Governess Catherine Roth is fighting for her sanity and her heart, but which man will claim it?
The mysteries of Montmoor Hall deepen with each passing day…and night. A ghost haunts governess Catherine Roth while the master, Andrew Montmoor, is away.
To make matters worse, Catherine is falling in love with the troubled master of Montmoor Hall even though she knows Andrew is lying to her…but about what? And what will happen when the bastard brother, handsome Benjamin Smitt, returns to claim what is his?
She woke up in the night, not sure what had roused her. Catherine opened her eyes, and in front of her shimmered the image of Monroe Montmoor. He appeared exactly as he had in his portrait, and glowered with what could only be fury, and his green eyes blazed at her. He stood, silent and strangely translucent.
“No.” The whisper escaped Catherine's lips before she could stop it.
A twisted grin crossed his full lips, and she wanted to scream. A smile on his face struck her as more terrible than a frown. If he was so grotesque in death, what manner of monster must he have been in life?
With his gnarled, blue veined hand, he reached out toward her, and his mouth worked soundlessly, even as Catherine's mind screamed that his hand coming toward her was impossible. She didn't want him to touch her, would go mad if she heard what such a specter had to say. He shuffled a few steps closer to the bed.
He's going to touch me, to do something...
Jolted from her paralysis, Catherine screamed, a gut wrenching sound that made her own ears ring. The figure disintegrated, disappearing by degrees.
Her door burst open within seconds, and a disheveled Montmoor appeared at her side wearing a silken nightshirt that, thankfully, covered his body down to his calves.
“What in God's name is going on?” He sat on the edge of the bed and took her in his arms, and she didn't resist. Catherine sobbed against his warm neck, aware of his arms holding her tight.
“I saw something.”
“I think it was a spirit, a ghost, though I've never seen one before. I don't even believe in them!” She heard her voice rise to a hysterical pitch.
His arms tightened around her, and she felt his breath against her hair as his hands twined in the silky strands.
“It's the curse.”
“Why do you say that?” She remembered his words from the night before with a shudder.
“Because I believe what you saw was my great grandfather, his spirit. He’s vengeful. He never rests. He walks the halls.” His voice grew louder with each terrible word, and a wild look entered his eyes.
Catherine pulled away from him, frightened even more by his strange reaction.
“That's foolish. I couldn't have seen a spirit. It must have been a nightmare from being in a new and different place.” She almost believed it herself as long as she avoided looking at him.
“Tell me exactly what you saw.” He ground the words out, and all at once Catherine grew uncomfortable with his closeness to her on the bed. She crossed her arms over the thin chemise she wore, one of the lacy ones left by his sister, Alice. And did she really elope? There was something so strange about the story, about the way Lord Montmoor had not met her eyes when he had told it.
He leaned back, looking into her eyes.
“I saw the man in the portrait. Your great grandfather.” She forced herself to meet his gaze. The skin at the nape of his neck glowed in the light from the brass candelabra he had laid on the bedside table.
“As I assumed. He doesn't want you here.”
“Why wouldn't he want me here? And how do you know?”
Montmoor broke the intense gaze between them. “My destiny is sealed—or that is his wish—for me to be cursed and lonely.”