Roxanne’s Ghost Duology is a complex ghost story of identical twin sisters’ love for the same man.
Book 1 – Find My Love
A nanny came for an interview. The day was Friday the 13th.
Dr. Ben Arnold is still grieving the death of his wife, but needs someone care for his four-year- old autistic daughter. The last thing he wants is an insanely strong physical reaction to the nanny candidate. When she fell on top of him, no one could have foreseen the furor about to erupt over Weltevreden – no one except Ethel, Ben’s ancient housekeeper. Ben refuses to even consider Jessica James for the position.
Jess is determined to demonstrate to the very handsome yet very rude widower she is the perfect choice, no matter how much he scowls. She is the unseasonal storm to disrupt Ben’s life, and may be the balm he needs.
While strange happenings all around them defy common sense, Jess’ glimpses of a life long past add to the surreal quality of Ben’s estate. Unknown to her, it is the first anniversary of Roxanne, Ben’s wife’s death. The event brings his three oddball sisters-in-law, including Roxanne’s identical twin, to his home. They claim Roxanne isn’t dead after all, and intended to find her and bring her home. The twin, Millicent, in particular, isn’t happy with Jess being at Weltevreden…
Trouble is immanent, but only as far as Ethel allow…
Question is, if she isn’t dead, where is Roxanne?
Relalted Article : Meet My Main Man https://www.ghostly.co.za/meet-my-main-man/
A word of warning – Find My Love ends on a massive cliffhanger. Book 2 in the Roxanne’s Ghost duology, Worthy To Love holds all the answers to the questions in book 1. Please do not read book 2 first, though!
Book 2 – Worthy To Love
She found her!
Jess saw Roxanne in one of her visions. Ben was wrong and the odd-ball sisters-in-law, believe it or not, were right—Roxanne wasn’t dead!
Butwhere Jess saw her she could never come home from. She was as good as dead to Ben, because Roxanne couldn’t be his wife again, ever. If only Jess could find a way to make him understand, but he wouldn’t even listen to her.
Amber, Ben’s 4 year old autistic daughter was in trouble. Her development regressed drastically and Jess hoped it wouldn’t be permanent. Trying to take the child away from the influence of her aunts, she found that she couldn’t leave the house. She, and Amber, were trapped at Weltevreden.
Was this what Ethel, the old housekeeper, meant on the day Jess arrived when she told her Jess would never leave again? The sisters wanted to do her in, but she was trapped and at their mercy?
Ethel decided that she was living her final day, and that there was one more thing she had to do. Can a person do that? Can you decide when it was time to die? And what was the last thing she had to do? And after she was gone…
Would the sisters’ plan for Ben and Amber finally be revealed?
A Little Excerpt – Roxanne’s Ghost book 1 – Find My Love
Does anyone live here?
The house looked deserted, kind of spooky. Jess couldn’t see any other homes nearby. Sally had not been kidding—this was a rather isolated place.
Dilapidated outbuildings behind the sprawling house looked as unused as the house itself. Some sort of creeper covered most of the buildings but not the house—it looked far too fragile to bear the added weight.
There were what looked like turrets on each end of the house, and a domed one in between. That might be a skylight. Jess worried her bottom lip. How old was this place?
Lightning played over the majestic mountains behind the house, silhouetted against the darkening sky, but down here in the valley, the late sun cast long shadows over an overgrown garden.
If she believed in it, this all fit so well with Friday the thirteenth, because this was creepy. What had she been thinking? She should have postponed the interview until Monday. One weekend surely wouldn’t have made that much of a difference.
Jess studied the map on her tablet, which she held propped up against the steering wheel. This could be the right place, but she’d thought that about both the previous two places, and neither had turned out to be Weltevreden. Neither had been as eerie as this place, either.
She hoped this wasn’t it. Tapping her finger against the edge of the tablet, she studied the house again. This whole thing smacked of a Friday the thirteenth Sally-prank.
Sally, her bestie since high school, ran a very successful employment agency. The professional image notwithstanding, she still loved pranks of any kind—she’d never outgrow them.
Her eyes had lit up that morning when Jess sat in front of her desk, mugs of coffee steaming on the polished wood between them. The platter of doughnuts had been for Jess’ benefit. Sally and her perpetual dieting.
“Something different,” Sally mused, tapping her pen against her front teeth, then pressed a button on her laptop, and reached for the sheet of paper the printer spewed out. “This might be just the thing. It came in a few minutes ago.” She’d tossed her platinum curls over her shoulder, grinning at Jess.
Another thing Sally would never outgrow, her Barbie-doll looks.
“It has my name on it, then.” Jess leaned her forearms on Sally’s desk. “Tell me, tell me, tell me.” She grinned back, barely able to contain her excitement. “Does it involve a man?”
Neither Sally nor Jess had found their Mr. Full Potential yet, although both had been ready for wedded bliss, the kids and the house in the suburbs thing, a long time ago.
“As a matter of fact it does, but he doesn’t seem to be in the market. It says here that a nanny is required for a four-year-old autistic girl. Dr. Arnold specifically requested that only older women be put forward for the position.”
“How old-fashioned. Where is this job?”
“In the Wellington area.” Sally frowned at the sheet of paper in front of her.
“There you go. He won’t find anyone qualified to work that far from Cape Town. It is his child, I presume?”
“It is, but do you seriously want to give this a go?” Sally looked worried as only she could. It went with the Barbie look.
“I’m intrigued. What kind of doctor is he?”
“A veterinary surgeon. And a widower, it says here. That’s all the information I have for you, I’m afraid.” Sally sat back in her chair. “I shouldn’t disregard so specific an instruction, Jess, but just this once, I’ll make an exception. It’s up to you to change his mind for him. It’ll be in his own best interest in the end.” She passed an information sheet across the desk. “I’ll tell Dr. Arnold to expect you at four. I’d pack an overnight bag if I were you. Call me, okay?”
Now, sitting in front of the house that might or might not belong to Dr. Ben Arnold, Jess didn’t feel all that confident anymore. And it didn’t really sound like a prank, unless Sally had kept some information to herself.
There was only one way to find out, and that was to knock on the door and ask.
If there was anyone in the house to ask.
Switching the engine off, she consulted the rearview mirror to apply some color to her lips and pat her shoulder-length bob into place. She took a moment to admire the rich, auburn color in the late afternoon sunshine and sighed.
I don’t know about this. It was a long way from Cape Town. What did people do around here for fun?
Trying her best to ignore the goosebumps on her forearms, she opened the car door and stepped out. Her heels sank into the gravel, her shadow stretching all the way back to the gate.
Only when she turned to the house did she see the man sitting on the top step in the shadows, his shoulder against the railing, one knee pulled up with his arm resting on top of it. He wasn’t wearing a shirt, and it looked as if his feet were bare, too.
Was he there a moment ago? Why didn’t I see him?
Smoothing her palms down her red pencil skirt, she started toward the house and the man on the steps, leaving the car door open for a quick escape, should she need it. If he wasn’t Dr. Arnold, maybe he could give her directions.
Taking a deep breath, Jess reminded herself that she wasn’t superstitious about this Friday the thirteenth nonsense. People liked to scare themselves with the silliest things. What was supposed to happen on this day? It was a day like any other.
That certainly looked like a real man on the steps. He wasn’t going to bite her. Today being a Friday and the thirteenth meant nothing, but now she’d thought of it, the idea would stick with her like the taste of garlic.
She’d gone no more than a few steps when she heard something other than the crunch of her shoes on the gravel. It sounded suspiciously like a dog whining.
She slowly turned her head, her fingers curling into the fabric of her skirt. It couldn’t be a dog. She hadn’t seen any dogs when she drove through the gate.
I don’t do dogs!
Then she saw them. Her breath hitched in her throat.
They were right next to her car, beside the door she’d deliberately left open, a whole pack of them. Their lips curled away from their teeth, their tongues lolling out the sides of their mouths, dripping saliva onto the gravel. Yellowish eyes watched every move she made.
Where did they come from?
They cut her off from the safety of the Fiesta!
Now she had only one way to go—into that house. Why hadn’t that man called them off?
Why isn’t he helping me?
Slowly, making no sudden moves, she took another step toward the porch. The dogs followed. Her heart hammered against her ribs. Another couple of quick steps forward. The dogs did the same.
That was more than her nerves could handle. She broke into a trot. The dogs followed. Her scream shattered the still of the afternoon.
Missing the first step, she stumbled, recovered her balance, and took the rest of the stairs two at a time. The dogs were on her heels, whining and yelping, their breaths hot on the backs of her legs.
She’d nearly made it to the top when a sharp whistle rent the air.
Before she had a chance to look for the source, she careened into the man she’d all but forgotten. Her momentum crashed them both to the floorboards, with her landing on top.
The dogs were everywhere, licking her and whining, and all she could do was to hide her face in the man’s neck. Another whistle—right in her ear—made her cringe, but through her fingers she saw only empty space. The dogs were gone.
When the man lifted his head off the floorboards, his hands at her waist as if he was about to lift her off him, she pressed her palms flat against his chest to lift herself for a look at him.
He was clearly not amused.
At a glance she took him in. Stubble covered the bottom part of his face, his lips compressed into a tight line; a muscle jumped in his cheek. She gasped when she caught him dragging his eyes out of her gaping blouse to meet her stare.
She pushed herself upright. That those eyes were the greenest she’d ever seen, didn’t matter, his ogling her did.
That was when she noticed how much leg was exposed by her skirt bunched around her hips. She quickly scrambled to her feet, pushing her clothes back down her legs as she straightened.
“Sorry,” she muttered, her face on fire. She couldn’t bring herself to look at him, but from the corner of her eye, she saw the stranger slowly unfold himself from the floor. Up and up he went, until she felt him peering down at her. Even in her heels, the top of her head barely reached his nose.
Peripherally, she saw his fists move to his hips, and flashed a glance up at his face. He was glaring hard at her. Tucking her hair behind her ears, she lifted her chin and stared back.
Despite her bravado, she was intimidated, and she had no idea if she had reason to be. She didn’t have a clue who he was. For all she knew, he was a vagrant taking advantage of an abandoned house.
Quickly casting her eyes over him, hoping he wouldn’t notice, she mentally clicked her tongue. A vagrant, looking like that? This man looked too strong, too well-fed, and clean, to be homeless. He smelled good too, of soap and sunshine.
Trying her best to be discreet in her study of him, she couldn’t help noticing how the wide shoulders tapered to a flat stomach and slim hips. But when her eyes reached the well-washed denim cutoffs, she had reason to suck her breath in sharply and whip her eyes away. It wasn’t that she was a prude or anything, but the button on the shorts was undone and the zipper halfway down.
And he had a hard-on!
Jess swallowed with difficulty, trying to look anywhere but at him. Eventually, her eyes settled on the garden, her safest bet until she managed to find out where the hell she was.
Mentally shaking herself, she decided he had to be the gardener or something around here. He’d be lucky if she didn’t report his inappropriate reaction to her to his boss. If only she could locate Dr. Arnold.
If he was the gardener, he wasn’t very good at it, judging by the state of the place. The flowerbeds were overgrown with weeds, and grass seeds reached for the sky. With a bit of care, it could be a rather pleasant garden.
Her attention whipped back to the man when he spoke. “What’s wrong with you, woman? Those are lap dogs.” His voice was deep, the timbre vibrating on her skin. “They thought you were playing with them.”
Opening her mouth to inform him his apology would not be accepted, she snapped it shut when she realized he wasn’t apologizing. She’d forgotten about the dogs. Erections did that to her, they made her forget everything else.
She took another look at the animals. There were only four of them, and now that they were at a safe distance and there was a man on hand whom they seemed to obey, they didn’t look all that fierce, or even very big. By panicking, she’d unnecessarily gotten them both in a rather embarrassing situation, although he could have sidestepped her to avoid the collision.
The veranda was shadowed, despite the lightning dancing over the mountains, yet the peeling paint was clearly visible, she noticed. She should ask the man for directions so that she could be on her way, but her nose itched and she sneezed, just barely managing to get her hand across her nose in time. It was covered in dust from the floorboards, and she most likely had it all over her face now. She needed to freshen up before she met with Dr. Arnold. Rubbing her hands over her face was probably making matters worse.
“Bless you,” the man said, his jaw clenched. “Explain yourself.” Fists still planted on his hips, his bare chest rose and fell.
Jess’ fingers curled into her skirt when she realized he was actually angry. But why? Knocking him over had been an accident, which he could have avoided it if he’d controlled the dogs sooner or stepped aside in time. His annoyance didn’t stop him from giving her a thorough inspection, though.
Barely suppressing the urge to stamp her foot, she snapped, “Those animals should be locked up.” The hand she pointed at the dogs with was streaked with dust. Dropping it, she rubbed at the smudge with her other hand.
“They were, until a few minutes ago. When the visitor I expected didn’t show up, I let them out. Who are you and what do you want?”
“How rude!” Jess gasped. “Do you welcome all visitors half naked?” His arousal combined with his anger disturbed her.
“Uninvited visitors never come into the yard,” he growled. He knew she was aware of his condition. “That’s what the clinic entrance is for. And I’m not half naked, I’m shirtless because I took it off when my visitor failed to show up for her four o’clock appointment. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s hot. If you’re Jessica James, you’re too late—”
“The directions weren’t very clear,” she interrupted. “I got lost.” Hesitating only a moment, she stuck her hand out to him. “You’re Dr. Arnold, I presume?”
He ignored her hand and question, reaching instead for the shirt draped over the railing behind him and shrugged it on.
Doctor or not, the man has no manners.
Buttoning the shirt, he leaned in closer. “So, it’s my fault you can’t follow a set of simple instructions? Look, miss, you might as well go back to wherever you came from. The position has been filled. Good day.” He started to turn away.
“What? When? I had an interview for this afternoon!”
He glanced at his wristwatch. “You missed the appointment. You wouldn’t have gotten the job, anyway. Sorry for the inconvenience. It was nice meeting you, Ms. James. Goodbye.”
She noticed his eyes on her lips even as he dismissed her. “Just a minute. You’re going to disregard my application because I’m a few minutes late? I have excellent credentials, and the agency—”
“Had been told that only older women need to apply.”
“So you’re dismissing my application because of my age, is that it?”
“Yes. And you’re more than a few minutes late. The appointment was for four o’clock sharp, and it’s nearly six now. Take your gripes up with your agent, Ms. James. Your time-keeping actually has very little to do with it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, you’re wasting my time.”
Jess narrowed her eyes. “I pity the person you’ve employed if that is, in fact, the truth. You are a very rude man, Dr. Arnold.”
He wasn’t exactly what she’d expected—in his early to mid-thirties, and attractive, in a wildly blond caveman kind of way. And hot.
If only he had some manners.
It had sounded quite romantic when Sally first told her about this position, but in reality it was far from romantic. She didn’t need this man or his job, and especially not his erection. There had to be other positions available in Cape Town. Sally would find her a good job, with interesting work. She should get into her car and drive away without a backward glance.
A damp gust of wind blew her hair into her eyes when she turned to the stairs. Not being given a fair chance had nothing to do with it being Friday the thirteenth, she reminded herself.
It had everything to do with him being turned on by her.
Jess remembered the dogs when they jumped to their feet, tails wagging. She froze, clutching her skirt. They might be small, but they were dogs. They had teeth.
Damn it, she was going to need this man’s help to get back to her car. Gnawing the corner of her mouth, she glanced at him. Would he help her, or would he cross his arms and enjoy the spectacle from the veranda?
Before she could do anything, the door behind them creaked open. Pale, gnarled fingers curled around the edge of the wood. Jess took an involuntary step closer to the doctor, goosebumps covering her entire body, her hand to her throat.
Ghoulies and Ghosties blog – https://www.ghostly.co.za/ghoolies-and-ghosties/