Read An Excerpt

SHIVER
by Jo Leigh

Genre: Current Series Imprints, Harlequin Blaze, Series

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“Are you seeing this?”

Carrie looked up at Erin, bugged that because of Erin’s ridiculously huge suitcase, they were at the back of the line. Okay, not quite the back of the line, because there were four people behind them, but she was tired and hungry and she wanted to test her internet connection. “Yes. The inn is lovely. Great fireplace, very charming.”

“God, you are the worst traveler ever. I swear. Why do I keep on taking vacations with you?”

“Honestly? I have no idea.”

Erin took hold of Carrie’s shoulders and turned her to face the front desk. “I meant are you seeing that?” she said, whispering this time. 

All Carrie saw was two guys taking reservations. One had impressive silver hair, really thick, and she wanted him to look up so she could see if the face went with the hair. The other guy didn’t need to look up. He already was. Staring at her. Unblinking, lips parted. There was no doubt even in this long line that his focus was entirely on her. She felt her face heat up, then realized he had to be staring at Erin. Everyone started at Erin. She turned back to her friend. “You should be flattered.”

“Me? He’s staring at you, you idiot.”

Carrie looked again, and holy crap, he was staring at her. She whipped around once more. “What the hell?”

“I know, right?” Erin still whispered and her speech was wonky because she wasn’t moving her lips. “Okay. He looked away.”

“That was weird.” Carrie stole a glance at the desk, grateful whatever that was had stopped. “He must have thought I was someone else. Someone he knew.”

“Or maybe he was struck dumb by your beauty and fell instantly, hopelessly in love the moment he saw you.”

“Yeah. That’s about as likely as actually seeing a ghost.”

The three people in front and the four behind turned to her, each one looking appalled. Carrie winced. “Kidding.”

Erin shook her head and sighed. “I can’t take you anywhere.”

Carrie moved closer to her friend and kept her head down, cursing her own big giant mouth. She’d lasted all of two hours before she’d made fun of these people, and they hadn’t even checked in yet. Jeez.

So she kept her trap shut long enough to listen in on Mr. Stare’s conversations. They weren’t actually whole conversations. More like bits and drabbles, but each and every one contained a mention of—what else—ghosts. She suspected that the person he’d mistaken her for wasn’t among the living. The man seemed very enthusiastic and utterly convinced that the hauntings in this hotel were one-hundred percent legit. Verifiable, if only one had the good fortune to be in the right place at the right time. 

The single thing provable in this place was that the belief in ridiculous nonsense was utterly egalitarian. Age, race, looks, wealth, none of that mattered. Instead of disturbing her, the realization made her feel happy for Erin. There was a world of folks out there with whom she could share her passion, and some of them were very nice looking men. Because even if he had stared rather rudely, he was damn good looking.

A comment from behind her, something about why some people bothered to come to certain conferences if they were stupid enough not to see what was all around them, made her curse her impulsivity again. Carrie had no doubt that the news of her traitorous talk would spread through the hotel like wildfire.

By the time she reached the front desk she was more concerned about being tarred and feathered than she was about the handsomeness of the guy behind the desk. 

That lasted about two seconds. 

Sam Crider was tall, maybe six-one, and he wore his slim-hipped jeans and tucked-in, mountain man flannel shirt well. He looked nothing like the guys she usually hung with, who were mostly cartoonists and always tech nerds who rarely dressed in anything that wasn’t a T-shirt complete with geek-identifying logo, and baggy pants. Crider’s brown hair was on the longish side, slightly shaggy. His eyes were a interesting hazel and, well, nice. He no longer seemed creepy, despite his propensity for staring and his certainty about ghosts. 

Oddly, before she’d finished filling out her registration information, Crider handed the reigns to his compatriot and came around the desk. 

“Are these your bags?”

She looked down at her equipment and opened her mouth to explain that none of it was in any way related to ghost hunting, but she stopped herself. “Yep.” 

“Hang tight. I’m just going to get the luggage cart. Be back in a sec.”

As he headed for the cart near the elevator, Erin handed her card to the silver-haired guy and turned to Carrie. “The plot thickens. He’s perfect, you know.”

Carrie didn’t have to ask what Erin meant. The other reason she’d agreed to come on this expedition was the Vacation Rule. Established on their first trip together, Erin and Carrie had decided that when they were traveling, men were always on the menu. As long as they weren’t in a relationship, they could indulge in one-night stands if they wanted. Or even more-night stands if the opportunity presented itself. No risk. No fuss. It was all about pleasure and fun, and damn it, if there was one thing Carrie needed it was some uncomplicated fun.