Ghosts of High Paradise Ranch, 4
This Cowboy Bites
Kade Rourke is tempted to slam the door in Emma O’Connor’s face when she sneaks onto his ranch, asking for help. He’s even more tempted by the deal Emma wants to make with him. Is Kade ready to reveal everything about himself for a bite of sexy, willing Emma?
The Ranch House from Hell
Jenna is hired to remove the malevolent spirit that haunts the McCray Ranch so it can be torn down and the land developed. What she finds out about the ghost, and about herself, makes her question her own existence.
The Dom Who Haunts Me
Vanessa Merris has enjoyed every night of deliciously throbbing BDSM given her by the ghost of a cowboy who comes to her in her dreams. But tonight is October 31. Will the sexy cowboy disappear forever after Halloween?
The Ghost at Four Mile Roadhouse
When an old cowboy shows up at the roadhouse, the owner of the place, Garnet, learns why Daisy has been passively haunting the bar for years. But something is different tonight, and Daisy is changing her routine…and scaring the hell out of Garnet.
In his sleep, Kade Rourke sensed someone on his property. Someone other than the ranch hand who’d already left for the day.
His nearest neighbor was the High Paradise Ranch, and they would call before showing up here. In this remote northwest corner of Montana, visiting neighbors meant a two-hour drive. Minimum.
Loud banging on the front door yanked him fully awake. “Shit.”
Moving on fast-forward, he pulled on black jeans, a black t-shirt, and boots. He wrenched open the front door before the next knock.
A tall blonde girl nearly toppled in, her arm raised for another knock. Her big, blue eyes opened wide when her fist stopped an inch short of his chin.
“Emma?” The night shift waitress at the diner. “Who let you onto the property?”
A flush of red crept up her neck. His nostrils flared as he caught the scent of blood.
“I snuck in through the gate after your foreman left.”
He looked past her. The sun was down, the yard lights glared from the barn. Lit by a full moon, the peaks of the Purcell Mountain Range towered over the ranch.
A bike lay at the foot of the porch steps. Was she stalking him? Ironic. He usually did the stalking.
Bad timing for a social visit, though. “You don’t want to be here today.” He hadn’t fed in over a month. Blood hunger clawed at his stomach. He’d planned to make the long drive to Missoula tonight, find a loose young thing at a bar, and take her with his cock and then his fangs. But when Emma tipped her head, and her hair swung away from her neck, his fangs tingled, ready to come down. He leaned closer.
She stepped back, and he sensed a small burst of fear mingling with her determination. “Please, Kade, hear what I have to say.”
He nodded. They’d talked a dozen times when he went to town for a late-night meal. Sometimes she’d sit with him if things were slow. He knew all about her family, her friends, her online college classes. The sexual connection between them was strong. She felt it, too. But what kept him going back was her company. He craved it, despite telling himself local women were off-limits. She made him laugh, which was something he hadn’t done in a decade.
“I’m here…” Her voice cracked. “Because I need your help.”
He’d listen to her, help if he could, then decide what to do with her. His breath nearly stopped at the image of her spread naked on his bed, holding out her arms to him. If he did take her, he’d scrub her mind, make her forget about the bloodletting. But he’d want her to remember the sex. Aw, God, if he made love to a sweet, young beauty like her, he’d want her all night, every night.
“What do you need from me, Emma?”
“The McCray House has been standing empty for over a hundred years.” Jenna turned to her friend and business partner Bethany, showing her the paper with the realtor’s notes. “Are you feeling anything?”
Sitting in their car at the top of ranch’s driveway, they’d stopped to get their bearings. Situated a few miles from the High Paradise Ranch in the northwest corner of Montana, the view behind the McCray Ranch House showed the majestic Purcell Mountains.
Jenna and Bethany had been hired to ‘clean’ the McCray property of spirits so the house and outbuildings could be torn down to make way for a housing development.
Bethany took the paper and read. “Forty prime acres in Montana.” She squinted at the house. “Strange they haven’t torn it down before now. It’s been in foreclosure for more than ten years.”
“That’s where we come in.” Jenna grinned. “No one can get close.”
Now Bethany squinted at her. “What do you mean? You didn’t tell me that.”
“The realtor didn’t share that secret. I got it from the chatty fellow at the Corner Quick Mart.” She widened her eyes and spoke in a ghostly voice. “They call it Hell’s Ranch.”
Bethany snorted. “Gossip.
With a shrug, Jenna turned the ignition key. Nothing. She checked to make sure it was in park. “Strange.”
“Stop screwing around.” Bethany pulled her modified night-vision goggles out of her bag and tugged them on her head, the goggle part on her forehead. She turned on her ghost meter and put in the earbud.
“Um.” Jenna’s mouth went dry, and a feeling of dread came over her. “I’ve got first phase panic going on here.”
“Really?” Bethany actually looked excited. Turning her meter toward Jenna, she nodded. “I’ve got some activity.” She sucked in a breath. “Yes. Yes. Aw, man, yes, it’s rolling this way.”
Jenna hated this part. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. When she was still present in the human realm enough to have heart-palpitating fear.
“Let’s go.” Bethany opened her car door and stepped out, then opened the back door and grabbed her video camera from the seat. She slammed both car doors.
Jenna considered running back to town. Six miles wouldn’t be too far. She could find a nice, quiet bar and have a couple glasses of wine, and… At the banging on the hood, her eyes popped open.
Bethany gestured. “Come on. Let’s get ’em while they’re hot.”
They were hot, all right. A chill raced through Jenna. She opened the car door. This was her job. She had to do it. She caught up with Bethany. “It feels like just one entity, but it’s so powerful. So angry.”
Bethany stopped and closed her eyes. “It’s warning us to stay away.”
Jenna took a step. “That’s what the guy at the gas station said. Engines won’t work here. People are filled with an overwhelming fear just stepping onto the property.” The salient dread increased with each additional step. “I’ve got the heeby jeebies. Bad.” She took a step back and felt a slight relief. Taking two steps forward doubled the anxiety. “I don’t think I can go any further.”
Trinity Merris stared at her reflection in the bathroom mirror and poked at the bags on top of the dark circles under her eyes. These were her fault, not his. The time he spent with her was like a time warp, feeling like hours to her but taking only minutes, according to the clock.
She was the one who forced her eyes to stay open every night, afraid to fall asleep. Afraid of the attachment she’d formed to him.
“It’s Halloween. The last day. I can do this.”
For the past thirty days, since moving into this spooky old house in the northwest corner of Montana, just east of the High Paradise Ranch and tucked under the Purcell Mountains, her nights had been haunted and far too satisfying.
The Bad Cowboy, she called him. Black eyes and a tanned face under a dark brown cowboy hat. His plaid shirt only half-buttoned under a leather vest, jeans, boots, and a shiny belt buckle. She’d never seen him in real life. She’d remembered him if she had. She’d always had a thing for cowboys.
Garner Ford flipped the switch that turned off the outside lights of the Four Mile Roadhouse. Situated in the northwest corner of Montana, the view through the Roadhouse windows showed the imposing Purcell Mountains highlighted by a full moon.
His truck was the only vehicle left in the parking lot. A few cowboys from the High Paradise Ranch had just left, and he was ready to close the place down for the night.
He walked past the last patron sitting in a booth, nursing his third shot of whiskey. “We’re closing, old-timer.” He nodded toward the lot. “Did you walk here?”
The cowboy used one gnarled finger to push up the brim of his dusty Stetson. “Took a cab.” The man looked nearly ninety, but his voice was strong.
Garner nodded. “Stayin’ at the motel in town?”
The man glanced at the opening where the bar ended at the kitchen door. Did he see her? The bar’s ghost?
Grabbing a few glasses off a nearby table, Garner walked toward the bar. “I go past there on my way home. Wait a spell, and I’ll give you a ride.”
The cowboy finished his whiskey. “I’d be much obliged.”
Something about his voice triggered a memory. “How about one more of those on the house….” Garner gestured to the man’s glass. “For the road?”
“As long as you join me, Mr. Ford.”
Garner tipped his head, searching his memory. Reaching behind the bar, he pulled out a bottle of the good whiskey and a shot glass. “Do I know you?” He sat across from the cowboy and filled their glasses.
“Will Brody. Sold you the bar four years ago.” The man’s rheumy blue eyes glistened.
He’d only met the man for a half-hour at the closing, but he looked a good bit older now. “Thought I recognized your voice.” He took a swallow of the liquor. “Last I heard, you were up in Tulsa.”
“Yep. Came back for a visit.” He looked at the spot near the kitchen door again.
“Are you looking for Daisy?”
Will’s eyes shifted to lock with Garner’s. “You’ve seen Daisy?” He sounded twenty years younger.