HE CAME TO HER IN THE NIGHT
In the darkened bedroom of Ravencrest, Bree Brennan was seduced by an unseen lover. A lover whose scorching kiss was strangely familiar. Was her midnight caller Troy London, her onetime love, or was it the mythical ghost who haunted the cliffside, windswept estate on the California coast?
A P.I., Bree had come undercover to Ravencrest to find its owner, Troy, and ensure his well-being. But Bree knew she was out of her league the moment she saw its dark rock spires and its creepy inhabitants who claimed a crazy Troy was a prisoner in his own chambers. But Bree heard his husky voice, felt his sizzling touch . Exactly who was weaving an undeniable, erotic spell around her?
About the Author
Award-winning, USA TODAY bestselling novelist Ruth Glick, who writes as Rebecca York, is the author of more than one hundred books, including her popular 43 Light Street series for Harlequin Intrigue. Ruth says she has the best job in the world. Not only does she get paid for telling stories, she’s also the author of twelve cookbooks. Ruth and her husband, Norman, travel frequently, researching locales for her novels and searching out new dishes for her cookbooks.
Read an Excerpt
By Rebecca York
Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTroy London squinted against the wind blowing salt spray into his face and matting the dark hair to his forehead. Tipping back his head, he looked up to the cliffs at the great house towering above the ocean. Ravencrest. The estate his great-grandfather had built. For the first time in months he felt the joy of coming home to this place. Well, a muted joy, with the present problems hanging over him. But he would solve them - one way or the other. And then he'd get his life back on track again. Deftly he maneuvered the small craft through the swells, finding the calm channel between the towering rocks. He had sailed these waters since he was a boy. For sport and for the challenge of pitting his mind and body against the elements. He found the ring anchored to the rock and tied up the boat, then waited for a swell to crest before stepping off onto the landing platform, slippery with ocean water. Using the familiar handholds, he climbed the rough-hewn steps toward the top of the cliff. He could have approached the house from the headlands. But then he would be visible from the west-facing windows. Instead, he stopped at the entrance to one of the secret tunnels carved into the stone. Opening the door, he slipped into a dark passage. A flashlight was hanging from the wall, and he used it to guide his way up a steep slope and then more stairs. At breakfast he'd announced his intention to go sailing. He'd made sure they saw him heading out into the ocean. But he'd come back sooner than they expected, hugging the coast to keep from being spotted. And now perhaps he could get the evidence he needed, because he wouldn't act without proof. A sick feeling overtook him. It was tinged with his own guilt - over what he'd done and what he hadn't done, if the truth be told. Still, he'd expected better than this, and he'd thought long and hard about what to do. He was still hoping he was mistaken. Hoping against hope that he'd read all the signals wrong. Stopping at a fork in the passage, he listened intently, then moved silent as a panther toward one of the rooms. He'd laid a trap there the day before. Now he would see what he had caught. He set down the flashlight, then pressed on a hidden panel and stepped into the back of a closet. Slowly he opened the door, just enough to see into the room. The man was there, just as he'd suspected, just as he'd feared. "What are you doing?" he asked, keeping his voice low and steady as he walked into the room. The man's eyes widened. "Where did you come from?" "That's not important. Answer my question." He walked forward, his gaze focused on the interloper, so that he didn't see that another person was standing in the bathroom. At the last second a flash of movement caught the corner of his eye and he realized his mistake. But it was too late. The blow came crashing down on his head. And then there was only blackness. Fog rolled in from the west, obscuring the rugged coastline north of San Francisco. There was no guardrail, the narrow stretch of road was slick, and Bree Brennan slowed her rental car, thinking that if she plunged into the ocean, it would be her own damn fault. She'd been acting recklessly when she'd taken a leave of absence from the Light Street Detective Agency. She was still acting recklessly. The new Bree Brennan, she thought with a mental shake of her head. When she'd joined the agency two years ago, she'd been Bonnie. Now she was Bree - a different person. More daring. More in charge of her life. At least in her own eyes. Only the farther she'd come along California Highway One, the more second thoughts she'd had. Her old persona whispered in her head that she should turn around and go home. But she simply couldn't do it. She'd be letting down a lot of people, including the new Bree Brennan. And her friend Helen London. When a shaft of lightning shattered the darkening sky, Bree responded with a quavery laugh. If she'd been the director of a horror movie, she couldn't have done a better job of setting the scene: the naive young woman driving through the storm toward a spooky old mansion. Except this was no movie. It was real life. Helen's distraught phone call from Macedonia echoed in her mind. "I'm so scared. I'm afraid Troy is dead. I haven't talked to him in two weeks. And his e-mails are really strange - like somebody else is writing them for him." She was talking about her older brother, Troy London, both of them named by an eccentric father with a passion for Greek literature. Bree had gotten to know Troy seven years earlier when she'd been visiting the Londons' summer place - their ranch in Montana. She'd been attracted to him, and she'd thought the attraction was mutual. Then she'd been called away abruptly to take care of problems at home. Once she was back in her own environment, she'd told herself a relationship with Troy wouldn't have worked anyway. He came from a world of wealth and privilege, so different from her own background. Still, she'd never let go of the memories of a virile, vibrant young man with dark hair, warm hazel eyes and a ready smile. Like his sister, he didn't need to work, but both siblings had wanted meaningful jobs. Helen was a Foreign Service Officer. Troy had specialized in taking failing companies, turning them around and selling them at a profit. He'd had exactly the life he wanted, until a year ago when his wife had been killed in a car accident and he had shut himself away at Ravencrest, his estate on the northern California coast. (Continues...)
Excerpted from Phantom Lover by Rebecca York Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I love this book. Perfect Gothic romance that hasn't been seen since Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles
Helen London asks her friend Bonnie ¿Bree¿ Brennan of the Light Street Detective Agency for help. Helen¿s brother Troy, a widower for about a year, has vanished except for his emails, but those seem so out of character for him. The sleuth agrees to learn what is going on....................... On the drive north of San Francisco to Troy¿s home Ravencrest, Helen thinks back to her attraction to the owner when they met seven years ago, but alas nothing came of it as she had to leave. At the estate she informs the housekeeper that she was just hired to teach Troy¿s daughter six years old Dinah. The Sterlings, who live in the mansion and act like the owners, question the newcomer and treat Bree as hired help. Once settled, it is the ghostly sounds of Troy that frighten the undercover sleuth, but courage comes from the waif Dinah who needs her and the haunting comments of the weird residents who claim the owner is a prisoner inside his walls. Though scared, Bree searches for the missing Troy not yet realizing the danger she faces....................... The latest 43 Light St. tale is an exciting modern day gothic romance with all the usual sub-genre elements that light up the book from the moment lightning strikes as Bree arrives at Ravencrest. The story line will hook fans fully appreciative of Bree¿s concerns for father and daughter as the eerie and the dangerous seem in control of the foreboding edifice. The stereotyped secondary cast fits quite nicely inside the gothic atmosphere that haunts the heroine and the reader. Rebecca Yorke is in top form as usual........................... Harriet Klausner