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Phantom Lover

Cobblestone Press LLC

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Word Count: 48,000
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You shall never know peace until you know the agony of love.

Cursed by a woman who'd loved him, Jacques has spent the last 200 years trapped in Moonlight Cove. No one can see him, no one can hear him. Only his touch can be felt. He seeks the love that will finally let him experience the peace of death.

Lilly Nightsong has lost everything important in her life, and now she must say goodbye to her beloved Moonlight Cove B&B. Feeling alone, she believes her imagination has taken hold when she feels the touch of a man until he speaks.

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Jacques sat in a chair across the room watching Lilly. The ticking clock on the bedside table was the only sound in the still room. The sun had risen, but the west facing room stood in shadows. All night he’d lain with her, holding her close, dreading the morning when she would wake up and not know he was there. In her sleep she sought his warmth and with that, his heart had filled to brimming with pleasure.

Over the past few years before Clara died, he’d given up his visits to the single women who stayed at the B & B. The pleasure he took from touching a woman, feeling her skin, listening to her murmur her enjoyment at his touch, had lost its appeal. He’d decided that however long he was left in this half-life, he’d remain celibate. He hadn’t expected an attraction as strong as the one he now felt for Lilly. Perhaps it was that he’d known her before, watched her grow up, knew her darkest secrets and the wishes she’d written to her grandmother. But somehow he thought it was more.

There was something about her that stirred his hopes and dreams.

She rolled over, and her eyes slowly fluttered open. She stretched, raising her hands above the warm covers, and gripped the iron headboard. The covers slipped below her breasts and they were as beautiful as they’d been last night.

“Bonjour, ma chérie.”

Her eyes widened, color drained from her cheeks, and then she shrieked and scrambled from the bed, pulling the quilt with her, shielding herself with it as she flattened her back against the wall. Her gaze frantically searched the room.

Merde. She’d heard him!

“Lilly,” he whispered softly, rising from the chair. “Do not be afraid.”

She shrank back, rounding her shoulders in a sign of fear and defense as her gaze bounced around the room.

“It is I, Jacques. Do you remember me?” he asked as he moved across the room toward her.

She shook her head. “Go away.” Her voice was sleep-hoarse, little more than a frightened whisper.

“Chérie, remember me,” he begged softly. “Jacques Cheever. You used to visit me on the beach.”

“No. Go away!” She inched toward the open door. “You’re a figment of my imagination. You’re in my head.”

“Non, petite amie, I am real. I’ve always been real.” He wanted to touch her, to reassure her, but was stopped by the panic in her eyes.