Ruby Hill

Ruby Hill

by Sarah Ballance

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From her earliest memories, Ashley Pearce has been drawn to Ruby Hill Lunatic Asylum, and she's not the only one. Decades after the abandoned hospital ended its institutional reign of torture and neglect, something lurks in the shadows. Since she's a paranormal investigator, it's Ashley's job to find out what.

Crime scene expert Corbin Malone doesn't believe in ghosts. A born skeptic, he has no interest in entertaining the hype surrounding the mysterious deaths at Ruby Hill, but he won't turn his back while more women die. He agrees to an overnight investigation, never expecting his first encounter would be with the woman he pushed away a year ago. But when he discovers Ashley is a target, he learns his greatest fear isn't living with his own demons, but losing her for good.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781622662258
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 09/30/2013
Series: Entangled Ever After
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 57
Sales rank: 471,750
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Sarah and her husband of what he calls "many long, long years" live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they're asleep. She never dreamed of becoming an author, but as a homeschooling mom, she often jokes she writes fiction because if she wants anyone to listen to her, she has to make them up. (As it turns out, her characters aren't much better than the kids). Though she adores romantic suspense, she writes in many genres.

Read an Excerpt

Ruby Hill

House of Horrors

By Sarah Ballance, Kerri-Leigh Grady

Entangled Publishing, LLC

Copyright © 2013 Sarah Ballance
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62266-225-8


Death had a flavor. Equal parts bitter and bland, the damnable taste was more sickening than the stickiness in Corbin Malone's throat. It soured his gut, leaving him with an unease he couldn't quite swallow, and the deeper they drove into the countryside — the closer the car brought him to Ruby Hill Lunatic Asylum — the more potent the flavor. Five years a cop, he'd neatly sidestepped the ugly aftertaste until things got personal.

Until the body belonged to his brother, Cash.

Nearly six months had passed since Cash Malone fought for his last breath inside the dismal, abandoned halls of Ruby Hill. Though his body now rested six feet under a distant patch of cemetery grass, Ruby Hill remained his tomb — a giant, crouching headstone marring acres of otherwise beautiful, rolling hills. And for Corbin, a visage of murder.

Death had a flavor: metallic and bitter.

A quick glance at his superior, Joe Ellison, made clear Corbin didn't have a choice. "You're a sonofabitch, you know that?"

Joe's attention shifted momentarily from the windshield, his expression tainted with bemusement. "Play nice, Malone. You'll scare the civilians."

Not just civilians, but ghost hunters. Crazies, as far as Corbin was concerned. People who boasted of hearing voices from thin air and seeing apparitions in the dark definitely belonged in an insane asylum, but he sure as hell didn't want to babysit them.

And why were the ghostbusters there to begin with? Granted, blaming a ghost made for a good headline — Ruby Hill Deaths Attributed to Phantom Killer — but since when did the department fuel media hysteria?

"We've got bodies stacking up," Corbin said. "Why the hell would you bring in ghost hunters to contaminate the crime scene?"

"People are dying, and there's no clear reason why. The public wants answers, and there's not enough money in the budget for the stuff we actually need, let alone to waste training our guys to hunt ghosts. Since there's a line of paranormal investigators willing to get in there for free, we'll let 'em. Problem solved. Besides —" Joe shot another look Corbin's way, longer this time. " — you need this."

A brush with acknowledgment. It was likely all Corbin would get. Emotions weren't allowed in this game. Feelings of guilt got people killed.

You did not kill your brother.

The well-practiced and seldom-heeded mantra didn't have time to infiltrate Corbin's shell. One last bend in the road, and Ruby Hill Asylum loomed. It had a way of doing that — looming — even washed in the fading sunlight. With a thick overgrowth of vines on the walls and an army of saplings standing at attention on the neglected lawn, nature had long marched to reclaim the facility. But despite the greenery, a sense of evil seethed. The waning sunlight seemed wary of bathing the storied institution. The few windows still glinting with intact glass reflected the sky's deepening orange, giving the impression of eyes peering through the brush, yet the grounds were notably absent of wildlife. Even the wind seemed to steer clear, leaving damp, stale air clinging heavily to the latent heat. With the deepening shadows the only sign of life, Corbin realized he didn't have to believe in ghosts for at least one portion of the asylum's reputation to ring true: Ruby Hill was vile.

Joe steered the unmarked patrol car onto the drive and stopped at the gate. He flashed his badge for the benefit of the rented security guard, then followed the broken asphalt to Ruby Hill's main entrance. A steady tap-tap-tap rattled the floorboard. Joe cut the engine, then stared pointedly at the source of the noise.

Corbin's right boot.

Damn. Corbin threw open the car door and took a deep, trying breath of the stifling air. The effort didn't work. Feeling no less anxious, he twisted in the seat and grounded the offending foot. The twitch moved to his calf. He set his jaw. "Where are the real cops?" he asked. "The old man at the gate won't cut it."

Joe opened his door. "He's not supposed to. Our guys are waiting to see who wants in."

Heat blasted away the last traces of conditioned air. God, but it was hot. Too hot for October. "Two murders in as many weeks and you think this guy is entering through the front gate?"

"Nah. But I don't mind if he thinks we think that." Joe climbed out of the car. His stance left Corbin with an unwelcome view of his almighty ass.

Corbin averted his eyes and ended up with a windshield full of Ruby Hill.

You did not kill your brother.

Joe was talking, the words muffled by the car's roof and thick air.

Corbin forced himself out of the vehicle. When the second foot hit the ground, the knot in his chest traveled to his stomach.

"... in one room. We've been over it for evidence, just in case, but we can't go over the whole asylum. Just keep them in and everyone else out, and everything should be fine."

Joe deserved some credit. The room he'd rented the ghostbusters for the night was on the wrong side of the enormous complex, not that they'd ever know the difference. The exact location of the crime scene hadn't been released to the media. Still ... "And if it isn't fine?"

Joe shrugged. "They signed waivers. Your job is to make sure they don't leave that room. It's nowhere near the crime scene area, but don't let that particular cat out of the bag. It's an interior room and the walls are concrete. It'll be secure. Any questions?"

"Yeah. Why are you humoring these morons?"

Joe sighed with a heaviness that suggested he'd heard the question one time too many. "They can collect evidence we can't. Maybe our ghost is in the mood for a confession. That's the official answer, anyway."

"What's the unofficial version?"

"They want to prove it's not a ghost. I don't believe in what they're doing, but they're in a unique position to put a damper on the hysteria. It's much more effective to let them discredit the ghost theory, however they think they can. People are more likely to listen to them say it isn't true."

Joe turned his back. Case closed. Only, it wasn't.

"Why am I here?" Corbin asked.

Without turning around, Joe replied, "You'll find out soon enough."

* * *

From Ruby Hill's front entrance, Ashley Pearce watched Corbin Malone step out of an unmarked car. The distance didn't hide the familiar stance of his body, nor did it hurt the view of the tee stretched decadently over his chest. Jet-black hair illuminated pale blue eyes, crystalline against the pallor he'd worn since his brother's death.

A chill broke through the oppressive heat, sweeping over Ashley's skin. She shivered. For as long as she could remember, she'd been drawn to Ruby Hill — to its dark past. In a hundred years of operation, tens of thousands of residents called the asylum home. Most never left alive.

Hundreds, dumped anonymously in unmarked graves, never left at all.

Despite the scars left on so many lives — and by extension, the community as a whole — Ruby Hill was an astonishingly beautiful piece of history. The building boasted the trademark Kirkbride design so closely associated with institutionalized care. Though long neglected, the complex could not shed the remnants of its past glory. Ashley wasn't blind to the horrors that took place within its walls, but she could not look at the building without seeing what it must have once been before abuse and abandonment took its toll.

Stately. Breathtaking. Desecrated.

The media, with its claims of a phantom killer, had turned it into a circus.

When the local PD's Joe Ellison asked if she'd bring her team to collect evidence of the haunting, she'd been stunned — police departments didn't typically make sanctioned agreements with paranormal investigators — but she'd agreed. She didn't want to demonize the asylum. She wanted to defend it. Ashley didn't care what the media reported. Whoever committed the murders inside Ruby Hill was no ghost.

That single point was probably the only one on which she and Corbin would agree.

He didn't believe in ghosts. And after Cash's death, he stopped believing in her. In fact, she was the only person Corbin blamed more than himself. Because when Corbin couldn't stop Cash, Ashley should have.

She shook her head, biting down a flare of anger until her teeth hurt. She didn't deserve his blame, but that didn't stop her from carrying it around for the past few months. A slew of profane sentiments, each laced with Corbin's name, grazed her lips, but she didn't release them into the damp air.

She couldn't.

Ruby Hill felt different this night. The air vibrated with a dark intensity, setting forth a chill untouched by the unseasonal heat. She could easily blame Corbin, but the feeling had been there from the start — long before he'd unfolded himself from the passenger seat and shifted her already unsteady axis.

Something wasn't right in this, her place of solace.

Behind her, the concrete walls whispered discord. On the weedy, derelict lawn, shadows grew long with the encroaching eve. The wrought iron gate marking the asylum entrance sent elongated threats, sharp fingers pointing away from the imposing batwing complex.

Lunatics. Ghosts. Murder.

The media grabbed the story like rabid dogs, shredding and tearing the meat of the so-called facts until nothing was left but gristle and hyped-up gore. Rumors took flight. Poltergeists, demons, a portal to hell, and all because torture had to leave a mark. Ruby Hill certainly had.

So had Corbin Malone.

From the drive, Corbin twisted his head her way. The moment his eyes met hers left a scar on her heart.

Either he hid his emotion well or he lacked any. Not a flicker of reaction crossed his face. He simply turned to watch the car retreat through the gate, a security guard stepping over to shut and lock the leggy ten-foot barrier as soon as the vehicle's rear bumper cleared.

Then, in a move so painstakingly slow it had to be deliberate, Corbin found her again. Blue eyes pierced her with such force she took a step backward. As she stumbled, the slowest of smiles crept across his face.

But he was not the threat.

She heard the asylum's whispers. This was personal.

She hugged herself tightly.

Yer gonna die.


That filthy bastard.

Corbin stared ahead, feet rooted to the ground and hackles raised. He'd signed up — albeit with venom-laden reluctance — to spend the night in an asylum. He'd agreed to a night with the purported ghosts of Ruby Hill. But this — this unholy clusterfuck that started and ended with Ashley Pearce — had not been on his radar.

Joe had done a fine job of leaving out that detail.

Corbin bared his teeth, and not out of giddiness. He'd screwed things up with Ashley by blaming then shutting her out when his brother died. His nagging conscience hadn't let him forget the gravity of that mistake, but in the midst of all of his thrashing from grief, turning to her hadn't been an option. It wasn't until she stopped calling that he realized how empty he was without her, and by then it was too late. She was gone, and he was left to deal with yet another loss.

And now irony had bitten him in the ass. The one point of contention he and Ashley ever shared was over the paranormal — not only did she believe in ghosts ... she claimed she communicated with them. They'd joked about it, though she maintained a short fuse on the topic, and by his estimate he'd taken an axe to the majority of said fuse when he shut her out.

Screw the murderous ghosts. The real monster inside Ruby Hill would be him.

He glanced toward the rented security guard, whose sole job was to remain visible at the gate. The real cops were tucked in all over the place, although two hundred acres made a hell of an area to cover. And for how long? The PD couldn't afford the manpower — especially not for a crime with hype existing primarily in lore. As far as Corbin was concerned, the throngs of thrill-seekers and ghost junkies pounding on the gates would keep anyone with a brain from sneaking inside to commit another crime, but expecting common sense was assuming a lot of a murderer.

He turned his attention to Ruby Hill's imposing stature. The center section rose at least four stories above the crumbling entry. A narrower structure, reminiscent of a bell tower, lorded higher still. With the vee shape extending away from him and the light failing, Corbin couldn't clearly see either end of the complex. From past experience, however, he knew each wing to extend several hundred feet from the center. Thus far, two bodies — both women — had been found in the east wing, which had once been reserved for female patients. Clearly, the Ruby Hill killer had done his homework.

Motion in the entry caught Corbin's eye. Ashley. He dug his hands in his pockets, wondering for the first time what she must think of him. Was she angry? If she held a grudge, spending the night in the dark with her wouldn't be the smartest thing he'd ever done. Of course, it couldn't compete with his dumbest, which had been letting her go.

Corbin approached the front steps, hesitating slightly for a final glance overhead. The dark clouds spun, the building appearing to waver in their shuffle.

Dizzied and unsure whether to blame the setting or his company, he picked his way up the crumbling concrete steps and joined Ashley inside the asylum. "I didn't know you'd be here."

It took her a few unbearable seconds to formulate a response. "I didn't expect you, either. Joe must have a real talent for — "

"Leaving out major details."

Her mouth quirked. Her smile was so pretty. It didn't belong in that concrete hell. "Oh?"

"You know I don't believe in this," he said needlessly. Maybe he just wanted to herd the elephant out of the room. Or maybe it was an easier topic than that of their relationship, which he knew he couldn't avoid for long.

Her brow lifted. "In what? Asylums?"

"This ghost bullshit."

She blew her bangs out of her eyes. "What do you know of the murders?"

His jaw clenched, spiking the dull ache at the base of his skull into all-too-familiar pain. So much for getting rid of that elephant. "Two bodies the last month. Late teens or early twenties. Same general body type, but nothing else stands out in terms of a pattern or a blatant attempt to avoid one. Both had significant others with alibis. No one knows why or how they were here, and neither one had a known fascination for the paranormal." He paused, meeting her eyes, hard as it was. "As for the COD, they've got nothing."

She lifted an eyebrow. "Nothing?"

Visions of the crime scene photos made an unwelcome reappearance in his mind's eye. Young women — beautiful young women. Death hadn't changed that. "In both cases, heart stopped. Sudden cardiac arrest. No known cause. No family history. No leads."

She nodded, unimpressed. But then again, she subscribed to the boogieman camp. "So a ghost did it."

He expected her to claim victory with that sentiment, but instead her words harbored bitter undertones. The shift threw him off balance. The whole damn place had that effect on him. The air felt as if it bred illness rather than oxygen — darkness gathering like rain clouds, too fat with their wares to find the sky.

He'd choke on the toxicity.

Is that what Cash had done?

Though the air boiled, inexplicable cold sluiced Corbin's spine. He glanced toward a window. Dusty and broken, it had a morbid effect on the sunshine attempting to filter through from outside, where the world lazed deep orange. The thought of darkness on the other side made him shudder. When he turned to shut the front door, he realized the darkness on the inside was far worse.

"They lifted a fingerprint," he said. "In the dust near one of the bodies. It doesn't match anyone. They're running it, but that can take days. Where's your team?" he asked.

"Setting up."

"I guess we should join them." Babysitting duty. The thought was almost as foul as the decaying air. He took a step toward the men's wing where Ashley's team waited.

Where Cash took his last breath.

The fact hit him like a wooden plank to the forehead. His knees locked. In the eerie stillness, he heard only his own ragged breath. The entrance to the wing stretched out before him, the first of the corridor's dozens of right angles shrouded in shadows. One. Two. Three ... Seven. He mentally ticked off the turns to the spot where, six months ago, he knelt in an inch-thick litter of decay and rat droppings, begging for his brother's life. The sudden ache in Corbin's head spread to his heart, then infected his limbs.

He froze. He shook.

A glint of light caught his eye, drawing his attention to something on the wall. Plaques. Such a terribly normal thing to find in such a horrid place, the display humanized the asylum. Those were real names — real people — and from the looks of them, staff. He scanned the list, much of which was illegible after decades of abandonment. A swipe over the otherwise undisturbed dust uncovered a few names. Winston Madison, Behavior Analyst. George Freeman, Commissioner of Lunacy. Harvey Osgood, Lobotomist. Near the top, one caught his eye.


Excerpted from Ruby Hill by Sarah Ballance, Kerri-Leigh Grady. Copyright © 2013 Sarah Ballance. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Ruby Hill 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too short and lacks substance
andreea-deea More than 1 year ago
I receive this book for a honest review in exchange.Like most of the books i`ve read by now I dint`t read the description of this book.But by the cover i`ve figured that is about ghosts.I like scary storys,but this book I dint`t like it at all.It`s hard to…I don’t know…to read a book and have great expectations about it.I dint`t say that it is so bad,but it is not good. Even that it is a short staory,the action it`s so push it.The actions are so short and you don`t understand much of that.This book needs more details,more action that have some meaning,to be bound.That make a book great.Tha idea of this book was super ok,but the content, essence was by far good.My sorry,this is my opinion,maybe,somebody else will love this book. And do not forgot about the end.When I need it more,to give more chances for this book,the end was in flames, fog.But it is a short book so you have to give it a chance.Maybe,like a sad,you will love it.
eternalised More than 1 year ago
Novellas are usually a hit or miss. Ruby Hill was a definite miss. It’s the first story I read from the Entangled Ever After line, and I’d kind of expected it to be better. The story is all over the place. Ashley Pearce has been drawn to Ruby Hill Asylum for as long as she can remember. It’s an abandoned institute, once home of cruel experiments, torture and doctors who prefered hurting their patients over helping them. She works in a ghost hunting show, and as a gifted medium, has let tons of cases and ghost hunts. She’s not prepared to meet Corbin Malone however. Corbin is a cop, a born skeptic, and he’s reluctant about letting ghost hunters on the scene, even though the rest of the force thinks it’s their only chance, given how many people have died in Ruby Hill Asylum over the last few years, including Corbin’s own brother. Corbin and Ashley used to date, and that brings forth more complications than either of them can handle on the most stressful night of their lives. From the plot, you can probably gather that this book set up to be a complicated, intriguing read, and that it’s almost impossible to cover so much subject matter in a novella. You’d be right. It doesn’t work. Too much is thrown in, too many subplots are never investigated, and the story goes nowhere. The characters are as one-dimensional as they can get. Ashley is just there. If we get any emotions from here, than they’re told, not shown. Corbin has a little more emotional reaction, but even he remains dull and boring. It’s never explained why the asylum is haunted, or why these ghosts suddenly have the ability to actually kill people. There’s no atmosphere because the story is rushed, which makes this book about as scary as watching a Disney movie. The romance is unbelievable, and it’s incredibly rushed as well. I felt no connection to the story or characters, which was double dissapointing. First, because the story had a lot of potential – insane asylum, murders, ghost hunters, what could possibly go wrong? – and because this sounded like it would be right up my alley. I love gothic horror, and from the description, that’s what it would be. It ended up being a dull and boring read, and it was way too rushed to be intriguing. If they’d made this into a full-length novel, it probably would’ve been a lot better. As it stands now, I wouldn’t recommend it.
BookReaderAnnie More than 1 year ago
I don't know where to start. I don't think the writing is bad, just that this author isn't very good at writing very short novellas. Which I feel is very had to do. If the author had written a long story I think it would have been much better. I did like the characters for the small amour of time we spent with them.  I was given this ARC for a honest review.
kherbrand More than 1 year ago
I was pulled into this story right away just for the fact that it was set at an asylum.  Just the word asylum evokes thoughts of despair, horror, torture, general creep factor.  Corbin was there to "babysit" some ghost chasers.  They thought that a ghost had been killing women at the asylum.  Skeptical Corbin doesn't believe that for a minute.  His night just keeps getting better when he discovers the paranormal investigator is his ex, Ashley.  When his brother died in the very same asylum months earlier, it drove a wedge between him and Ashley. During the next few hours he encounters the unexpected and at times questions his own eyes.  He discovers the victims all had ties to the asylum in some way, including his brother.  But Ashley also had ties to the asylum.  As it dawns on him that she may be the next victim, his skepticism starts to fade. This was a good little horror story, just right to start off October's readings.
MTSmith More than 1 year ago
***Received from Entangled Publishing for an honest review*** (This is a short story/novella. This review is not based on story length but story content as length has very little to do with how much I enjoy a book.) I'm all for a good ghost story, but I'm 100% sold on an awesome ghost story. This was that kind of story. The demonic/poltergeist aspect of this story is what sets this apart from other ghostly tales I've read. It's rare that I come across a piece of fiction that includes this facet of the spiritual world. I love that Ms. Ballance included this and did so in amazing, chilling detail. While I enjoyed every heart-stopping ghostly moment in the asylum, I fell in absolute love with Corbin and Ashley. Their different beliefs regarding ghosts/spirits and their existence had always been a part of their relationship, but it was the death of Corbin's brother and his own harsh words to Ashley that ended their relationship. It was heartwarming to read how they reconcile their relationship, how Corbin comes to terms with Ashley's beliefs, and how he in turn ends up believing. A terrifically written paranormal that I will, for sure, read again.
TinaR19 More than 1 year ago
If you are a fan of the ghost hunting shows on television, then you will enjoy reading this short romance story. The hospital has been abandoned for decades, but there is something that has always drawn Ashley Pearce to Ruby Hill. When the local police department asks her to bring in her ghost hunting team to prove that the Lunatic Asylum is not haunted, she readily agrees. She did not expect to find out that her ex-boyfriend was the crime scene expert who was going to oversee their night locked in the building.  Corbin Malone blamed Ashley for the death of his brother, but he has not stopped loving her. Deep down he knows it was not her fault that his brother went to Ruby Hill alone. He does not want to be in the place where is brother died, especially with her. He knows she’ll never forgive him for blaming her and walking away while they were both grieving. When he learns that Ashley is the next target in a series of murders, he realizes there are more things to be afraid of than his own demons.  I received an e-ARC of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of anything paranormal I only gave this book 4 stars because it took me a while to get into the story otherwise it is a great read. It has a little bit of everything, a love gone awry due to unforeseeable circumstances, ghost, crazies and lover's reunited. It's a great quick thrill read that is for sure :)
gigiluvsbooks More than 1 year ago
From her earliest memories, Ashley Pearce has been drawn to Ruby Hill Lunatic Asylum, and she's not the only one. Decades after the abandoned hospital ended its institutional reign of torture and neglect, something lurks in the shadows. Since she’s a paranormal investigator, it's Ashley's job to find out what. Crime scene expert Corbin Malone doesn't believe in ghosts. A born skeptic, he has no interest in entertaining the hype surrounding the mysterious deaths at Ruby Hill, but he won't turn his back while more women die. He agrees to an overnight investigation, never expecting his first encounter would be with the woman he pushed away a year ago. But when he discovers Ashley is a target, he learns his greatest fear isn't living with his own demons, but losing her for good. Review: This was a quick read with two of my favorite things, scary stories and romance. I enjoyed this story one day on my lunch hour. For me I think it is hard to convey a story in so few words, but the author did a good job of setting the feel of the story. I liked the back story and anything set in an abandoned asylum automatically gets me on edge. I liked the two main characters and would have liked to get to know them better...again short story you cannot have everything you want. Not American Horror Story, but if you want a quick shot to get your blood pumping; then take a break and enjoy this story! 3.5 stars
MyBookAddictionandMore More than 1 year ago
Ruby Hill is an asylum that has recently been the site of “mysterious deaths”. Ashley and Corbin appear to have distant ties to the asylum and more recent romantic ties to each other. Something happened to end their relationship. Will they have a chance to re-build it or will Ruby Hill claim another victim? This is a novella (approximately 57 pages), so the characters and back story aren’t as fleshed out as they would be in a novel. I thought Ms. Ballance did a great job at letting us see the relationship between Ashley and Corbin and in explaining Ruby Hill. There were some scenes, well crafted, that created some unnerving visuals, but having said that, I didn’t find it to be too scary – just a really good ‘ghostly’ story! For this reader, there was the right blend of suspense, romance, and supernatural spookiness. I liked it and would recommend it; makes a nice addition to the Halloween list of favorites for me. Rating: 4.5 Heat Rating: None Reviewed by: Karen C Courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
Mennina1 More than 1 year ago
I read this short story about Ruby Hill. There is a short back ground in the beginning of the book and then you jump right into the story. The main characters,Ashley and Corbin, have a romantic history but due to Corbins' brother dying they were no longer speaking. There is short romance both characters, but just not a lot of passion. As for the ghosts and fear factor of the book it was excellent. The descriptions of the asylum were great and definitely parts of the books made me look over my shoulder.
beckymmoe More than 1 year ago
Crime scene investigator and skeptic Corbin Mallone resents the fact that his boss has tricked him into spending the night babysitting a group of paranormal investigators at Ruby Hill asylum, the scene of his own brother's death six months earlier. Real murders have been committed there of late, and in his opinion the ghost hunters are only going to pollute the crime scene. Then he finds out that his ex-girlfriend is leading the paranormal team, and his day gets infinitely worse. Ruby Hill is in Ashley Pearce's blood. Her grandmother served as a nurse there, and even died of a heart attack on the premises. Her great-grandfather was its founder and first head administrator. She's not afraid of the old asylum's ghosts, but its human history has long been a source of unease. Though she and Corbin were polar opposites on the paranormal front, it had never mattered where their relationship was concerned. Their connection had been deep and lasting--at least it hsd been, up until Corbin's brother's untimely death within its walls. Now they're both back at the place where their relationship ended. And they're definitely not alone.... Ruby Hill by Sarah Ballance was deliciously creepy. I loved every spooky minute of it, and was darn glad to be reading it during the glaring light of day. I might, however, re-read it some night in the not-so distant future, in honor of the season. It's the perfect length for a late night impulse read. The romance was nicely done here. Somehow, even though it was less than sixty pages long, Ruby Hill felt like a complete story in a way that many novellas fail to achieve. Just enough of Ashley and Corbin's past relationship is revealed to inform the reader without it turning into an info dump. Their return to each other is handled well, and the story has just the right amount of steam in it. All in all, this was a satisfying read. I'll definitely be looking for more from this author. B+ rating. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
hcollins1 More than 1 year ago
I loved this Novella! It had all the spook factors needed to keep me on the edge of my seat. The characters were amazing and fit very well together. Definitely recommend reading this one, especially with Halloween being right around the corner. I received an ARC from the publisher for an honest review.  
These-Pretty-Words More than 1 year ago
Creeptastic! This book was creepy with a capital C. You could pretty much tell from the start that it would be - not every book opens with something like "Death had a flavor." Yep, that right there set the tone for the rest of the book. Corbin, jaded cop and cranky non-believer, is forced to work with his paranormal researcher ex-girlfriend Ashley as they spend the night in the abandoned institution where people seem to end up dead. A lot. Not necessarily the best place to try to repair a broken relationship, but I'm not complaining. Usually I like to talk characters and plot in my reviews - and Ruby Hill has no issues on either front - but to truly understand what was so absolutely creeptastic about this story, you have to read the descriptions of the building itself. Because that is where the true fear is built. **Quote** One last bend in the road, and Ruby Hill Asylum loomed. It had a way of doing that - looming - even washed in the fading sunlight. With a thick overgrowth of vines on the walls and an army of saplings standing at attention on the neglected lawn, nature had long marched to reclaim the facility. But despite the greenery, a sense of evil seethed. Not creepy enough? How about this. **Quote** Though the air boiled, inexplicable cold sluiced Corbin's spine. He glanced toward a window. Dusty and broken, it had a morbid effect on the sunshine attempting to filter through from outside where the world blazed deep orange. When he turned to shut the front door, he realized the darkness on the inside was far worse. Seriously, the building almost seemed alive and aggressive. I gave this book four stars. Perfectly scary and mysterious with a little second-chance romance thrown in for good measure. I loved it.
AMONT More than 1 year ago
The Novella, Ruby Hill by Sarah Ballance was a quick eerie read that’s just in time for Halloween. Police officers and paranormal investigators were sent to investigate the mysterious deaths of several victims found at the Ruby Hill Lunatic Asylum. Corbin is one of the police officers assigned to the team. The backstory was well-developed and it set the stage for what Corbin would have to face as he spent the night at Ruby Hill. As he faced the ghosts/demons from his past, the story was hair-raising. I never quite knew what event or supernatural entity to expect next as Corbin and Ashley rounded each bend in the asylum’s hallway, the same hallway in which his brother died. Although some scenes were perplexing, the overall story was spellbinding. I recommend Ruby Hill for adults who like paranormal romance novels that are both unnerving and mysterious. Rating 4/5 I received an E-ARC of Ruby Hill from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, thank you.
cattouch More than 1 year ago
A ghost story, a haunted hospital and a tragic death that breaks up a couple....and learning to believe in ghosts and each other.. Interesting story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this story it just wasn't what i was expecting. I had expected more romance an though there was some it took a back seat to the ghost story, which i did enjoy the mystery of it but i got a bit confused toward the end. If spooky ghost storied are your thing then you will probably love this book.
ReadingOverTV More than 1 year ago
Ruby Hill by Sarah Ballance Ruby Hill. "In a hundred years of operation, tens of thousands of residents called the asylum home. Most never left alive. Hundreds, dumped anonymously in unmarked graves never left at all." Corbin Malone is on assignment as a cop at Ruby Hill because there have been two recent murders in the long closed building. The press is calling it ghosts. "The media grabbed the story like rabid dogs, shredding and tearing the meat of the so-called facts until nothing was left but gristle and hyped-up gore." Ashely Pearce is part of an assigned paranormal team set up to debunk the myth of a ghost murdering people.  Corbin and Ashley had a history together that fell apart when his brother died. Now they have to work together to solve the mystery in the asylum. Terrifying. Intense. Brilliant descriptive writing as quoted above. This short story grabbed me and had me turning on extra lights and turning on some music just for company. I hope I don't have nightmares tonight!  I received a copy of this novella from the publisher.
MCail More than 1 year ago
Corbin Malone is a cop assigned to babysit a crime scene and a bunch of ghost hunters, at an abandon insane asylum, Ruby Hill, which also happens to be the place his brother had died. He doesn’t believe in ghosts and thinks the whole thing is ridiculous. But the public has attributed the mysterious deaths to a “phantom killer”, so they brought in the ghost hunters to prove there is no such things as ghosts. Ashley Pearce is a ghost hunter and Corbin’s ex. She has her own reasons for being at Ruby Hill, but Corbin isn’t happy to see her. Together they not only discover Ghost exist, but they can be deadly.
Heidiliz72 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this short story, but like others who reviewed, I felt that it should have been a novel to include the back story of the two main characters. I didn't quite get their past relationship. However, it was nice and spooky, just like I enjoy my reads. The writing was top notch and I liked the characters...if it was a novel, I'd probably give it 5 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CharleneCF More than 1 year ago
I did not enjoy this novel.  Even though it was a Halloween read, I found it very frightening.
KYBookmama More than 1 year ago
This is a great read for Halloween but don't read it at night before you go to bed! I found it scary but a great Sarah Ballance read! I wish there was a bit more detail on the characters past but all in all a good read.
sjziegler More than 1 year ago
booksbysteph says "Could Not Connect with the Scary" "Ruby Hill Deaths Attributed to Phantom Killer" Unexplained deaths "inside the dismal, abandoned halls" of the Ruby Hill Lunatic Asylum have the police baffled and the paranormal investigators flocking. The public wants answers. The police department decided to let a paranormal investigating team into the asylum to "discredit the ghost theory... People are more likely to listen to them say it isn't true." Police officer Corbin Malone is assigned to watch over the team the department asked to investigate. What no one told him is the leader of the team is his ex-girlfriend, Ashley Pearce. Corbin blames Ashley for his brother's death just six months earlier. Unlike his brother, Corbin does not believe in ghosts.  In the last two weeks, two women have died inside the closed down asylum. Both died from sudden cardiac arrest. No one knows why the women were there or what caused the sudden heart attacks. The police have no evidence and no leads. Maybe the paranormal investigating team can find something. I GIVE THIS BOOK: 3 Stars This novella is all about connections, but I did not feel a connection to the story. While the plot of the story is very simple, the writing was as confusing as the descriptions of the maze of hallways in the asylum. As opposed to a full story, I felt like I was thrown into the middle of the story. I think that if this book was turned into a novel and more time was spent on the content, this could have been a very frightening read. Until next time, live life one page at a time!
grandmareads102 More than 1 year ago
Ruby Hill Lunatic Asylum stands abandoned, desolate and deadly. The inmates lived in terrible conditions and most died alone and in pain. Now there is a new terror at Ruby Hill. Corbin Malone doesn't want to go there. This is where his brother was killed. Ashley Pearce, his former lover, is here with her ghost hunters to see if a paranormal entity is the cause. Corbin is a non-believer but he is at the asylum to provide security during this investigation. Will a night at Ruby Hill change his mind? Sarah Balance has written a very scary novel which is perfect for this spooky season. The characters are smart, intelligent people who have known pain and loss but won't give up until they know the truth. Sarah Balance is a very talented author who scared me with this suspenseful novella. I enjoyed Ruby Hill but it's not a place I want to visit.