Heather Long has another new release and it’s her first Entangled Covet release.
Recently divorced author MacKenzie Dillon has lost her writing mojo. When she inherits her great aunt’s haunted house in Virginia, she is determined to make a new start. The creepy old house provides inspiration but at what cost?
Successful architect and paranormal skeptic Justin Kent returns to Penny Hollow to fulfill his father’s dying wish of revitalizing their small town. To do that, he needs the allegedly haunted estate at Summerfield. Mac, the new owner, may be gorgeous and spunky, but she refuses to sell.
These two have a dangerous history that spans the ages, but will they discover the truth in time to save their lives?
A little over an hour later, in the town’s only grocery store, she studied the produce offerings. Prepackaged sliced veggies, or fresh produce? The packaged ones would save her time when it came to cooking. Seriously, how often am I going to cook?
She liked to cook, but between the much-needed work on the house and the book she had to finish, she didn’t have time for a lot of meal prep. She tapped a finger on the cart, then winced. The split nail still hurt.
If the town had a food-delivery service, it would make her life easier, but pizza wasn’t even delivered out where she lived. She’d made do with ramen noodles three nights running when she’d roused herself from writing long enough to search for food.
Her phone buzzed in her pocket. She pulled it out to see another call from Kevin. Tension squeezed her chest. Would he never leave her alone, or did he plan to haunt her forever? She clicked ignore and focused on finding groceries.
“Maybe sandwiches would be better,” she muttered. “For what?” The bubbly voice came from directly behind her and sent
Mac’s pulse rabbiting. She turned to find a beautiful blonde pixie, beaming at her.
“Sorry!” A musical laugh accompanied the apology. “Hey there, you’re new—and it’s terrifically unfair of me to ambush you here in the produce section, but I’ve been wanting to meet you and when I saw you here, I said to myself, Jock, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for, so go say hi. Besides, it’s so much easier to ‘run in’ to someone at the grocery than it is to wander up a
driveway, you know?” Mac backed away, but the girl edged her cart to the side and
joined her. “This isn’t the best season for squash,” the girl continued, “but
the eggplants should be great, and Wilson’s just delivered some of the fattest, juiciest tomatoes you’ll ever experience. Do you like to cook? I suppose you’d have to, considering you haven’t been to any of the restaurants. I would have come out to see you sooner, but I had to register for my classes and move into my dorm. But I’m back for the weekend.”
The girl who called herself Jock picked up one of the zucchini and pretended to look at it, but her gaze never left Mac’s face. Bright blue eyes seemed to be assessing every aspect of her, from her appearance to her reactions. Mac regretted not having at least glanced in the mirror before walking out of the house. Casting a surreptitious glance down, she managed to not groan. She’d thrown on a tank top and pair of denim shorts—hopefully both were clean.
“Anyway, I hope you’re not having too much trouble out at the Summerfield house.We’re all very well aware of the reputation and no one would think twice if it was giving you the creeps. I have no idea how old lady Summerfield could stand it”—Jock dropped her voice to an almost conspiratorial whisper and leaned uncomfortably close— “though the rumor is, she went quite mad living there.”
Mac backed up a step and tried to keep her attitude casual. “I—”
“Oh, I’m sorry, that was more than a little tasteless of me.” Jock bit her lower lip and grimaced. “Sometimes my mouth jumps ahead of my brain. While she did get a little dotty in her later years, everyone thought the world of Miss Katherine. She was a part of our town and our community. She wanted what was best for it.”
“Jocelyn Marianna Kent.”
The clipped syllables of a full name, coming from a very male voice, drew the blonde up with a jerk, and she snapped her mouth closed to glare at Justin, who stood two feet away, arms folded.
No wonder the woman seemed familiar, Mac realized—she had to be one of Justin’s siblings.
“Really, Justin? You’re going to growl my whole name like I’m some errant five-year-old?”
“You’re late. We need to go.” He jerked his thumb toward the door. “Move it. Leave Mac alone. Hey, sorry about her.” He gave Mac a brief smile.
The apology in his words did nothing to diminish the heat scorching her as his gaze collided with hers. Her tummy did a little somersault.
“I wasn’t bothering her.” Jocelyn tossed a beguiling smile at Mac. “Was I? I was just saying hello.”
Charmed despite—or maybe because of—the overabundance of personality, Mac held out her hand. “MacKenzie Dillon.”
“Oh.” Jocelyn smacked herself in the head before grasping her hand. “Jocelyn Kent, if you didn’t already know from Justin’s rude interruption—but everyone calls me Jock. Don’t mind him, by the way. He’s grumpy.”
“He is going to be late,” Justin growled, but beneath the impatience and timbre of his voice was a clear affection for his sister. “And you’re supposed to be at school.”
“Not twenty-four/seven,” she snapped back at him, but her smile rebloomed the moment she looked at Mac. “If you’d like, I could show you around—introduce you to some people. Let you get a real feel for the town. Though I’m really not sure what a big-name author like you could enjoy about Penny Hollow. We’re about as far off the beaten trail as you get. In fact, you’d probably need a backhoe to find the beaten trail around here—”
“She won’t have time for any of that. She has to go.” Justin’s
expression waffled between exasperation and amusement, but Jock didn’t seem to notice.
This side of Justin fascinated Mac. His affection for his sister seemed so different than how Kevin had treated her—no. No more thoughts of him. She wanted to enjoy Justin for Justin.
Jock’s face tightened with a scowl as she glared at her brother. “Are you an only child, Ms. Dillon?”
“Yes,” Mac admitted.
“You are so lucky. Brothers are a pain in the ass. Look—” She dug around in her purse and pulled out a pen and notepad. “This is my number. Call me. We’ll do coffee. I’m only a few hours away and I get back here on the weekends. I can also tell you everything you ever needed to know about the town.”
She all but thrust the paper at Mac. Only when their hands brushed, Jock blinked furiously. “Wow,” she said, breathlessly.
Mac pulled her hand away and waited. Wow, what?
“Jock, I swear to God, if you don’t get your butt in gear and head back to school, I’m going to toss you in back of the truck.” Clearly Justin was not nearly as charmed by his sister as Mac was. “Sorry, Mac. I’ll get her out of your hair. And don’t forget—I’ll be by your place around five.”
Those few words sent her awareness of him rocketing…or maybe it was the way his gaze lingered on her.
“I’m leaving.” Jock made it three steps before she pivoted and looked Mac square in the eye. “And you should be careful at Summerfield, Ms. Dillon. The Summerfield Curse is a very real thing. The women who live there…they’re never happy—hey!”
Whatever else Jock might have said was cut off when Justin made good on his promise by swooping his sister up and throwing her over his shoulder. He gave Mac a wink and a smile before marching away with an air of grim determination, leaving his sister to wave at Mac before she began beating on his back.
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