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A fatal kiss, forbidden love—cursed in stone.
Aspiring author, Nate Wilson wants some space from his overbearing family and a job he doesn’t like. A week on the Oregon coast sounds like paradise and just what he needs to get the creative juices flowing. Unfortunately, his plans are derailed when a storm moves in and a ghostly figure flashes in his headlights, sending him skidding off the road and into a tree. Lucky for him, he ends up in front of a Bed and Breakfast, and the beautiful owner may do more to spur his creativity than any beach could.
Hesitant witch and inn owner, Haylee Clark is cursed. Well, not her exactly—at least not yet—but all of the women in her family have suffered the same fate. They fell in love, only to have that passion turn sour and their husbands die tragically, leaving them brokenhearted. So far, Haylee has done well to avoid that destiny, but when the captivating Nate Wilson crashes into her life, he awakens something within her that she never thought to feel.
When the pair stumbles upon a hidden room where Haylee’s grandmother used to conduct her rituals, they unknowingly unleash a dark entity hell-bent on destruction, and discover that a family heirloom is the source of the Clark family curse. Despite the spell, they can’t deny their attraction, and give in to the magic between them. But the closer Haylee and Nate get, the more the curse tries to tear them apart. If they don’t find a way to defeat the evil, they may lose more than their hearts.
Lightning cracked across the dark, cloud-covered sky, illuminating the street. Great. Just what he needed. A storm. On his vacation. Although the rain would match his mood.
Nate gripped the wheel a little tighter. He shouldn’t be as annoyed as much as he was, but lately, it seemed he couldn’t catch a break. He was single, his family was always in his business, and his job sucked. He’d hit a crossroads in his life. His career, if he wanted to call it that, wasn’t what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. Even though Wilson Enterprises was the family business and he was expected to follow in his father’s and brothers’ footsteps. He didn’t want to be stuck in an office all day. He longed to travel, see the world.
At thirty-five, it was time to start looking to where he wanted to be five or ten years from now. The vacation was a way to get out of town, change the scenery, and a means to clear his head. The destination wasn’t important. Neither was the weather.
It could rain all it wanted.
Another flash of lightning lit up the night. A woman dressed in a long, white gown with hair the color of night appeared in the middle of the road. Fear and panic burned his gut as he jerked the steering wheel to avoid hitting her. The car swerved. Out of reflex, he hit the brakes, causing the vehicle to spiral out of control onto the shoulder, ending by crashing into a large tree. His forehead slammed into the steering wheel. Pain arched through his skull and he groaned. Lifting his head, he scanned the area for the woman, but she wasn’t there. Had he imagined the whole thing?
After a few moments, a tap on the window jerked his attention to a dark–hooded figure standing outside the driver’s side door. Or was it minutes? The fact that he hadn’t noticed her there worried him that he might have lost consciousness.
When he glanced back out the windshield, he noted the fat raindrops pounding on the glass. Frowning, he took his keys from the ignition and opened the door. Big, blue eyes glanced up at him from under the hood of a coat then blinked. A woman, but not the one that had caused him to crash. This woman’s sensual, full lips frowned as she asked, “Are you all right?”
He nodded. The pain in his head eased slightly. “Yeah.”
“Come out of the rain.” She wrapped her black rain jacket tighter around her and darted up a stone pathway to a large, dark old house covered in ivy.
After a quick glance up and down the street and at the cemetery across from them, Nate looked at his car and shook his head. It hissed from having the front smashed. He wasn’t one to become attached to things, yet he’d had the car since college. And this was the first accident he’d had. Letting out a sigh, he threaded a hand through his wet hair and followed the woman up the path. On his way, he spied the white sign that read The Clark House Bed and Breakfast.
Once inside the foyer, he gaped at the beauty of the place. Coffee-colored walls accented by mahogany wood trim extended to the high, vaulted ceilings. The floor was a dark hardwood, worn from age. He shivered, not because he was cold, but because he got the feeling he was being watched. Hanging on the wall to his right was a painting of a cemetery, and he wondered if it was the one across the street. In the background of the painting, a silhouette of a woman was portrayed. It was blurred but appeared as if it were meant to be a ghost.
He turned to see the woman enter the room with a couple of towels. He noticed she’d removed her jacket and her shoes, and he drank in her natural beauty. Her brown hair fell to her waist like silk curtains. Around her neck hung a Sunstone wrapped in wire, dangling from a black leather cord. “Thank you.”
As soon as he took the towels, she directed him to the stairs. “You can take room 15. From the top of the stairs, it’s to your left at the end of the hall. There won’t be any cell service due to the storm, and we don’t have a landline. Breakfast is served between 7:00 and 9:00 AM.” She frowned then added, “Never mind about breakfast. I let the staff have the weekend off so you’re on your own. Sorry.”
“The name is Nate Wilson, in case you need to keep a log of your guests,” he stated as she turned to leave the room, not really meaning for her to respond. She seemed preoccupied.
When she faced him again, she frowned. The marble-size Sunstone hanging around her neck glowed briefly. Glowed? He shook his head. Maybe it had caught the light. Maybe he’d hit his head harder than he thought.
“I’m sorry. It’s late. I didn’t mean to be rude.” She averted her gaze as if embarrassed by her actions. “Um, I’ll make a note of it and we can clear everything up in the morning. You must be cold, plus you’re dripping on the floor.”
He glanced down and it was his turn to feel like a heel. “Right. Sorry, Ms...”
“Haylee. I’m the owner of the place. So if you need anything, I’m your girl. I’ll let you get settled in. Have a good night, Mr. Wilson.”
Haylee. He smiled, liking the sound of her name in his head, and watched how her hips swung slightly as she walked away. The idea of being stranded in a small town with her had brightened his mood. That was until he realized he’d left his suitcase in the truck of his car.
Great. He draped the towels over the stair railing before going back out to collect his things. As soon as he stepped out onto the walkway, lightning snapped overhead and thunder boomed. The rain fell in fat, heavy drops—faster than before.
By the time he returned to the house, he was soaked to the bone. His jeans stuck to his legs, and he sloshed with each step up the stairs. When he reached the landing and headed to his room, he noticed how quiet it was in the house. He couldn’t be the only one there. Then he remembered Haylee mentioning that the staff was off. Did she mean she was closed?
Odd. Well, she was a little strange, as well. At least, her behavior was, going from being short with him one moment to apologizing the next. Maybe she was just shy. A smile tugged at his lips as he entered his room. He wanted to find out more about the beautiful, intriguing owner of The Clark House.