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.”
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