Hugh is proud to be a wraith and considers himself a spiritual ambassador whose purpose is to show the living that they don't need to fear the afterlife. When he travels to Whisper, drawn by the mating call of the magical horse to whom he is psychically bonded, he meets a woman who reminds him about the joys of old-fashioned human sex.
For Rebecca getting physical with the sexy New Zealander whose magical stallion has come to mate with her mare is the easy part. It's emotions she can't handle. Rebecca has a secret that keeps her from fully exploring and enjoying her existence as a wraith, but Hugh doesn't intend to let a chance for love fade away.
Whisper 3: Mating Call
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He was absolutely beautiful. Tall, dark and lean with deep brown eyes, he exuded strength and a fiery passion that sent her heart racing.
He approached, muscles rippling beneath his satiny coat.
Shivers raced through her and she leaned closer to him as he brushed the tip of his nose against hers.
For us it's love at first sight. We'll have our happily ever after. The problem isn't with us, but with our partners.
Clifton snorted and Rose brushed her face against his.
Nearby, they sensed Hugh and Rebecca's discomfort and annoyance.
Why do humans always do things the hard way?
* * *
"Looks like they're getting along fine," Hugh said, leaning against the fence surrounding the paddock at Rebecca's farmhouse.
Hugh's stallion, Clifton, and Rebecca's mare, Rose, had been summoned to each other by the mating call, a natural occurrence for their kind. Yet that didn't mean the sudden pull between them hadn't disrupted the lives of the human wraiths they were bonded to.
The trip from New Zealand to Whisper, Massachusetts in the States had been a bit rough. They'd flown through a storm and somehow the weather affected them, even in their spirit form, but Clifton had insisted on leaving as quickly as possible. Traveling in spirit form was faster than traveling by human methods. When the mating call came, wraith horses couldn't wait. Clifton would have flown off without Hugh to meet his destined mate.
In their corporeal form, they would need to book flights and Clifton would be forced to remain in quarantine like a normal animal.
Instead they sent word of their impending arrival to Rebecca and her horse by the wraith express.
Hugh left his apprentice in charge of his ranch, then in their spirit forms he and Clifton left for America.
When they arrived, the horses cantered off together like soulmates, leaving Hugh and Rebecca in awkward silence. He hadn't expected Rebecca to be so damn sexy. According to rumor, she was a self-appointed outcast among their kind. Somehow he'd expected her to look older and more severe. Though he wasn't sure how old she was because wraiths stopped aging after they changed, she looked no more than thirty. With smooth light brown skin and a body that was both curvy and strong, she incited desire in him such as he hadn't felt since his days as a mortal.
By the expression in her large amber eyes, she was surprised by their arrival... and not in a good way.
"Is everything okay?" Hugh asked.
Rebecca hadn't responded verbally to his previous comment about the horses. She merely stared at him with a look of death -- no pun intended. Besides, wraiths weren't fully dead. They moved through the veil between the living and the dead. Most had chosen their existence. The wraith who had given Hugh the gift had offered him a choice -- die a normal death or enter the world of wraiths. It wasn't as horrible as most people believed. Like many supernatural creatures, wraiths got a bum rap due to misconceptions about them.
"Now that you ask, no, everything isn't okay." She folded her arms across her chest and stared at him with those penetrating eyes. "You could have given us a little more notice that you were coming. Not that Rose seems to mind, but I'm not a horse responding to the mating call. I'm a woman with a life and I think I deserve the chance to plan for a guest."
Hugh blinked. "We sent word as fast as we could."
"I just got the message an hour ago."
One thing about the wraith express, it wasn't always dependable, at least not by human standards. Time usually didn't mean as much to wraiths as to humans. He'd heard that Rebecca still had a very human existence. She lived and worked among them as a farrier for corporeal horses. Knowing she resided in Whisper should have been enough to make him realize just how unusual she was.
The town of Whisper had a reputation, even among wraiths. Founded by supernatural outcasts, they lived by their own rules. Few places on Earth could lay claim to such a diverse group of magical beings living together in harmony.
"We sent the message days ago," Hugh said. "I'm sorry it got to you late. One of the messengers must have gotten sidetracked. I should have made it clear that time was of the essence."
"You could have picked up the phone and called."
Hugh felt almost foolish. She was right, but using the phone to contact another wraith hadn't entered his mind. Everyone used the wraith express to communicate, or so he'd thought.
Now that he'd met Rebecca, she seemed so human that he wondered why she'd chosen a wraith's existence.
"For some reason I thought you'd accept me and Clifton more readily if wraiths confirmed that our horses are soulmates. Most of us feel more comfortable around our own kind."
"Well I'm not like most people."
"I'm starting to see that. Listen, do you prefer I leave?" Hugh jerked his thumb toward the road.
The horses whinnied in unison and trotted toward the fence. Sticking their heads over, they communicated with their humans through a telepathic connection exclusive to wraiths and their steeds. It wasn't exactly a language, but a transfer of feelings. Wraith horses connected to their humans similarly to the way they bonded with their mates. The connection was eternal and unbreakable.
If Clifton and Rose were mates, then Hugh and Rebecca had better at least be friends. Neither would want to distance themselves from their steeds. While that didn't mean they had to mate as well, they were now, in a way, family.
Staring at Hugh, Rebecca decided she was most irritated by the short notice because she hadn't been given a chance to clean up after work. She was dirty and smelled like a stable. When a woman met a guy this gorgeous, she wanted to be ready.
Hugh had a muscular build, dark hair and huge blue eyes. His New Zealand accent fascinated her, as did the way he smiled. When he first arrived and introduced himself, she'd been stunned by her attraction to him, then furious that she hadn't had a chance to make a good first impression.
Chastising him for his sudden arrival obviously wasn't going to help their situation, but Rebecca had always been outspoken. It wasn't in her nature to be dishonest, nor was it in her nature to allow herself to be disrespected. No matter how cute this guy was, he should have given her proper notice before literally dropping into her life. Yet for the sake of the horses she needed to forgive, forget, and start fresh.
"No, you don't have to go," Rebecca said. She rubbed her arm. It felt a little sore since she'd visited several of her regular customers that morning. In her human form she still felt sensations, although she'd been told it was psychological rather than physical. Most wraiths eventually preferred their spirit form. Maybe because Rebecca hadn't changed that long ago, she still enjoyed feeling mortal, even if it wasn't always comfortable.
Once she faded to her spirit form, the soreness in her arm would vanish and her corporeal body would be completely restored the next time she changed into it.
"Do you want to come inside for a drink?"