Double Dating With The Dead




Sneak Peek

​CHAPTER ONE

     ​​The three-story monstrosity sat on over half of the block. Some of the Victorian trim was missing and the paint

​​had peeled long ago. Trent could only imagine what the color of the old hotel had once been. The longer he sat in his

​​car staring at it, the more the hotel seemed to mock him. Ridiculous of course.

     ​His eyes skimmed across the overgrown yard, past a lopsided sign with faded letters. There were oak and pecan

​​trees in need of trimming and scraggly shrubs. Plenty of privacy...along with a spooky feeling.

     ​I​t was definitely an eyesore. But haunted? Not likely. Just old and tired. He could certainly see where the place

​​got the reputation of being inhabited by ghosts. Even he’d heard of the legend of Garvey County.

     ​Only a legend, though. In the next two weeks, he’d prove it. Selena James would not make a fool out of him. How

​​the hell could people buy her wild stories?

     ​Every county had some kind of nonsense perpetuated by teenagers and handed down through the ages to scare

​​the kids who were climbing up the hallowed ranks from preadolescence to the sacred teens. The story would grow

​​over the years until it was so blown out of proportion it verged on the ridiculous.

     ​Kids, he could understand. Older kids always loved taunting younger ones. It was a given fact. Hell, he’d pulled

​​his share of pranks on his younger brother, Tye. But when adults jumped in and tried to make a dollar off people’s

​​fears or desires, well, he had a real problem with that.

     ​Especially when it cut into his schedule.

     ​​And cut it did. Staying here for two damn weeks with a so-called psychic nutcase just to prove there were no such

​​things as ghosts really irritated him.

     ​He climbed out of his vehicle and grabbed his suitcases from the back.

     ​Miss James was going to regret challenging him to stay in this dump. His agent had come up with the perfect

​​publicity stunt—debunk Selena for the fraud that she was by writing a book that would expose her to the world. Not

​​only would he prove there were no ghosts, but he’d have enough information on Selena James to fill a book. It was

​​the perfect revenge.

     ​He strode up the creaky wooden steps. The realtor had given him a key to the hotel. It was beyond him why

​​anyone would want to lock this place. It might be a blessing if someone broke in and accidentally burned it to the

​​ground.

     ​After setting down his suitcases, he unlocked the door and pushed it open. Muted light came through the grimy

​​panes and landed on the equally grimy sheet-covered furniture.

     ​The hotel was even worse on the inside.

     ​Leaving his suitcases where they were, he walked farther inside the spacious foyer, his footsteps leaving tracks in

​​the dust.

     ​How the hell were they going to stay here for two weeks? It would take that long just to make the downstairs

​​livable.

     ​​He looked around the room, noting the registration desk with cobwebbed cubbyholes where there had once been

​​room keys. His gaze moved past the desk, landing on the staircase. Even though it was covered with a film of dust,

​​he could tell the workmanship was magnificent.

     ​He stepped closer, running his hands over the smooth surface, then dusting them off. In its heyday, the hotel had

​​probably been pretty grand. Now she was just a tired old woman in a faded, tattered gown that was sorely outdated.

     ​“Boo,” a woman said in a very dry, sultry voice from behind him.

     ​He whirled around. For a split second he thought the place might actually be haunted. But if he was seeing a

​​ghost, he hoped she wouldn’t vanish anytime soon. She looked pretty damned sweet as she stood in the open

​​doorway. His guarded stance relaxed as he stared at her.

     ​No, not sweet. Nothing about her looked sweet. She was earth, wind and fire all rolled up into one magnificent

​​​woman. The combination was sexy as hell.

     ​Slowly his gaze traveled over her, past long black hair that draped over one shoulder to kiss a breast. She was

​​like nothing he’d ever seen with her loose white shirt, bangles at her wrists and a multicolored full skirt.

     ​Selena James looked even better in color than she had in the grainy black-and-white photo above her weekly

​​psychic column in the newspaper.

     ​He wondered if she knew that with the sunlight streaming in behind her, the skirt she wore was practically

​​transparent. He didn’t think he wanted to tell her. He rather enjoyed the view. Payback for the very public challenge

​​she’d issued in the paper just because he’d said she was delusional while he was being interviewed on television.

     ​A twinge of guilt flickered over him. He quickly dismissed it. The woman was delusional. There were no such

​​things as ghosts or people who talked to ghosts.

     ​“Did I scare you?” she asked in a mocking voice, one eyebrow lifting. She swept into the room and shadows

​​blocked the view of her legs.

     ​A shame because he could’ve looked at Selena James’ legs a lot longer.

     ​“I don’t scare so easily.” He casually leaned against the balustrade and crossed his arms in front of him.

     ​“But then, you’ve never stayed in a haunted hotel,” she said.

    ​“I can’t stay in a place that’s haunted since there are no such things as ghosts.”

     ​As she stepped closer, he could see her eyes were a deep, haunting violet, her lips full and very kissable. The

​​kind a man would like to tug between his teeth and nibble on.

     ​​S​​he was tall, too. Maybe five-eight. For some reason he’d pictured her much shorter.

     ​When she breezed past him, he caught the scent of her perfume. It wrapped around him, begging him to follow

​​wherever she might lead. She was definitely a temptation, but one he’d resist. After all, she was the enemy.

     ​She faced him, and his heart skipped a beat. Knowing she was the enemy didn’t make her any less alluring or

​​sexy. Probably the reason she had so many followers who faithfully read her column. She was like a spider weaving

​​her web for the unsuspecting fly. But he knew her game and wouldn’t be drawn in. No, Miss James had finally met

​​her match.

     ​Definitely tempting, though.

     ​Man, he’d been spending way too many hours closeted away in front of his computer while he finished his last

​​deadline, then been consumed with promotion for his current release, Ghosts and Other Guff. Dating hadn’t been a

​​top priority.

     ​​Two weeks alone with Selena might not be so bad. She was hot, definitely hot. He wondered how difficult it would

​​be to entice her into his bed. At least his stay wouldn’t be such a waste. It was an option worth considering.

     ​Selena watched Trent and saw the changing emotions on his face that finally settled into speculation.

     ​Would she or wouldn’t she?

     ​She’d seen that interested look before in men’s eyes. Trent wasn’t bad himself—even better in person than he

​​had been on television, which was what started this whole mess. Sure, it was only a local station, but when Trent

​​was asked what he thought about her column, he’d said she was obviously delusional. She pursed her lips. He’d

​​announced it on television without a care in the world. Egotistical ass. If he thought she’d be climbing in his bed, he’d

​​better think again.

     ​She didn’t care that his shoulders were wide and his eyes a bright green, the color of finely cut emeralds. The

​​kind of eyes, and the kind of smile, that could talk her right out of her clothes and have her naked in his bed before

​​she knew how she’d gotten there.

     ​Oh, yes, he was a clean-shaven devil in an expensive suit and, if she wasn’t mistaken, wearing designer cologne.

     ​But she wasn’t stupid, and she wouldn’t fall for his charm. He’d figure that out soon enough.

     ​Trent was a skeptic. Her enemy. He’d made jokes about her column. She could very well lose her job if she didn’t

​​change his opinion about the supernatural by the end of their stay.

     ​Lust could not enter into the equation. The guy was eye candy. Nothing more. She’d take this skeptic down

​​without blinking an eye.

     ​She faced him once again, tilting her chin and looking up. He was very tall. “You said some pretty ugly things

​​about me on television. Do you always take potshots at people you’ve never met?”

     ​“Nothing personal.”

     ​Was he serious? The bangles on her wrists jangled when she planted her hands on her hips. She gritted her

​​teeth. She would not lose her temper, but boy she’d love to wipe that sardonic smirk right off his face!

     ​“Nothing personal? You’re joking, right?” She marveled at how calm she sounded.

     ​His smile suddenly turned downward. It was as though a thundercloud hovered over him. Well, she was the

​​lightning bolt that would strike him down.

     ​“I go after all cheats, not just you,” he said.

     ​“Now I’m a cheat?” I won’t lose my temper, she told herself, but she’d sounded far less calm, which aggravated

​​her more.

     ​“You’re bilking the public when you feed them a line of crap about ghosts being everywhere and that you can talk

​​to them.”

     ​“And how do you know they aren’t?”

     ​He swung his arm wide. “Do you see any?” He looked toward the second floor. “If there are any ghosts here,

​​show yourselves,” he yelled.

     ​Silence.

     ​He looked at her. “See, no ghosts.”

     ​If there were any in the old hotel, he’d probably pissed them off. One thing she hated more than a skeptic was a

​​pissed-off ghost. They could get really nasty when they were angry.

     ​“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” she warned.

     ​“Should I be worried that a ghost will suddenly appear?” He went to the front door and scooped up his suitcases.

     ​​“There are no such things as ghosts. If there are, please point them out to me.”

     ​Stay calm. Take a deep breath.

     ​Exhale! Don’t forget to exhale.

     ​She let her breath out and smiled. At least, she hoped it looked like a smile and not a snarl.



REVIEWS

Romantic Times 4 1/2 Stars! "An over-the-top, spunky romance, Kelley's novel is fast and delightful. The author has found her niche in romance, this time combining against-all-odds love and an outrageous plot with prankster ghosts. Fans will not be disappointed with the witty humor, wacky characters and sexual tension, and new readers will be hooked." - - Jennifer Madsen, Romantic Times.
"Don’t you just love it when you start reading a book and know by the start of the second chapter that the author will be on your auto buy list? That is what happened to me with Double Dating with the Dead. It is a fantastic story that had me laughing constantly while admiring the author’s talent in keeping my attention solely focused on every written word...Karen Kelley is an author not to be missed with her ability of infusing so much humor, warmth and intrigue into her stories that makes them so fun and easy to read." -- Tammy, Fallen Angel Reviews.

Blue Ribbon Rating 5! "DOUBLE DATING WITH THE DEAD is a fun, fast-paced, paranormal romance with an engaging plot and compelling characters. While Trent and Selena are definitely the hero and heroine of the book, Dixie and Wesley frequently steal the show with their behavior when they appear to Selena. They lead her on wild goose chases and cause her to have sexy, erotic dreams that just happen to be shared by Trent. These are the two ghosts I want to meet if I ever encounter any apparitions. Karen Kelley has a flair for writing books that you can't put down and DOUBLE DATING WITH THE DEAD is no exception. I thoroughly enjoyed the antics of the ghosts, as well as the amusing banter between Trent and Selena. This well-written, entertaining book is a must-read for all paranormal romance readers. Pick up a copy of Kelley’s thrilling romance and have a ghostly good time. Believe me, a haunted house has never been so much fun!" -- Robin Snodgrass, Romance Junkies.

"Double Dating with the Dead is a funny, delightful read. It is an excellent way to spend an afternoon or evening. Karen Kelley writes with a lovely wit that kept me turning the pages. I enjoyed this book very much and I highly recommend it." -- Barb, Joyfully Reviewed.

"If you have never read paranormal before give this one a chance it’s a great way to start reading the genre. Karen keep up the good work! You have another hit in this one!" -- N.Negron, a book lover.

"I highly recommend this book and have to compliment Karen on another well done story. Looking forward to more adventures from this writer." -- Cryna Palmiere, reader.

     Skeptic and author Trent Sanders will make so-called

​​psychic Selena James pay for challenging him to stay two

​​weeks in the supposedly haunted hotel of Garvey County.

​​By the end of their two weeks he’ll expose her for the

​​fraud she is. But when he sees her in person, it might just

​​be possible she can raise the dead.


​Selena James is really pissed at Trent Sanders for

​​publicly proclaiming her delusional. She doesn’t care how

​​hot the guy is, he’ll be eating his words before the two

​​weeks are up! She’ll prove ghosts exist. At least, she

​​hopes she can. Ghosts can be very stubborn, obstinate,

​​manipulative…. This may be a very long two weeks.