It was a pleasure to get into Cassie’s mind again. I fell into her voice with the first line. Dale Mayer created the cover, and I think it’s perfect. Some of you might recognize the Chicago skyline. Here’s the cover, the blurb and a short excerpt:
Cassie stared down the guy who was supposed to be her Happy Ever After and wanted to give him a good kick in the ass.
Sitting on a stool, holding his guitar as if it were a part of him, Luke Rivers stared back at her. Not giving anything away.
Neither was she.
“I’m going. You don’t have to come with me.” Standing in the middle of his tower studio in their pre-Victorian home, she took a quick glance around at his recording equipment, his guitars, the window with a view to the lake. The floor they’d made love on.
“Stay and brood about Erin’s visit with her mom.” She turned back to him. “I have a gig.”
He scowled. “Talking to a ghost.”
“That’s what I did before we married.” She looked up at the ceiling, as if their house ghost would appear any second. But, no, Isabel was probably gleefully eavesdropping on them, as if they were arguing just for her entertainment. “It’s what I do now. And it’s what I’m going to do, whether you come with me or not.”
Without waiting for a reply, she headed out of his studio.
“Where are you going now?” he called after her.
“To pack.” She stomped down the stairway to their bedroom on the second floor, not looking back.
“You think I’ll come after you?”
She still didn’t look back but she smiled. Yes, she did.
They weren’t on their honeymoon anymore. Not after seven months of living together. Five months of marriage. But they were still at the jumping-into-bed stage. Or the couch. Or the bathtub. Or the shower. Or the pier outside—until mosquitoes drove them indoors.
Sex wasn’t the best part about being married to Luke. Being loved and loving was. But Luke was as good at it as writing hit songs. So was she, as good at it as talking to ghosts. She’d like to say “taking them to heaven,” but she couldn’t get their own ghost to leave. Isabel said she was having too much fun watching them. A sad commentary on Isabel’s former life.
Cassie reached the landing when footsteps thundered down the steps behind her. She sauntered down the hall and could feel his gaze on her butt. Her butt was hard to miss, and lucky for her Luke didn’t want to miss it.
“I’ll go with you.” His voice was growly, like a bear that woke up in a bad mood. “I can look up some old friends in Chicago while you’re doing your ghost therapy thing.”
She whipped around and glared at his scowling face…then she smirked. “I knew you’d cave.”
His eyebrows lifted. And he did something that would surprise most of the people who knew him casually. He grinned. A grin that said it was great to be alive.
He took a giant step toward her.
She turned and ran. “Catch me if you can.”
If he didn’t catch her, she’d swing around and catch him instead.
She laughed from deep within her belly. Ghosts, sex and when they were in Chicago she wouldn’t have to cook one meal. Life was good.
Then she remembered Rose Bellington’s wobbly voice, telling her that she had to get rid of her condo ghost or her grandson was going to say she had dementia and put her in a nursing home.
A reminder that it wasn’t the dead people who did the worst things. It was the live ones.
Her laughter died. She knew all about being treated badly by the people who were supposed to love her. Making her feel that she was a freak. Unlovable and untouchable.
Two hundred years ago, she would’ve been the crazy relative locked in the attic.
Strong arms curled around her. “Got’cha! What happened? That was too easy.”
She twisted around and reached for his neck. “Hold me, Luke. Just hold me.”
His expression changed, his eyes gentling. Hugging her tightly, he rocked her. “Anytime, babe. Anytime at all.”
Her breasts flattened against his chest and her head smooshed against his shoulder. She breathed in his familiar scent and let it strengthen her, using it to stop tears from falling. Her self-pity changing to anger.
Raising her head, she gazed into his blue eyes that looked back at her with a mix of love and desire and caring. “What do you think about a man who’s trying to force his grandmother into a nursing home?”