Title: Passionate Destiny
Author: Dee S. Knight
Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance
When Margaret Amis-Hollings inherits an old house in Virginia, she never suspects she’d be sharing it with a very loving ghost. Or that her interest would be divided between her spirit lover and the very live man who’s renovating the place. Suddenly her life is intertwined with a soldier from a previous century and with his descendant, Aaron, who has a secret concerning her home. Is it coincidence or the power of a past love that makes her want to share Aaron’s life, as well as her destiny?
Pipe tobacco filtered through her senses, getting stronger by the second.
"Do you smell that?" Her voice rose an octave and she sat on the edge of the seat. "Do you?" She turned to him, her brows drawn together in concentration, anxious that he affirm her senses.
Aaron reacted, lifting his feet off the ottoman and sitting up. He stared into the air, trying to detect what she was talking about. "Do I smell what?"
Damn! It was just as though the smoker was standing here in the room with them. How could he not smell it?
"You don't smell anything...peculiar? Something that shouldn't be here?"
He looked at her, a pucker creasing his forehead. "Like what? Sewage? Varmint? Perfume? I don't understand what you're asking."
"Like pipe tobacco," she ventured. "Like someone is standing here smoking a pipe. The smell is apples and something kind of spicy."
He took a long time to answer. "No, Margaret, I don't smell anything, I'm sorry. Does this have something to do with what you're not telling me?"
The odor vanished. Frustrated, Margaret stood to walk across the room, glancing into the corners, the living room and the kitchen. Nothing was out of place or moved. There was no hint that they weren't alone. Aaron watched her, saying nothing, just letting her satisfy herself that all was as it should be.
When she settled again in the chair, he moved from the chair to the ottoman where he faced her. Filling her cup with tea, he sat quietly, waiting for her to start. Their knees touched, but as he leaned forward, forearms on thighs, he kept his hands folded and to himself. The look in his eyes was one of interest but not in the sense of love or sex. Merely interest in what she was going to tell him.
She sipped her tea. "Have you ever heard that old poem about the guy in the house who feels something when he goes upstairs? I can't even remember exactly how it goes."
He nodded. "I think you mean Antigonish. It's by Hughes Mearn. 'As I was going up the stair. I met a man who wasn't there! He wasn't there again today! I wish, I wish, he'd stay away.' Is that the one you mean?" His inflection was perfectly neutral, as was his expression.
Margaret laughed, shaking a little as she laced her fingers around the cup, holding it to warm her hands. "Yes, that's the one. Is there any topic you don’t know something about?" She sipped, then took a deep breath. "Well, Doctor Belton, you're going to think I'm over the edge, but that is what's with the house." She looked him full in the face.
His expression didn't change. Not even a hint of smile played across his face. Margaret examined his eyes for...for what? Doubt or belief?
"You mean you've seen something." It was a statement, not a question.
"Yes, I have."
"Tell me about it." Still no hint of humor colored his tone. He was treating her as an adult, which is more than she felt.
"I feel so stupid talking about this." He reached out to take her cup and put it on the table before folding her hands in his.
"I'm not laughing. Tell me."
Another deep breath. "The first night I was here I smelled pipe tobacco when I went upstairs. I was on the landing, and it was so strong I went back down and checked all the doors. It was gone by the time I got back, so I brushed it off. Then I saw a man where you were standing this morning. At the foot of the steps. He started up, watching me. And again this evening, it was he walking across the lawn toward me, not you."
There was no need to tell him about the dreams. No need to admit to having made love to this ghost, or whatever it was. He would think she was crazy enough with what she had told him.
"What did he look like?" He tilted his head, looking at her with eyes that sparked with curiosity.
"You believe me?" Incredulous, she squeaked the question. He believed her! His acceptance of her story amazed her, considering she barely believed herself.
"I don't disbelieve you. And it's obvious that you think something is going on here. So, tell me." His thumbs smoothed across her knuckles, an action she found calming.
Relaxing slightly, she answered him. "He looks old fashioned. Not as tall as you are, light blond hair. A beard that badly needs trimming. On the stairs he had on a gray overcoat, like a uniform and he carried a gun."
"Gun?" Aaron's voice was sharp, and his brows furrowed in concentration. "What kind of gun? A rifle or shotgun?"
"How would I know? A gun, that's all. This evening he had that same coat and a hat. His eyes are exactly like yours." She stopped to examine Aaron's eyes. "That same dark, intense blue. It's the only thing similar between you, except..." She felt herself blush and she looked away from Aaron.
"Except what," he prodded.
"Except for the way you looked at me tonight on the porch. Before you kissed me. Every time I've seen him, he's looked at me just that way. As though he loved me." Now she met his steadfast gaze, waiting for his response.
"Well." He sat back, letting her hands drop in her lap. Pursing his lips, he stared into the shadowed corner of the room. "A lot of the old houses in the area are said to have ghosts," he said in a low, almost reverent voice. "I've even heard people claim to see a man in uniform walking the woods near here. But I've never heard quite as clear a description as this." He looked back at her. "Is there anything else?"
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If money were no object and there wasn’t a pandemic circling the world, where would you go for a Spring Break vacation and why?
Scotland! I’ve been there a few times and with each trip the place gets more magical. The highlands are amazingly beautiful. Scotland was the first place I saw a moor and I know why people are drawn to them. My dream at one time was to make enough money writing to spend a season in a cottage on the moors writing. Now I would like to visit again, and spring vacations seems perfect timing!
What’s your favorite thing about Spring and why?
Autumn has always been my favorite season—the summer heat slowly disappears until there’s a crispness in the air. But spring makes me smile. I guess because of all the color suddenly spring up. No pun intended, lol. Crocus push through the snow with bright purple petals, and in the south, the redbud trees brighten the dark, bare woods. Then there’s forsythia, like sunshine, spreading its branches. Jonquils, tulips, amazing azaleas and rhododendron… Yes, it’s the color and fresh breezes that keep me loving spring!