Remembrance by Lynn Michaels
Originally published by Harlequin Temptation
Kindle Edition October 2010 by Lynn Michaels
This is another paranormal light
Finalist for the RWA RITA Award in short contemporary category
Back Cover Blurb
Cathy Martin doesn't believe in ghosts until she arrives at her famous grandmother's home on Martha's Vineyard to coauthor the actress's memoirs. Eight writers have already fled the island, and soon Cathy, too, is questioning the strange goings on -- and the motives of Fin McGraw.
Fin, the embodiment of her late grandfather as a young man, has become the constant companion of Cathy's very eccentric and very rich grandmother, Catherine Lindsay. He claims to be a struggling actor, yet his story rings false.
Cathy is suspicious even as she craves his touch, his scorching kisses. Does Fin have love or larceny on his mind?
The bedroom she'd always slept in shared the widow's walk, a bathroom and a sitting room with Cat's bedroom at the far end of the gallery. Other than the tangy smell of Pine-Sol and fresh sheets on the turned-down four poster bed, the room hadn't been altered since the last summer she'd spent at Cat's House. The summer she'd turned eighteen. The summer she'd met her ex-husband Garrett.
She could clear all of this junk out of her room and haul it up to the attic, but she'd had enough exercise for one day. She decided to take to the beach with Phineas's Rainbow.
Noel Penney was apt to show up. Two years ago he'd sent her an autographed copy of the book. In her thank you note Cathy wrote that she'd absolutely loved the book. She supposed she ought to read it just in case.
She tugged the wedding ring quilt off the bed, put on her sunglasses and made for the beach with her grandfather's biography tucked in the crook of her arm.
On the beach Cathy wrapped herself in the quilt and wiggled her back into a sand dune. Sand skittered around her as she leaned Phineas's Rainbow against her drawn-up knees.
Catherine Lindsay was the love of Phineas Martin's life. He'd met Cat in his mother-in-law's parlor in Boston on a sunny October afternoon in 1933, six months after he'd married Cat's first cousin Alma.
He'd slept with Cat that night, dumped Alma in the morning, and after lunch he'd caught the New York via Philadelphia train with Cat. Knowing her grandmother, Cathy was pretty sure Cat had seduced him. Poor Phineas never had a chance.
The sun came out from behind the clouds. The wind died as she opened the book to page 146, just before Phineas's cataclysmic meeting with Cat in his mother-in-law's parlor.
Lulled by the warm sand and the sun on her face, Cathy began to nod off in the middle of the third paragraph on page 149. She yawned, let the book fall open against her chest and her eyes drift shut. When she jerked awake, Cathy was curled on her side with the quilt tangled around her, her sunglasses and the book half under her head with one corner of it digging into her cheek.
She groaned and rolled stiffly onto her back, stared to yawn and stretch -- and froze as she looked up and saw her grandfather standing in front of her.
Leaning toward her with his hands wrapped around his thighs just above his knees. He wore black jeans and a v-neck sweater almost the same color as the dark hair falling over his navy-blue eyes. He smiled, and with his right hand lightly grazed the crease in her cheek.
"Next time you want to nap on the beach, pussy willow," he said, "call me and I'll loan you my shoulder."
The brush of his knuckles was so light, so barely there that Cathy felt nothing. Of course not, she thought dazedly, because he isn't here, he isn't real, no matter how alive he looks.
"Y-you're dead," she stammered.
His smile widened. He leaned closer, near enough for Cathy to count his eyelashes as the wind gusted and ruffled his hair around his ears.
"Do I look dead?" he asked.
His baritone voice had a soft, lilting cadence to it that Cathy had heard before but couldn't quite identify.
"I'm going to close my eyes," she said, "and count to ten. When I open them, you're going to be gone."
"Whatever you say, pussy willow."
His voice made her shiver as she closed her eyes, covered them with her hands and started counting.
"Eight -- nine -- ten." Cathy spread her fingers and opened her eyes.
He was gone.
She thrashed out of the tangled quilt and leaped to her feet. The wind lashed her hair in her eyes as she looked up and down the almost quarter mile of empty beach in both directions and felt herself start to tremble.
Where the hell had he gone? Where the hell had he come from? Her imagination or had she been dreaming? If so, he was the most vivid dream she'd ever had.
Never again so help her God, Cathy vowed, would she fall asleep on the beach. She snatched up the quilt, her sunglasses, Phineas's Rainbow and ran for Cat's House.