Moragh's Ghost Book 2
by Maggie Tideswell
Genre: Paranormal Romance
in love with one man, yet she planned to marry another.
Nicole - Joshua replaced her when he married a stranger. Over her dead body would he get away with her inheritance as well. He was going to have to marry her before the month was out, as Daddy stipulated in his last Will & Testament - his marriage to Holly wasn't real anyway.
He never tried to hide his feeling for Nicole, but this was
ridiculous. But he was a patient man - he'd hang around to see how
her plans panned out, and pick up the pieces when she spectacularly
failed. She was carrying his child, after all.
Nicole's ship had sailed - there was no way he's put Holly, his brand
new wife of barely a week aside to marry Nicole. Her father knew what
he was doing.
No one seemed to understand Nicole's priorities. She had to reclaim what should have been hers before she could be with Ned. He expected her to be independently rich.
If only the ghost of her mother would give her peace to concentrate on planning the wedding of the year for her and Joshua. She only had a month.
Daddy never said anything about staying married to Joshua.
**Only .99 cents!!**
Joshua stared after Nicole as she flounced from the study, his jaw slack until he snapped his mouth shut. He felt like smashing something, and before the impulse got the better of him, he shoved his hands into his pockets.
Did she know how exasperating she was?
Since Friday, when he’d called her with the devastating news of her parents’ death, she’d done nothing but throw her weight around. It had been one demand after the other. She’d even—and he’d allowed her to push him into it because he’d felt sorry for her—demanded the funeral take place first thing this morning, and the reading of the will directly afterward. SAFAS had to move a pre-scheduled funeral to a later time slot to accommodate the Joneses.
Now that her parents had been interred and the testament read, he didn’t want Nicole at Fairley, but his integrity kept him from outright asking her to leave. Where would she go, anyway? She couldn’t go to Willowgrove—her mother had died there two days ago. The only other option was her apartment in Cape Town, and with her broken wrist coupled with her emotional condition, he didn’t want to insist she drove herself all that way.
He was going to have to grit his teeth and ride it out, all the while protecting his wife from her tantrums. She wouldn’t stay forever.
Nicole strode onto the wide veranda, staring out at the rain, her hand on the railing. When goosebumps raised the small hairs all over her body, she gnashed her teeth.
Daddy wanted her to work for her inheritance, to help her appreciate what she had when she finally had it.
She hadn’t been home since her parents’ death. Moragh might still be hanging about, waiting for her, but she’d be danged if she allowed a ghost to continue souring her life.
Moragh had been Daddy’s problem, not hers. They could have it out in the afterlife, where their dispute wouldn’t have any effect on the living. But Willowgrove was the home Nicole had grown up in, and Moragh wasn’t going to keep her from it.
Becoming aware of the people behind her, she straightened her back before she turned around. The first person her eyes fell on, was the bane of her life—Holly, Joshua’s brand new wife of one week, in one of the Adirondack chairs.
Sashaying to the woman until she stood directly in front of her, she allowed a smile to spread her generous mouth. “Ah, there you are.” Only then did she glance around at the other people on the veranda, the smile not quite reaching her eyes. She took a closer look at Holly. “You look horrible. Is marriage not agreeing with you?”
A woman Nicole had never seen before put her cup on the table. “Your father nearly killed her.”
“I’d be careful what slander I spread if I were you.” She glared at the stranger, daring her to contradict her. “Who are you, anyway?”
The woman’s, “I need to talk to you, Nicole,” deflated her sails somewhat.
“Why do you think I’d be interested in anything you have to say? Answer my question. Who are you?”
But it was Holly who said, “This is Heather, my mother.”
“I don’t remember seeing you at Fairley a week ago at the ‘wedding reception’. I saw these ladies”—she pointed at Susan, Nina and Blair—“but not you. Why is that, Holly? Why didn’t you invite your mother to your wedding? Is it perhaps because your marriage is fake?” She pulled her lips between her teeth as if to stop herself laughing.
“The wedding was real,” Susan said firmly. “Heather wasn’t there, because…”
“We didn’t tell her Holly was getting married,” Nina finished for her.
Nicole shook her head. “Shouldn’t the bride tell her mother herself? Oh, hell, forget it! You’re weird, the lot of you. I don’t care who told whom what, or not, but it confirms what I’ve suspected all along—Joshua isn’t really married to you!”
She glared triumphantly at Holly. “Your phony marriage is over. You see, Daddy’s last wish was for me and Joshua to marry, and quickly, within a month from today. In light of that, I expect you, your children, and all these people hanging around with you to be gone by the time I return from Willowgrove. Do I make myself clear? I want you all gone!”
“Nicole, you mustn’t go to Willowgrove!” Heather shot to her feet, reaching out to take Nicole’s arm.
She snatched it away. “Oh, mustn’t I?” she huffed a laugh. “And who is going to stop me?”
Without waiting for Heather’s reply, Nicole spun around and sauntered the length of the veranda. Fairley was a Cape Dutch style house with a wide veranda wrapping around two sides of it. Pretending she didn’t have a care in the world didn’t make her immune to the eyes stabbing her back, and it wasn’t only Holly’s gaze she felt.
At the corner where the veranda turned to run all the way to the kitchen door, she paused to look back the way she’d come, just so she could enjoy the destruction she’d left behind. Expecting to see the thorn in her side with both hands clasped to her mouth and tears pouring down her face, she could have stamped her foot when what she saw instead, was Joshua folding Holly into his arms. Holly’s cronies surrounded them, arms around each other, forming a protective wall around the woman.
Nicole’s smile of satisfaction died a sudden death.
Damn, damn, damn!
It should have been her in Joshua’s arms!
They were bespoke, as per Daddy’s command in his last will and testament, and before that, a four-year engagement. That was nothing to sneeze at. That woman was interfering.
A shiver raised goosebumps on her arms, which she ignored.
Holly’s time was up. It wouldn’t be long now before she was the one folded against Joshua’s broad, firm chest. She could be magnanimous and allow him to say his farewells. But the moment she got back from Willowgrove, it was game over.
“Nicole?” The word whispered on her skin. She glanced about, but there was no one there. “Nicole!” The second time it was more insistent.
“Martha?” The Willowgrove housekeeper, who had disappeared on the same day her parents had died? “Martha, where have you been?”
“I need to talk to you, Nicole. It is important that you listen to me.”
“Why should I listen to you? You’re a servant. Leave me alone and get back to work!”
Moragh's Ghost Book 1
read! Maggie Tideswell's book is impossible to put down. This writer
is skilled in evoking deep emotions in the readerA pleasure to read."
- Amazon Reviewer
A marriage of convenience - no strings attached - suited both Holly and Joshua just fine; a virgin marriage, so that they could both walk away… But they made a crucial mistake: they didn't take chemistry into account.
Seriously? They actually advertised for a husband for her without telling her?
She was going to have to kill them, stone dead.
But having a ‘husband’ behind her would give her an edge she didn’t have now. Donald, her ex, and his wife would have to revise their strategy of keeping her children away from her. That was an advantage worth taking a risk for. But what kind of man was likely to respond to a tiny ad in the newspaper no one reads anymore?
Nicole had to marry him now or let him go. He was done waiting, but he did not know what else he could do to persuade her to his way of thinking. Until he saw the little ad in the paper. A plan fell into his head as if he'd snapped his fingers. This woman who audaciously advertised herself as available would do perfectly. Married to another woman would make him irresistibly attractive to Nicole – as was the case with everything she wanted and couldn’t have.
From the moment Holly accepted Joshua’s offer of marriage, strange things started happening to her, and the strangeness followed her to her new (temporary) home. She was going to have to unravel a decades-old mystery before anything else.
A ghost, a wronged fiancée, and trouble with everyone around them. Will Holly and Joshua get what they’ve set out to achieve?
**Only .99 cents!!**
Windows rattled in the wind, threatening the glass in its frames. Smoke billowed down the chimney, filling the room, tendrils of which swirled around the lovers, heating and cooling them at the same time.
Then, silence. That was when Holly heard the owls again.
She imagined she heard their wings beating the air, but it was probably her blood slowing in her veins.
Reality hit unmercifully. She covered her face with her hands. What had she done? This wasn’t supposed to have been a real marriage. How weak, needy, immoral—or all of the above—was she? She had only met the man a few hours ago.
Joshua raised himself onto his elbows propped on either side of her head and glanced about the room. “Was it me, or did the earth move for you, too?” When he kissed her, she felt his grin. “The owls approve. This can only predict good fortune for our plans.” He rolled to his feet, swinging her up into his arms as he went. The door of the morning room crashed against the wall when he kicked open.
The passage was dark, the only light coming from a small window at the far end and from the open door behind them. The house creaked and sighed around them.
Every house has its own sounds.
Holly snuggled into Joshua’s shoulder, rubbing her nose against the hot skin of his throat. There was nothing to be scared of, yet she jerked in his arms when he kicked another door open and it rebounded against the wall.
He grinned down at her. “Skittish, aren’t you?” he said, depositing her in the middle of the huge four-poster bed.
He didn’t understand, and she wasn’t about to enlighten him. What wouldn’t he think if she were to tell him a ghost was following her around, scaring the daylights out of her?
The fire in the hearth cast long licks on the walls. When he met her eyes, she lifted her arms to him in welcome, her earlier remorse a thing of the past. She couldn’t wait to be possessed again, this time to the chorus of the nocturnal hunters she could hear outside the window. She wouldn’t fear them. If Joshua said their presence was a good omen, who was she to argue?
Drifting back down to earth with the pleasant weight of her new husband pressing her into the mattress, there was a flutter of wings in the absolute silence before an owl landed on the headboard. Its claws scratched the finish from the wood.
Holly flapped her hands, trying to shoo the creature into the air, but only when Joshua rolled off her, did it take flight. She watched him sit up on the edge of the bed to follow the owl’s progress around the room. When it found the window and the night outside, he settled onto his pillows and pulled her head to his shoulder, lighting a cigarette.
Through the fog of sleep, she heard him say, “Wasn’t that something? They’ve never made their way inside before. It seems to be a time for firsts.”
Holly’s eyes fluttered. She’d take his word for it; she was far too sated to worry about birds. About to succumb to slumber, he said from somewhere above her head, “I presume you are on the pill?”
His voice was low in the still of the night, but her eyes flew open, and her head came off his shoulder quicker than he could have said ‘gotcha’.
Sitting on her ankles in the middle of the bed, she clasped both hands to her mouth. She hadn’t worried about birth control for so long, it had completely slipped her mind.
What if she got pregnant?
They had done it twice without protection.
This could turn into a complication that would most surely foil his plans, although it would help her own cause tremendously.
Joshua had been stubbing his cigarette out, but when he turned back and saw her face, he, too, shot up from the pillows. “You’re not on the pill,” he stated as he swung his legs from the bed. With a vicious curse that had her ears burning, he pulled a pair of jeans and a shirt from the closet, and slammed the bedroom door behind his naked self.
Tears welled in her eyes and spilled over unchecked. Okay, this was nothing new. She knew he wanted children, but the kiddies had to be born from Nicole to satisfy Joshua’s sensibilities. In so many words, he had told her he’d amuse himself with her while they were married, but it would be no more than part of the act.
How easily she had fallen for him?
This was not what she had planned to do.
Would he ever believe she hadn’t meant to trap him?
Tideswell, internationally acclaimed bestselling South African
author, has a passion for romance. All over the world people are
falling in love, making it love, not money, that makes the world go
Ghosts just can't seem to leave her alone and she combines things that can't be explained, sweaty bodies and rumpled beds in a way that will make your toes curl and your hair stand on end.
Maggie just can't do without perfume, coffee and the internet. She is nearly as passionate about food as she is about creating alpha heroes every woman will fall in love with, just as she does, every time.
The strangest thing is that cats have never played any kind of role in her stories, as she is owned by three of them.
That might change soon.