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Ghost of an Inheritance, #1

Ghost of an Inheritance, #1

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Where love blossoms but dreams collide.

Lia Savage is on a mission: remodel a castle and free its resident ghost. But working with old crush Coop Montgomery reignites her heart. Coop's dream anchors him to the castle, while Lia's pulls her away. Facing a ghost is one thing; facing a choice between love and dreams is another. A heartwarming ghost story in the spirit of The Canterville Ghost.

Main Tropes

  • Second Chance Romance
  • Castle Romance
  • Ghost

Synopsis

Where love blossoms but dreams collide.

Lia's father inherits a transplanted Irish castle in the idyllic Pacific Northwest. Pausing her plans to open a dessert café with a friend in California, she commits to spend the summer helping her family with renovations. She discovers the estate comes with two unexpected surprises: a restless ghost—and her old crush, Coop, the handsome groundskeeper.

Lia finds herself tangled in a web of old affections, especially when Coop sets out to untangle her knotted heart. But he is as committed to the estate as the resident ghost, while her long-held plans are waiting for her hundreds of miles away.

Fearing the specter’s escalating activities could derail events at the castle, Lia and Coop must unearth what keeps him bound to the estate. All while facing a heart-wrenching decision: pursue separate futures or stake their cherished dreams against a love that only promises a new beginning.

Intro Into Chapter One

Hugh directed his attention to the haze which should be the main hearth and willed it to take shape. At first, nothing changed. Narrowing his eyes, he increased his concentration. The blur sharpened into focus—and ‘twas his fireplace. They had failed to keep him away. Not permanently.

How long had it been? Only on rare occasions had he interacted with the interlopers who had stolen his home.

He stood to his full height and straightened the ghostly cape of his Irish regimental uniform. At long last, after struggling for much too long, he had triumphed and found his sense of self again. The fiends would now face the wrath of the true owner of the Savage Citadel.

But would they? True, he had regained some of his power—too little of his power. It should not take all his strength to simply take form. Perhaps ‘twas like when one had been ill and spent many long days in a sickbed. It had only happened to him once, but he had required weeks to regain his vigor.

It appeared Hugh must work to restore his strength. But where to begin? ‘Twas not his ability to be present, which he must improve upon, but his power to haunt.

He turned his attention to the small framed painting sitting on the mantel. It had an odd shine to it. Scowling, he peered more closely. The men wore uniforms Hugh did not recognize and stood before a strange carriage of a type he would have only imagined in a nightmare. How much time had passed since they had ripped him from his castle?

Irritated at himself for his interest in the painting, Hugh shook his head. He extended his arm toward the mantel, thinking to run his fingers along the top. They passed through the stone instead. He curled his lip.

As he focused his energy on his hand, it turned solid. Smirking to himself, he wrapped his fingers around the wooden frame of the picture and lifted it into the air. Success! He crowed, for once caring not a whit that such a sound was beneath his dignity.

A gasp from behind startled him, and his hand turned translucent again. Without substance, his fingers lost their grip. The picture crashed to the hearth and shattered.

Livid, he spun, refocusing his power. He fueled his will with anger and, for the first time in a very long time, felt his entire body take form. The gray-haired woman gave a satisfying shriek before covering her mouth with her hands.

“Remove yourself from my home at once,” he commanded, his voice menacing. He kicked a piece of the broken frame, and it flew toward her. With a cry, the maid ducked and ran from the room.

Hugh straightened his cape again and turned back to the fireplace. With more confidence, he traced his fingers along the mantel. Memories came rushing back as he did so.

They had disassembled his home. With every stone they had carried away, it had been as though bits of him disappeared until he was merely a single thought, drifting and lost. Tied always to the Citadel. How long had he been trapped in that purgatory state, neither heaven nor hell? Neither here nor there?

Away from all he had left of his sweet little Maire.

He ran his hand along the mantel again, this time searching for the pattern. His breath caught. ‘Twas not there. Frantic, he felt his way along the stonework again. Nothing. What had they done with it?

Hugh howled his rage.


***

I leaned my head against the minivan window, wishing my earbuds would block out the sound of my younger brothers in the front seat. I loved the little punks; I really did. But after two days stuck in the car with their video game debates, I wanted to strangle one of them. Or both of them.

To keep from saying something I’d regret, I gnawed on one of my only remaining fingernails.

“Lia, you have to stop doing that.” Heath reached over with his foot and nudged mine.

I glared at my twin from the corner of my eyes but quit biting the nail.

“What’s bothering you now?” he asked.

Like he didn’t know. All my pent-up frustration swelled to the surface. I shifted in the seat to face him, a snarky answer on my lips. Before I said anything, though, he raised a hand and signaled for me to keep my voice down. Well, he raised it as high as he could with a sleeping seven-year-old sister leaning against his arm. It’d serve him right if she drooled all over the open laptop before him.

I took a deep breath and pushed down my feelings once again. Only a few weeks ago, I’d had the world before me, a job which would help to finance my dream to start a business of my own. Then, like a line of dominos, my plans had collapsed, one after the other.

First, my father had inherited property in Washington state from a distant relative we’d only heard stories about but none of us had met. The something-or-other cousin, once removed, had spent his career in the military and never had a family of his own, leaving Dad as his closest relative. My family had begun arrangements to move there.

Then, I’d lost my job.

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