1862 – Maxwell Ryder refused to honor a prearranged marriage with Penelope Walker. Instead, he fell madly in love with her younger brother, Jeremiah.
Present – Luke Ryder was the last descendant of the Ryder family. It was on his watch that the family’s great home, White Oak Manor, was sold to a rich businessman named, Jacob Walker.
Jacob fell in love with White Oaks Manor before he ever met the man who had to sell it to him. He had never met a man like Luke Ryder. He was charming, funny, and very passionate about his family’s heritage.
As they worked together to restore White Oak Manor to its previous glory, their attraction to each other grew strong. Even when strange things – workers being injured, cold wind from nowhere, wild screams in the night and a train whistle screeching in the distance – they continued to get closer.
Penelope Walkers actions in the past condemned her to haunt White Oaks Manor. Only when the two lovers she had kept apart were reunited could so many wrongs be righted. Though she was determined to not see it happen again.
Luke and Jacob discovered that to save their new love, they must solve a mystery from the past and reunite fated lovers before Penelope works her evil on them as well.
Book 2 of the Legend of the Ghost Train Series
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Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Enemies to Lovers
Word Count: 36000
Setting: Virginia Planation House
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
Waking up to find Jacob nestled in his arms was nice. Maybe too nice. He could get used to having this man in his life. But, did Jacob feel the same way? Luke slowly untangled their limbs and slid quietly from the bed. He needed coffee, and to stop his brain from overthinking everything.
He saw Ida Ryder’s book laying on the table as he walked through the living room to the kitchen. There was no time last night to read the book or discuss it with Jacob. Luke grinned to himself. Not that he minded that kind of distraction in the least. He started the coffee and looked to see what he could whip up for breakfast. The phone rang as he reached for the eggs.
“Your phone’s ringing,” Jacob said. He was standing in the doorway to the kitchen. His jeans were riding low on his hips giving Luke a peek at the man’s treasure trail. His cock stiffened. Luke picked up his phone and answered.
“You need to get your ass up here to the house,” Kris said. His voice edgy and upset.
“What’s wrong,” Jacob asked.
“I can’t explain it. You have to see it, but I can tell you, you and Jacob are going to be really pissed off.” Kris cut off the call as Luke turned to Jacob.
“We need to get dressed. Breakfast will have to wait. There’s trouble at White Oak,” Luke said as he brushed past Jacob.
Stopping, he turned and took a step back. He pulled Jacob into his arms and softly kissed the man’s lips.
“Last night was… amazing.”
“I know,” Jacob answered and kissed him back.
They used Jacob’s SUV to drive the lane to White Oak from Luke’s carriage house. They could hear voices shouting as they walked up the wide stairs. Once they opened the front doors, they could see why.
Paint was splattered everywhere on the floor and walls. The new carpeting on the staircase was ripped and torn. Floorboards in the parlor and dining room had been ripped up and strewn about the rooms. Worst of all was the huge chandelier that had been meticulously cleaned and rehung. It lay in a million pieces on the floor in the entryway.
“What the hell happened here?” Luke shouted.
The room grew quiet, as all eyes turned to face him and Jacob.
“My God, was there an earthquake that we didn’t know about?” Jacob asked as he surveyed the damage. “I don’t understand what happened here.”
Kris pushed his way around a large pile of floorboards and walked toward Luke.
“When I got here this morning, the crew was waiting for me to let them in,” he answered then waved his arm around the room. “This is what we walked into. I suppose it could have been vandals. But, the damned doors were still locked!”
Luke and Jacob walked around the room and sorted through the damage.
“It’s going to take weeks to get us back to where we were yesterday,” Jacob said.
“I don’t understand what happened here,” Luke said. He knelt down on the floor beside the chandelier and picked up a piece of broken crystal. “This can’t be fixed. It’s been hanging here for decades. There’s not another one like it in the world. If I find out who did this, I will beat them into next week.”
“It was the ghost.”
“What?” Jacob asked.
“It was the ghost. A person or even several people couldn’t do this much damage in one night,” one of the older crew members said. “It’s been trying to get our attention all along.”
“A ghost?” Luke said as he stood. “You are saying a damned ghost did this? Are you crazy?”
“Hey, I’m just saying. That kid getting hurt when we first started. The cold winds blowing, and that damn screeching. We’ve all heard it. Not to mention, Miss Walker saying she saw her!”
The rest of the crew were grumbling under their breath. Jacob pulled Luke aside and mentioned for Kris to join them.
“I think we need to send them home for today,” Jacob said. “Tomorrow, we’ll start the cleanup. We’re clearly not going to get any work out of them today.”
Kris added, “I agree. They are spooked. Sorry, no pun intended. We need to go through everything and make some sort of plan.”
Luke turned to face the crew. “Why don’t you all go home today? We’re going to call the police and have them take a look at things. In the meantime, we’ll work on a list of things that need to be done to get this cleaned up before we move forward.”
“And, you’ll all be paid for today,” Jacob said.
“Pay isn’t the problem,” one of the crew members said. “That ghost is the problem!”