The Ghost of White Heather
Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Aurela Lee
Word Count :118332
Publication Date :2022-03-11
Series : #
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-3330-7
Ghosts of her broken family and relinquished ambitions haunt stoic dreamer Rhea Sioui. A twist of fate finds her in Scotland, ghostwriting for reclusive action film star Niall Shaw. She could finally attain her goal of writing professionally, a dream lost forever if she fails.
Shadows of the past also torment Niall Shaw. Hiding from the limelight at his cottage, White Heather, he finds temporary peace. Now he must make a comeback to fund his dreams of revitalizing an ancient castle, providing work skills to the street kids at his shelter, but an old nemesis is complicating things.
Niall must cohabitate with the attractive, sensitive, young woman he had previously offended. Overcoming their initial misgivings, as they share their secrets, their attraction becomes palpable, electric. Both feel love is perilous, yet each finds a kindred spirit in the other.
On the journey, a true phantom sidetracks their progress. Rhea has an otherworldly connection with a lost soul inhabiting Niall’s grounds, and they must help her reunite with her lost love. In doing so, Niall and Rhea may escape their demons and gain their heart’s desire.
Hindered by responsibilities in separate countries and lingering fears of intimacy, parting is inevitable. However, if a spirit can cross time and space for her true love, maybe she can teach Rhea and Niall to fight for theirs.
I am their ghost.
A gust of warm September air blew a tress of Rhea’s hair across her face as she slammed down the hood of the car. Adjusting her messy bun, she looked over the raw, lonely grandeur of the Scottish Highlands. She came around to the driver’s side of the taxicab, telling the driver, Trace, “I think it’s your starter.”
Trace stuck his phone in his breast pocket. “No luck getting a signal. I guess we wait until someone comes by. Sorry about this.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Rhea gave his shoulder a little shake. “I’ve got time, and I can’t think of a more splendid place to be stranded.”
Deciduous trees had just started turning yellow, red, and orange along the road, and the sky was heavy and overcast. Large grey and blue clouds loomed to the north over a nearby hill gently sloping up from the road. On top was a large boulder, a semi-circle of trees behind it. The massive rock was grey and streaked with pale scarlet, looking almost entirely pink at a distance.
Trace leaned against the driver’s-side door and folded his thick arms across his chest, his blue eyes scanning Rhea’s face. “What kind of books do you write?”
“Horror. I’m writing something set in Scotland, and I’ve come to research old superstitions and beliefs.”
Ghost-writing for retired action star Niall Shaw’s biography was her long-awaited break, and while she did write horror and was interested in Scottish myths, it was a cover story. She needed to protect her client’s privacy, and if she did well, she’d be able to write full-time and give up translating.
Trace had followed her line of vision, “There’s a legend about that very stone.”
“I’d love to hear it.”
“A young man named Thomas fell in love with the chieftain’s daughter, Islean, from a neighboring rival clan, and their meeting spot was that boulder. On the night they were to elope, her father and his men found them and killed Thomas. Islaen ran to her lover, who was bleeding out on the boulder. Gripping the dirk hidden in her cloak that Thomas had given her, she held it to her throat, cursing her father and her clan. A strange fog crept upon the lovers, hiding the boulder, and the clansmen were too terrified to walk into the unnatural fog. That night, the blood of the innocent couple stained the rock, and it’s been pink ever since.”
Rhea inhaled deeply with her khaki-colored eyes glued to Trace’s face. “How awful.”
Trace looked into the distance, “My wife loves one part of the story. They say if true lovers are near the boulder, they hear a woman crying, sobbing and heartbroken, but only true lovers hear her, those meant to be together.”
“I like that part, too.” Rhea smiled, a little sigh escaping her lips.
Trace chuckled gently. “The sigh of a true romantic. When you sigh like that, your soul’s lamenting its deepest desire.”
“Not I.” Rhea leaned against the car. “I’m not exactly the romantic type. My soul’s lamenting a ham sandwich.”
Trace lit a cigarette. “I guess you must have a dark side when writing horror.”
“History is filled with horror. Romance is a waste of time.” Admiring the beauty around her, she couldn’t shake an unsettling feeling. Everything, the smell, the air, the energy, reminded her of her island home. Since her sister and father’s deaths and her mother’s disappearance, she had barely returned home. Maybe her ghosts had followed her to Scotland. “It’s strange, but this place reminds me of home. My mother’s people have a lot of old stories about the land, too.”
“Your mother’s family?”
“My mother was from an island in the Maritimes, and my father was born in Québec. They were both First Nations with some European thrown in.”
Trace looked at Rhea’s profile with curiosity. “Native American. That would account for your look.”
Rhea turned to him, a grin splitting her lips. “My look?”
People often told her she looked like a cat, as the nasal bridge between her eyebrows was a little wider than average, giving her a lioness-like face that was a little flat in profile. Adding to the feline look were tapered, curving eyebrows over almond-shaped eyes of dark green with orange and yellow flecks and an iris rimmed with navy blue, Sunflower eyes, according to her father. Baby-shit green, according to her brothers.
Trace chuckled. “No offense. You’re lovely, but you've got an unusual face for around here. I thought all American Indians had dark skin and straight black hair.”
“The characteristics vary a lot.”
Unlike her mother and siblings, her coloring was more like her father’s family, dark mahogany hair and skin a lighter shade of tawny bronze with a splattering of freckles along her nose and chiseled cheekbones. Her forehead was high and slightly curved, with a dainty chin and a mouth with a larger bottom lip and cupid’s bow top.
Rhea admired the creek that ran along the side of the road and opened up to a small loch with islands scattered intermittently throughout. The mist gathered at the base of the mountains, and it stirred her blood. The ghosts of hills and the spirits of water grow in the mist.
The place, the space, begged to be explored.