GhostlyPersuasion

 

Ghostly Persuasion

Dena Garson

 

Part of the Emerald Isle
Fantasies series

 

When American-born Katie takes her
mother’s ashes home to Ireland, she finds hunky but spellbound Seamus loitering
in her suite at Castle Tullamore. Seamus is surprised Katie can see and hear
him because he was turned into a spirit three hundred years earlier. He acts as
her personal tour guide, not only showing her the historical sights but introducing
her to voyeurism and a variety of other carnal delights. As frustrating as it
is not to be able to touch each other, they push the limits as far as possible.

Katie is determined to help Seamus
break the spell cast on him by the wife of a previous lord, a woman he refused
to take as a lover. With help from a few castle ghosts and the local witch, the
two of them aim to free him and find a way to be together in the flesh.

 

A Romantica®
paranormal erotic romance
from
Ellora’s Cave

 

Ghostly Persuasion
Dena Garson

 

Chapter One

 

“Call me when you get to Belfast. I don’t care if it
is
the middle of the night,” Jenny said as she hugged her best friend Katie
tightly.

“I will.” Katie returned the embrace. “I promise.”

“And when you get to the hotel too. If it’s half as nice as
the pictures we saw on their website, you’ll be spoiled before you get home.”

“We’ll see,” Katie said with a grin.

“I gave the attendant your bags,” Paul, Jenny’s new husband,
said as he joined them. “Here’s your baggage claim ticket.” He handed the
ticket to Katie then slipped one arm around Jenny’s waist.

“Thanks, Paul.”

“Hey, you be careful over there, okay?” he said, sounding
very much like a big brother.

“I will.” She gave Jenny another quick hug. “I’m not going
to run up a phone bill by calling you every day, but I will email or text.
Okay?”

“Okay.”

“Good luck with the house-hunting while I’m gone. And
seriously, don’t worry about trying to rush out and find something right away.
We can work something out when I get back.”

“All right. I love you, sis.”

Jenny and Katie had been best friends since the third grade.
They weren’t related by blood but they considered each other sisters of the
heart.

“I love you too.” Katie gave Paul one last smile, happy that
Jenny had found someone to love who loved her just as much in return, then
headed to the airline’s check-in desk.

“Let me know if you find out what Irishmen wear under their
kilts!” Jenny shouted just as Katie got in line at the desk.

Katie rolled her eyes and waved in Jenny’s direction to let
her know she’d heard. A barely stifled chuckle nearby told Katie that everyone
else in line had too. She loved Jenny dearly but sometimes she wanted to just
choke her.

She finished her check-in at the counter and made her way
through security. After reading all the requirements for bringing cremated
remains, she was surprised she didn’t have more trouble. Thank God for the
funeral home and their willingness to help her find a travel-friendly container
for her mother’s ashes. One that could go through the x-ray machine without a
problem.

When she arrived at the departure gate, she found a chair
out of the way then sat down and dug one of the many paperbacks from her bag.
The cover wasn’t one Katie recognized so she flipped it over to read the blurb
on the back. The book was a romance about a modern-day woman who had been
transported back in time while visiting an ancient castle in Ireland. Of course
the heroine fell in love with the Irish warrior whose lap she literally had
fallen into.

Katie snorted. Jenny must have put the book into her bag
when she wasn’t looking. The brat. Must be trying to tell her to keep an eye
out for hunky Irish heroes while overseas.

Well… The idea did have merit. After all, none of Katie’s
recent romances had worked out. Maybe a fling with an Irish hunk would be just
what she needed before she returned home, looked for a new job and started a
new routine. In between all the castles, sheep farms and rolling hillsides that
she wanted to see, that is.

Her daydreaming was interrupted by the sight of a man
dressed in a pinstriped suit and wing tip shoes, leaning over the shoulder of a
rather well-endowed woman. His semi-transparent form was the first sign he was
no longer of the mortal world. She rolled her eyes when she saw he wasn’t
reading the woman’s magazine, just enjoying the view down her low-cut blouse.
Even in death, men were drawn to boobs.

She struggled to keep her eyes on her book instead of on the
apparitions she was seeing around the terminal. From the different styles of
dress, she guessed the airport had been around for a while. She shuddered to
think of the number of accidents that occurred in the area to tie so many
spirits to this location.

Or were ghosts able to fly on a plane and travel to other
places?

An intriguing thought. She’d never taken the time to sit and
talk with any ghosts. Only when there was some urgent need to do so. She’d
always spent more time pretending she didn’t have the ability to see or hear
them.

Before she knew it, the attendant was calling for the flight
to board.

Each of her flights went surprisingly smoothly. Even getting
through customs wasn’t as much of an ordeal as she had feared. Thanks to the sleeping
pill she took before boarding the plane for the flight into Belfast, Katie
dozed for a few hours and was somewhat rejuvenated when they landed.

The assistant at her mother’s law firm who made the travel
arrangements provided excellent directions and made finding the car service
very easy. Katie was thrilled when she was helped into the back of a limousine.
If her trip was starting off with a limo, she couldn’t wait to see what the
castle-turned-hotel was like.

The driver introduced himself as Thomas. He was a short,
little man who had a friendly face and a mischievous twinkle in his eye. The
first thing Katie thought of when she saw him was Michaleen from
The Quiet
Man
.

Katie immediately moved to the seat closest to the driver so
she could talk with Thomas along the way. He was kind enough to point out
important landmarks as they passed. He even slowed the car whenever she
expressed an interest in something so she could take a longer look.

His stories made the time pass faster than Katie expected.

“There’s a lot of history in Ireland, miss. I’m sure if
there were something you wanted to be seeing, they could arrange for you to
find your way there from the castle. That Áine is a fine one for making sure
her guests are satisfied,” Thomas said.

“Is Áine the hotel manager?”

Thomas chuckled. “That and many other things. After
finishing at the university, she returned home and worked her way up through
the ranks. Said she didn’t want special treatment just because she was family.
By the time her grandfather passed she was responsible for having doubled the
tour business to the area. It was no surprise when she inherited Tullamore from
her grandfather. She’s been running things since.”

“Sounds as if she knows what she’s doing.”

“Aye. That she does.”

The car rattled across an ancient-looking bridge. When they
made it to the other side Katie felt a brush of energy ripple across her skin.

“Wha—”

“We’re on Tullamore land now, miss.”

Katie swiveled her head in both directions, trying to look
out the windows on both sides of the car at the same time.

She could see lush forests along one side. On the other,
rolling meadows dotted with gray poofs that looked a bit like sheep. Zigzagging
over and across the hills were short walls made of stone that made Katie think
of small cottages and fairy tales her mother used to tell.

The road turned sharply to the left and part of the castle
came into view. Several tower-like sections reached up above the tree line. Off
to the right was an imposing tower that supported the castle’s flags.

A mix of emotions rolled through Katie. Her excitement at
being in a new place was amplified by her curiosity about her mother’s former
life but dampened by how much she missed her.

Finally Thomas turned off the road they had been traveling
and passed through a gatehouse onto what Katie guessed was the main estate
driveway. The drive ran alongside a river and then made a loop in front of the
hotel. The estate was simply beautiful.

As they rolled down the drive Katie tried to keep her eyes
on the structure, rather than the half dozen or more ghostly figures they
passed. More than she had ever seen at one time. Some of the ghosts were even
riding ghostly horses. It was hard to not stare and Katie prayed her face
wouldn’t betray her.

“Here you are, miss.” Thomas pulled the car near what looked
like the main entrance to the hotel and put it in park.

Katie gathered her things and rummaged through her purse for
a suitable tip as Thomas got out and came around to her side of the car. He had
been such good company on the drive and she wanted to thank him properly.

Thomas opened her door then offered his hand to help her
out.

When she got out and looked up at the castle, her eyes were
immediately drawn to the gray stone figures at the top. Griffins, if she
remembered her lore correctly. The history and the beauty of the castle both
excited and overwhelmed her. From the corner of her eye she saw more than one
hazy figure drifting about the castle grounds.

Some inner sense told her that her arrival had captured the
attention of more than one person.

“Are you all right, miss?” Thomas asked when she made no
move to enter the castle.

Katie shook aside her worry. “Yes, I’m fine. Just
overwhelmed by how big the castle is up close.”

“Ah. I suppose it is. But you’ll be well taken care of here.
Don’t you worry.”

“I’m sure you’re right, Thomas.” Katie pasted a smile on her
face. “So I guess I need to check in somewhere just inside then?”

“If you’ll go up the stairs and through those doors, you’ll
find a long counter. Anyone working there can help you.”

Katie opened her mouth to ask about her bags but Thomas beat
her to it. “I’ll have one of these strapping lads,” he pointed to a couple of
tall, thin young men wearing matching uniforms and who were headed in their
direction, “bring your bags in and the front desk will have them delivered to
your room.”

“Thank you, Thomas. You certainly made the drive out here
fun. I loved your stories and hearing the history of the area.” She handed him
the bills she had pulled from her wallet.

“Thank you, miss. And when you get ready to return to the
airport, you ask for me. I’ll be happy to come and carry you off.”

“I will do that.” Katie smiled then turned to head to the
main doors.

Almost as if by magic, one of the oversized wooden doors
opened when she approached. Must have one of those sensors like many department
stores. Even though she couldn’t hear it, she guessed the motor must be huge to
be able to manage the weight of such large doors though.

Katie stepped into what looked like a large lobby area.
There were several couches and comfortable-looking chairs scattered about the
room in various seating areas. The floor was a dark stone but rugs sectioned
off areas and helped absorb some of the sound. A mammoth chandelier hung from a
large chain attached to the ceiling. She wondered if the fixture had been
around when the castle was first built then fitted for electrical lights later.
It fit the décor of the castle perfectly.

When she realized she was standing in the doorway gaping
like a tourist, Katie roused herself and headed to the long wooden desk Thomas
had mentioned.

“Good afternoon. Checking in?” the young man behind the desk
asked.

“Yes, please,” Katie replied as she dropped her bag onto the
floor beside her.

“And your name?”

“Katherine Ward.”

The young man typed something into his computer. “Ah, yes,
Miss Ward. I see you’ll be staying with us for three weeks. Is that correct?”

“Yes.”

“That’s unusual,” he mumbled then looked up at Katie with
his brows furrowed. “It says your reservation was made more than three years
ago?”

Katie nodded and swallowed the lump that automatically
formed in her throat anytime she thought of her mother. “Yes, that’s probably
about right.”

“Wow. Okay, let me see which room we have reserved for you.”

“I’ll take care of Miss Ward, Peter,” said a petite woman
with bright-red hair as she came through a door in the paneled wall behind the
desk. The woman was wearing a gray pinstriped suit and a look on her face that
brooked no argument.

“Oh yes, of course, ma’am.” The young man nodded in almost a
short bow then moved to the other end of the long desk and shuffled whatever
paperwork was there.

“Miss Ward, I’m Áine Byrne. I’m the owner of Tullamore
Castle.” Áine leaned across the desk and extended her hand.

Katie noticed a white lace handkerchief peeking out of
Áine’s sleeve as she took Áine’s hand. “It’s nice to meet you, Ms. Byrne.” Áine
certainly didn’t have a wimpy grip.

“It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, Miss Ward. We’ve been
looking forward to your arrival.”

“Oh, well, thank you.”

Áine dropped her voice slightly. “I, and several members of
our staff, knew your mother and remember her fondly. I was very sorry to hear
of her passing.”

“Thank you.”

“I understand it was her last wish that her remains be
returned to Ireland? Specifically to Tullamore?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“I will need to finish looking into a couple of things. If
you wouldn’t mind waiting until the end of your stay to fulfill the request, I
believe we will be in a position to assist you.”

“Um. Okay.” Katie tucked a stray strand of hair behind her
ear. “I guess I can do that.”

“Very good.” Áine nodded briskly then looked down at the
computer screen. “Now let’s see about your room.”

She typed something then mumbled, “Yes, I think that will do
nicely.”

Katie looked around the lobby as she waited for Áine to
finish whatever she was doing on the computer. Despite all the stone and rough
wood, the room had a cozy yet elegant feel. She was even more pleased to
not
see any ghosts.

Áine looked up from her typing. “Tug?” she called across the
room.

A tall, lanky, teenaged boy hurried to the desk. “Yes, Ms.
Byrne?”

“Would you please make sure Miss Ward’s luggage is taken to
suite 201?”

“Two hundred and one? But isn’t that—”

Áine silenced whatever Tug was about to say with a look.

“Yes, ma’am.” Tug hurried away to do as she had asked.

“Is there a problem with the room?” Katie asked.

“Not at all.” Áine picked up the pages she had just printed
and put them on the desk in front of Katie along with a pen.

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