by her local RWA® chapter, Colorado Romance Writers, with the Writer of the Year award. Find out more about Viola Estrella’s writing at www.ViolaEstrella.com