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Ruby's Letters

The Wild Rose Press

Heat Rating: SENSUAL
Word Count: 87,050
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You never know what you’ll discover behind the wall of a bricked-up fireplace. Emma Hopkins is a recently divorced chimney sweep trying to make it in a man’s world. When she wins a big job in Brooklyn Heights, she finds more than she bargains for—a sexy general contractor who makes her blood heat up and an evil spirit bent on revenge.

Horrors in Ryan Atkinson’s past have made him a shell of the man he once was and he struggles to keep his once-successful general contracting business alive. Now a haunted house and a beautiful woman are adding to the challenge.

Against all common sense, both Emma and Ryan join forces to uncover the old brownstone’s secrets. But can love and sanity survive in the face of evil?

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He gripped the recorder. “Look, there’s something going on in this house. If there’s anything here that could harm Betsy Morris in any way, I want to know about it.” He stared, his eyes boring into her. “So, can I be your ghost-hunting partner?”

Oh, thank God. She so didn’t want to do this alone. She swore it had nothing to do with the electricity emanating from him, pulling her in like opposite sides of a magnet. “Yes, please, I’d really like the company, and a witness to the fact that I’m not crazy.”

With a hesitant hand, Ryan reached out and stroked her temple. “How’s your head?”

Instinctively, she reached to brush his hand away, but instead she dropped her arm to her side. “It’s perfect. Thank you so much for what you did.”

His hand didn’t move, but his thumb brushed over her skin. His lips parted, eyes lowered. The air grew heavy with the tension that seemed to follow them everywhere, waiting for an opportunity to make itself known.

Suddenly, he jerked back and gasped for air.

“Ryan!” she called in alarm. “What’s wrong?”

Cold seeped into her bones and prickles erupted over the skin on her neck. Ryan heaved long deep breaths, like puffs of smoke in the air.

“I don’t know.” His voice was a bit frazzled. “Something pushed against my chest.” Stretching out his arm with the recorder in his hand, Ryan asked, “Who’s here?”

She didn’t hear anything, but from what Sheila said, she wasn’t supposed to. Electronic voice phenomena, or EVPs, could be heard only over an electronic device. What she’d heard yesterday was a disembodied voice. The only sound came from the clicking of her digital camera.

“What’s your name?” Emma asked.

Ryan scanned the room. Still they heard nothing. The smell of musk attacked her, making her gag.

Emma waved the flashlight from side to side. “Show yourself.”

Ryan stood beside her and gripped her hand as they waited for something to manifest. Her nervousness was apparent from her trembling hands and heavy breathing.

“Why do you hate me?” She blurted out the question, surprising even herself.

Ryan snapped his head around to look at her. “Why would it hate you?”

Emma shook her head. “I don’t know. The question just popped out.”

The musk dissipated, and the room grew warmer. Quiet.

“Well, that was interesting.” Ryan handed the recorder back to her.

She clenched it tightly. “Just so we’re clear. You smelled it too?”

“The musky smell? Yeah, I did, and it got really cold. Other than that…” He shrugged, seeming a bit disappointed.

They made their way out of the cellar and up the stairs.

“I wish we’d seen something,” he said.

“You mean like an actual ghost?”

“It certainly would’ve made me less of a skeptic.”

Emma paused at the kitchen door. “If ghosts showed themselves on demand, there would be a slew of pictures of them, and their existence would no longer be in question.”

“Or maybe there’s no such thing.”

She twisted her lips in annoyance. “Well, all I know is whatever I felt down there didn’t give me warm fuzzies.”