Today is the release day for my fourth novella in the Gambling Ghosts Series, The Biker Ghost Meets His Match.
The biker’s “blurb” follows the excerpt.
and if you’re still not sure if you want to read it all, let me tease you with the fourth chapter:
4 – A Haunting
“When a man with money meets a man with experience, the man with experience leaves with money and the man with money leaves with experience.” Unknown source
Charlie couldn’t believe Rufus. The nerve of the guy, telling her that he had a right to haunt Mad Dog. She stomped out of the teahouse and headed back to her brother’s home.
Despite Rufus’s abrasive behavior her traitorous heart fluttered. Rufus was the sexiest biker she had ever met, sinfully dark and yummy, an alpha who knew his own mind and wasn’t afraid to speak it. The kind of man who took over a room the second he entered it and left an impression no one would forget when he exited. A man other men deferred to and women drooled over. A man who stood head and shoulders above others. The kind of man she dreamed of meeting. Sigh.
He was dead. What was she thinking? He’s a ghost! She bit her lip. The warm visceral feeling of meeting him still flowed through her body. The way his stormy-gray eyes took her in and swallowed her made her feel womanly and appreciated, all in a millisecond. Damn him. It took the starch out of her anger. The guy oozed alpha power, biker charm and bad-boy moxie in spades. He may be dead, but she had never felt so alive.
She slammed the front door of her brother’s house. Darlene, who lay on the couch, looked up from her romance novel. A small woman with a big heart and enough energy to fuel a hurricane, her sister-in-law wore leopard leggings and a tight orange shirt. Her honey-brown hair fell to her shoulders in loose waves, framing her heart-shaped face. Heavy eyeliner emphasized her emerald-green eyes and false eyelashes gave her a vintage, vixen look.
“What happened?” Darlene said.
“I talked with Rufus.”
“He’s the most infuriating—”
She laughed. “And hot.”
“Well, yeah, I guess. If you’re into ghosts.”
“Did you notice his curly eyelashes?”
Hell yeah. Charlie grunted. “I don’t care about his eyes.” Much. “He said Mad Dog deserves whatever he gets.”
Darlene took a swig of her beer. “Men. Why can’t they talk things out?”
“Exactly.” Why hadn’t she thought of that? “Have you talked to Mad Dog about talking to him?”
Darlene giggled, and her husky voice made it sound vampy. “Your big brother may be a rough and tough man, but he’s terrified of ghosts. Especially Rufus. He’s haunted by nightmares. He says the guy chases him with a butcher knife until Mad Dog jumps out of a window to escape. And then he wakes up shaking and crying. I think it could be PTSD.”
“Oh,” said Charlie. “It’s worse than I thought.”
“Yeah, I didn’t want to tell you all the details on the phone. If Mad Dog found out I told anyone, he’d be so pissed.”
“Yeah, I hear you. Anger management has been a problem in our family. Has he punched any holes in the walls yet?”
“About one a month.” She smiled. “I’m negotiating a loyalty deal from the local contractor.”
Charlie smiled. Darlene had a knack for seeing the funny in life. “Well, I thought if I talked to Rufus I could bring this whole mess to an end, but he’s not budging. He didn’t seem to be bothered by my boycott on the teahouse.”
“I guess when you’re dead your perspective changes.”
“Yeah, I guess so.” Charlie sat on the overstuffed chair opposite the couch. “Where’s Mad Dog?”
“He’s doing some business.”
“Really? What business?”
“Hey, I don’t ask and he doesn’t tell.” She winked. “But I’m not stupid either. I think he’s supplying the local weed shop.”
“Legit?” That would be a change. Her little brother had run south of the law.
“I’m guessing he supplies illegal weed at a discounted price, which then gets sold as medicinal marijuana at a big price. And there may be a few drugs on the side.”
Charlie wasn’t sure what to say to that. “Sounds like easy work.”
“And pretty safe too. Listen, I’ve got some wicked mac and cheese in the oven. You in?”
“Absolutely.” She followed her sister-in-law into the kitchen, wishing her ass could be as small and solid as hers. How did she do that on macaroni? “So, when does the haunting start?”
“Usually about two. You might want to have a few beers first.”
“I’ll take you up on that.”
Around two, just after Mad Dog returned home, Charlie settled into the inflated bed in the laundry room. It had been fun swapping stories about her brother with Darlene. The more time she spent with the woman, the more it became clear that Darlene was the perfect match for Mad Dog. The woman had a wicked sense of humor. For a reason that eluded Charlie, Darlene loved her crazy brother with all her heart.
Love never made sense to Charlie. It had to be a magical thing. She would never have expected anyone to fall in love with her scruffy sibling, with his hot temper and foul mouth, but, then again, she loved the guy too. There was a goodness inside him he didn’t show many people, but it was there and it was solid. He put family and friends first.
She wondered what it would be like to get to know Rufus. He appeared to be a hard-hearted biker, but she would bet her Harley on there being more to him. That was the best part of hanging out with tough guys: finding their weaknesses.
If Rufus were alive and wasn’t threatening Mad Dog, she would have liked to explore his, uh, personality. She laughed. Hell, it wasn’t his personality that flashed through her mind. His body was built for sin and she could imagine how well they would fit together. She fell asleep with a burning desire to get close and personal with a ghost. How stupid is that, was her last thought.
The sound of a window slamming woke her up. She checked her phone: 2:30. A cold breeze flowed over her body and the door to her room opened and slammed shut.
“Do tough guys slam doors?” she said to the air.
A low, ghostly groan echoed through her room. The wood panel on the door vibrated. The lights flicked on and off, and the air grew graveyard cold.
“Give me a break, Rufus. I’m not scared of you.”
Ice-cold air blew on her face. “You should be scared. You should be very scared.”
The tiny hairs on the back of her neck rose. “Go to hell, Rufus. That’s where you belong.”
A long, low chuckle bounced between the walls.
Goosebumps pebbled her arms. “I’m not scared.” Much.
Rufus shimmered into view two feet in front of her.
Shocked, scared, and, yes, turned on, her mouth dropped, but she said nothing.
“You’re stubborn.” His voice sounded normal, but it carried a weird, echoing addition. His eyes raked hers. “I’m a ghost and I can hurt you.” His eyes blazed with fire and he uttered a low, guttural groan.
“That’s all you got?” Charlie looked at her manicure—or, rather, lack of—and raised a brow.
“You should be scared.”
“Not of you. Not ever.” It seemed like a good time to lie. No matter how much her insides wanted to scream. She would be damned if she would let him see her fear. She bit the inside of her mouth.
He closed the already small gap between them and stood so close she could feel his incorporeal presence inside and outside her body.
“Bring it on, bad boy. Bring it on.”
“I deserve my sweet revenge, and messing with you will be my way to get it.”
“Go ahead. Say boo, rattle chains, and do that fun fiery thing with your eyes again. Show me what you got. I’m not scared of you.”
Charlie held his stare and felt a flutter in her heart. Their eyes locked and the chemistry between them transformed from anger, to intrigue, to something else. If he were human, she would call it desire—raw, hot desire—but . . .
She broke the moment. “You’re a ghost.”
Rufus laughed. “You just noticed?”
“Look, I don’t know what this is.” She pointed at him and then herself.
“Babe, it’s heat. Why deny it?” He blew air towards her face, ruffling her shiny black hair in a playful way.
“Well, Babe, I ain’t into dead men.”
“Maybe you should try one. You might change your mind.” A bad-boy grin lit his face with mischief.
Now she felt flustered. Totally flustered. Down to her toes flustered. The kind of flustered a woman expects to feel when she meets the one. But, for heaven’s sakes, the guy was stone-cold dead. She swallowed. “I’m going to talk to your sister. Maybe she can talk some sense into you. You’ve got to stop haunting my brother.” She stomped out of the room and slammed the office door.
Standing alone in the living room she gave herself a mental kick in the head. Now what, Einstein.? You’ve walked out of your own bedroom.
As she pondered her next move, Rufus flew by her. He stopped at the front door and blew her a kiss. Then he went through the door. Seriously, through the door.
Hell’s bells. She was no longer in Kansas.
The Biker’s Blurb:
How could a dead guy be so sexy?
When Charlene Walker, a tattoo artist with a sweet tooth for bad boys, starts a boycott of a haunted teahouse in a small town in the Pacific Northwest, no one alive or dead is safe. One way or another, she intends to stop the haunting of her brother, a good deed she figures will kick-start a tamer life.
Biker ghost Rufus has no idea what he’s up against. Her saucy personality makes him feel alive, not to mention her provocative tattoos and every inch of her body. Pulled into her web, he finds himself confessing to more than the ace up his sleeve that got him killed, and he struggles with feelings he never imagined having.
Adding to their epic heat is the mischievous charm of a resident pirate ghost and the twisted intentions of a human trafficker from Charlie’s past.
What happens when you mix an ink slinger with attitude, a cheating gambler, a playful pirate and an evil creep? Another Gambling Ghost story.