Authors: CJ Anaya
Analise is on assignment to prove or disprove a haunting, but her unexpected roommate is tall, dark and dangerous...and hehas her in his sights.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved.
Copyright 2015 © CJ Anaya
Originally Published in
Windswept: Stories of Enduring Love
Published by Beau Coup Publishing
Cover by JRA Stevens
For Beau Coup Publishing
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author / publisher.
I impatiently tapped the edge of my credit card on the mahogany registration desk, wishing with all my heart that I could simply curl up into a tiny, exhausted ball on the floor and sleep off my jet lag.
“Name?” the receptionist asked. She looked as young as a college student and as perky as a bleached blonde Chihuahua. Her curves had no doubt launched a thousand heartbreaks and demanded the attention of anything male within a thirty-foot radius.
I pretty much hated her.
“Analise Lavelle,” I responded.
The pretty Barbie doll clicked her ridiculously long, hot pink nails across her keyboard before a look of confusion—a look I’m certain she frequently wore—scrunched up her perfectly symmetrical features.
“You say you previously booked a reservation with us for this week?”
My heart sank. This business trip had already gotten off to a lousy start, what with my impromptu flight from England back to the States, and then my arrival here on an island several miles off the coast of Texas. If this girl couldn’t find my reservation, I’d either sit down on the floor and burst into tears or throw expletives at anything that moved.
Probably the latter.
Okay, probably both.
“The owner, a Ms. Madeline Cross, booked it for me when she invited me to stay here for the week.”
The receptionist’s perfectly plucked eyebrow nearly lifted to her hairline. I felt a childish sense of satisfaction when I noticed her dark roots. I suppose I didn’’t have room to judge the receptionist based on her hair color, considering I was a blonde myself, but my hair color was all-natural. This young lady’s brain cells had probably been seriously depleted with every chemical filled visit to the hairdresser.
Good grief, I’m a petty individual!
Sleep deprivation did not suit me.
“I’m sorry—Ms. Lavelle, is it—but there is no reservation under that particular name.” The receptionist leaned forward and said in a conspiratorial whisper, “You see, the owner doesn’t usually invite anyone other than family to the hotel, and certainly never during the week of Valentine’s Day.”
Was she calling me a liar?
“Maybe you should try typing in my name again without the gargantuan press-on nails impeding your progress. You probably misspelled it.”
She gave me an indignant look. “I didn’t misspell your name. It may be weird, but it isn’t
Oh. No. She. Didn’t. I ground my teeth together and reined in my sharp tongue before I said something highly inappropriate, and as a result, got myself kicked out of the gorgeous Windswept Inn before encountering the object of my desire: a freaking bed.
“"Look, I don’t have the email she sent to my editor, but if you feel the need to call your boss to verify the details, you’re more than welcome to. Ms. Cross is interested in having me write up a promotional article for the B&B.”
The dumb receptionist gave me a blank stare. “The what?”
“The bed and breakfast.” I made certain I enunciated each syllable.
Another blank stare. “Okay, but I don’t think calling my boss is going to clear any of this up if your name isn’t in my computer.”
I applied two fingers to either side of my head and rubbed my temples in a circular motion. “I’m not asking you what you think. I’m asking you to call someone with authority and customer service skills—
resembling that of a fast food employee—to verify what I’ve just stated.”
Tweedledumb threw her wicked looking nails on either hip and opened her mouth to blurt out some angry retort I just knew I wouldn’t be able to resist responding to.
Bring it, Barbie! I can so take you.
“Can I help you ladies work this out?”
The voice behind me had a gruff tonal quality and a slight Spanish accent that caressed each word like a slow, seductive embrace. I turned a one-eighty to look behind me, but had to bring my hands up in a defensive gesture in order to avoid bumping my nose into a decidedly male, decidedly broad looking chest. I immediately pulled my hands back as heat shot through them, assaulting my fragile emotional state.
Unfortunately, colliding with the man behind me propelled my exhausted frame into his personal space, and he caught my forward momentum by wrapping an arm around my waist to hold me securely against his nicely formed body. The heat from that kind of contact sent my irritated thoughts into complete and total disarray.
I did not like being touched by anyone, but especially by men.
When I tilted my chin up to look him in the eye—he had to have been at least six-foot-two—I beheld chocolate brown eyes, framed by a strong brow with high cheekbones and a sharp jaw line. His features were bathed in an olive hue, while his jet-black hair had the kind of shine most women paid their hair-dressers thousands of dollars for.
Good grief! Did everyone at Windswept look like a
Barbie and Friends
I finally quit staring long enough to find my voice and utter something semi-intelligent. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize you were standing so close to me.”
He gave me a lingering look, one that saw too much and shared too little, and then he flashed me a smile. “"Don’t apologize. I never mind running into a beautiful woman.”
Ha. Well, that’s hilarious.
My eye roll could not be repressed. This guy probably worked a room full of women like my Aunt Matilda worked a room full of slot machines.
There wasn’t a single casino where she couldn’t score. I had a feeling this handsome stranger was just as lucky. A pity, really. I could have stared at him for a few more hours if I’d thought it wouldn’t inflate his ego.
Still, a compliment, no matter how insincere, deserved some kind of civil response. I gave him a half smile to acknowledge his lame pick-up line and returned to Tweedledumb, waving my hand in front of her face to bring her attention back to the problem at hand and not the gorgeous guy standing right behind me.
Seriously, he towered right behind me. I could feel the heat from his masculine form warming my back, sending yummy chills down my spine. In all my twenty-eight years of living I’d never felt such a commanding presence. This guy exuded power. I’d sensed it immediately and honestly had no idea if I should be concerned.
I didn’t like running into people capable of wielding magic, and I especially hated powerful warlocks. I hoped the level of magic radiating from his core, didn’t directly correlate to the status he held within his coven. The last thing I needed was a run-in with a coven leader. I made a mental note to steer clear of the handsome stranger during my stay here.
I generally didn’t pick up on auras when it came to the living. Nope. My specialty involved communicating with the dead, the reason I’d been invited here in the first place. Madeline Cross had hired me to discover if Windswept suffered from actual hauntings or just tourists’ wild imaginations.
But this guy, well, I had to shut my senses off just to focus on the problem at hand. I gave the receptionist a smile so syrupy sweet it was sure to land her a few cavities.
“Could you please call the owner so I can get a room, grab a bed and collapse for the next twenty-four hours?”
Tweedledumb sighed, popped her gum and started clicking and clacking away at her keyboard again, completely ignoring my request. I was about ten seconds away from ripping off her monstrously long nails.
One. By. One.
Okay. Clearly, I needed to be sealed off in some lonely white room before I hurt someone.
The gorgeous warlock behind me placed a comforting hand on my left shoulder while circling around to my right, resting his other arm on the counter. The slightly intimate position should have been reserved for couples, something
were most definitely
So much for avoiding him. I couldn’t figure out if my body wanted to panic or purr.
“Excuse me, young lady.” He caught the blonde’s attention right away.
Oh, that voice. I felt a part of my body relax and another part of me tense as its velvety tones washed over me.
He continued. “I sometimes find that places such as these make the annoying mistake of double booking rooms during holidays in case of future cancellations. Could you simply do a search under...what is your name miss?”
I had to turn into him a little to meet his questioning look. The close contact, combined with the way his magic seemed to make a tentative grab for me made me tingle inside.
He smiled. “Lovely.” Then he turned back to the receptionist. “Could you do a search for Analise Lavelle, please?”
The rich baritone of his voice and the tender manner in which he made the request had the receptionist clicking away at that keyboard faster than I could down a cheeseburger.
I was doing my best not to react to the strange power within this man’s core. Magic was generally something that remained inactive until its master wielded it. This man’s magic seemed to have a mind of its own, attempting to draw me in as if it wanted to have a conversation with me…get to know me better.
You are insane, Analise. Just keep it together for a few more minutes.
While I gave myself a mental pep talk, the receptionist continued her frantic search. Every now and then she glanced up, giving the warlock a shy smile—something that earned several eye rolls from me—and then continued with her clicking and clacking. The sound drove home the relentless pounding in my cranium.
The handsome foreigner continued to remain right behind me, with his arms and body encircling my figure and his inner core of magic throwing wispy tendrils of welcome my way.
“Ah, here it is. We
double book the room, Ms. Lavelle, and it doesn’t look like the gentleman who shares the same reservation with you has canceled.”
She said it like it was a good thing.
“Gentleman? What gentleman?”
“A Mr. Miguel Galvez.” She squinted at the screen for a second. “Yep, it looks as if we put you both in the same suite.”
The man behind me let out a low chuckle that rumbled through his chest, warming my back, not to mention my heartstrings. I needed to get out of here before I killed the receptionist and kissed the foreigner.
“What is so funny?” I asked. My voice came out more strained than I cared to admit. I mentally batted away a pesky tug from that weird inner magic this guy held.
“It’s just interesting how things work. You see, I am Miguel Galvez.”
I closed my eyes and avoided turning to look at him. Of course, he
be the guy that fate had so cruelly booked me with. I wanted to avoid men, not share a bedroom with the most gorgeous one out there. That included a warlock with the kind of magic that didn’t know how to behave itself. My cheeks already burned a bright shade of pink, easily noticeable due to my fair skin.
I swallowed hard. “Well, obviously this is a huge mistake.” I had to gulp in a mouth full of cool air as I felt his hand move from my shoulder to the small of my back. “If you could simply assign me another room, I would be most grateful.”
Tweedledumb looked shocked. “Are you kidding me? You get to share a room with the hottest guy I’ve seen all week.”
My jaw nearly dropped at her inappropriate assumption. Who hired this girl, and why? She couldn’t have possibly passed any kind of actual interview, at least not one that required her to speak.
Mr. Galvez’s boisterous laugh rang out from behind. It irked me to think that he found this situation humorous while I fought to keep myself upright.
For the past several minutes I’d been fighting off unconsciousness against not only my jet lag, but the relentless pull my spirit felt from whatever ghost haunted the place. I didn’t have much time to find a bedroom and lay down before it insisted on making contact. Not something I wanted the dumb receptionist or my potential roommate to bear witness to.
I let out a frustrated snort. “The hot guy hovering behind me, most likely came to this gorgeous Victorian bed and breakfast inn,
during the week of
, I might add, with a wife or a fiancé or a girlfriend or...all three.”
“Oh, do you really think so? He’s kind of naughty then, isn’t he?” She gave him a playful smirk.
is also standing right
.” He didn’t sound upset though. More amused than anything else.
His lips felt as if they were just next to my right ear. Space. I needed space before I hyperventilated.
“Either way, you can see how sharing a room with Mr. Galvez, and however many women are planning on joining him, might be a bit uncomfortable for myself, not to mention wildly inappropriate. I’m tired, I’m cranky, and I just want my own room...please.” I forcefully ground out that last part.
The annoying receptionist gave me a haughty look. “I’m afraid that won’t be possible.”
I rested my head on the cool mahogany counter.