As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.
For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥
This is my scoring system:
I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.
Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?
Unhallowed Ground by Heather Graham
Genre: Paranormal Romantic Mystery
Blurb: When Sarah McKinley is finally able to buy and restore the historic Florida mansion that she has always loved, she dismisses the horror stories of past residents vanishing and a long-dead housekeeper who practiced black magic. Then, in the midst of renovations, she makes a grim discovery. Hidden within the walls of Sarah’s dream house are the remains of dozens of bodies—some dating back over a century.
The door to the past is blown wide open when Caleb Anderson, a private investigator, shows up at the mansion. He believes several current missing-persons cases are linked to the house and its dark past. Working together to find the connection and stop a contemporary killer, Sarah and Caleb are compelled to research the history of the haunted house, growing closer to each other even as the solution to the murders eludes them.
But there is one who knows the truth…a spirit who follows every move they make. Soon Caleb begins to fear that if he can’t stay a step ahead, he could lose Sarah to a killer with an ability to transcend time in a quest for blood and sacrifice.
A few choice lines from the book:
“I feel like such an idiot for bursting in on you this morning, and at least this explains why I was so…confused.”
She was palpably sincere. Her eyes were silver in the moonlight, and he could smell the faint scent of her perfume. Somewhere in his core, he felt a stirring and a warmth. He’d wanted to touch her from the minute he’d seen her, but he’d never been more tempted than he was at that moment.
He needed to walk her home, see that she was safe.
He needed to keep his hands off her.
“Actually, you barging in that way was rather titillating,” he said, unable to prevent a smile.
She laughed, her cheeks turning a becoming shade of rose, but she didn’t look away. “Look, what I’m trying to explain to you is that I’m not a lunatic and I don’t usually go banging on a men’s doors and yelling at them. I guess I did have a dream, but if you look at this, you can see why I thought what I did. I mean…this could be a picture of you.”
“Point taken,” he assured her, then shook his head sadly.
“I’m afraid this means you’re not going to barge in on me again.”
“I upset Bertie. I think I’d better behave from now on,” she said, turning away. “I need to explain things to her, and apologize.”
“Show her the picture. She’ll understand,” he said.
She smiled and started walking. He stayed by her side, shoving his hands in his pockets to keep himself from reaching for her, determined not to act like a jackass and ruin this tenuous connection between them. The night was warm, but with a sea breeze that stirred her hair as they walked and carried a tantalizing whiff of her perfume. He found himself noticing everything about her. The silky sheen of her hair and the way it swayed on her shoulders as she walked.
The way she walked.
The way she was built.
Her skin was smooth, and she was wearing a sleeveless knit dress that revealed a lot of that skin, and molded her curves so tightly that he had to swallow. Hard.
She had a great mouth, generous and well-defined. Beautiful lips. Perfect nose. He remembered how it had felt to have her underneath him that morning, the feel of her flesh against his.
He almost tripped over a cobblestone as they moved down Avila, ready to make the right that would lead them to St. George.
“Are you all right?” she asked.
“Yes, just clumsy,” he assured her.
“It was strange that day, when I saw you just staring at the house,” she said.
“It’s a beautiful old house,” he said.
“But it seemed as if you were drawn to it.”
I’m drawn to its owner.
“I like historic architecture,” he said lamely. They had reached her house, and stood staring up at it. The mansion had been magnificently constructed. That night, however, he felt as if the darkened windows were eyes, staring back at them. It was if something brooding was living inside the house. He gave himself a mental shake; he wasn’t prone to whimsy or flights of fantasy. It was a house.
A house and nothing more. But history happened in houses. Events occurred. The good, the bad and the very ugly.
Adam said there were two kinds of hauntings. Residual, the events of the past happening over and over again. And active, or intelligent, when spirits remained behind, chained by the trauma of their deaths. They could even learn to move objects and travel from place to place, which was why Abe Lincoln could be seen both striding the halls of the White House, or sitting in the seat where he’d been shot at Ford’s Theatre.
He couldn’t communicate with ghosts himself, but he worked with a number of intelligent and completely sane people who did speak with those long gone.
But this house…
It was as if the house itself wanted to tell him something.
He was suddenly anxious to get back inside.
But not tonight.
“Caleb?” Sarah said softly, studying him.
He turned to her. Her eyes were so wide and concerned.
Silver and beautiful.
“Let’s get you safely inside, okay?” he suggested.
And maybe, just maybe, I can stay awhile, he thought.
Take two people brought together by the disappearances of several women, some odd historical events related to Sarah’s house and another murder, throw in some ghosts and a passion that can’t denied…and you have the recipe for a pretty riveting novel. Oh, yeah, and throw in some old magic? Yeah, that’s certainly the kind of tale I can get into.
The romance between Caleb, an investigator new to town, and Sarah, the new owner of a historic property where some old remains are found, develops naturally instead of immediately. For the rest, you’ll just have to read it to find out what happens next.
I give this one four hearts!
Oh, just a quick note…this is part of the Harrison Investigation Series, comprised of eight novels.