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Authors: Crista McHugh

Provoking the Spirit

BOOK: Provoking the Spirit
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Provoking the Spirit
Crista McHugh
Phaze (2012)

Remy Robicheaux didn't know that when he bought his home, it would come with a ghost. Anxious to get rid of the spirit, he calls his little sister's best friend to help him. Instead of the gawky teenager he once knew, he finds himself face to face with a temptress.

Ainsley Brennen enjoys being an amateur ghost hunter, but when her high school crush calls her to help him figure out the strange activity in his house, her feelings for him are resurrected in a way that makes her knees weak. In an effort to get to the bottom of the haunting, she discovers there's more than one way to provoke a spirit.


This title has been previously published and has been revised and re-released by the author.





Provoking the Spirit


Crista McHugh



Provoking The Spirit

Copyright 2011 by Crista McHugh


Kindle Edition


Cover Art by Sweet 'N Spicy Designs

Formatted by
Iron Horse Formatting


All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author or publisher except for the use of brief quotations in critical articles or reviews.

This is a work of fiction. Names, places, businesses, characters and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, actual events or locales is purely coincidental.




Table Of Contents


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Dear Reader

Bonus Excerpt: Alchemy Of Desire

Author Bio

Other Titles By Crista McHugh

Praise For Crista McHugh







Chapter One




“Thank you for coming, Ains. It’s nice to have someone who believes me.”

Ainsley Brennen looked up from taping the cords to the hardwood floor. “If what you’ve been telling me is true, then we’re in for an interesting evening.”

Remy Robicheaux flashed his charming grin at her, the same one that made her weak in the knees when she was a teenager. She’d always had a thing for her best friend’s older brother. Even though he was thirty, he still looked like a college quarterback with his tanned skin, toned body, and piercing blue eyes. When he grinned, the dimples cut deeper into his cheeks, and her body grew warm.

Dammit, get a hold of yourself

“Yeah, I was shocked when Nan told me you were into this stuff.”

She stood and checked the camera angle. “New Orleans is crawling with paranormal activity. Why wouldn’t there be a group of ghost hunters?”

“But I was talking about you. It’s just not something I’d picture you doing.”

“Why is that?”

He looked away and cleared his throat. “Well, it’s just because you’ve always seemed so, um…”

“Boring?” She turned to check the status of the cameras down the hall. Some things would never change.

He followed her. “You’re a CPA, Ainsley. It’s not exactly the type of job that attracts thrill seekers or risk takers.”

She kept walking. “What you know about me, you could fit in something the size of your little finger.”

“Is that so?” he asked in that velvet voice she’d heard him use dozens of times when he was flirting with whatever formation of legs and tits that caught his attention.

She stopped and sighed. If he was going to pull this shit with her, she’d never be able to focus. “Remy, if you want us to prove whether or not your house is haunted, then you need to leave us alone while we set up the equipment.” Her voice sounded harsh, even to her own ears.

He held up his hands and backed away. “Fair enough. Maybe I should go out and get some food for y’all.”

“That would be awesome,” her partner, Eric, called out from upstairs. “We love it when the home owners feed us.”

“Damn straight,” Tyrone added as he unrolled the cords leading from the kitchen. “Does Delmonico’s do take-out?”

“Ha-ha,” Remy replied dryly. “I’m still paying for the renovations on this place. It’s going to be sandwiches and chips.” He grabbed his Duke baseball cap and slipped out the front door.

As soon as Remy’s car left, Eric said, “I can’t believe this place. This has to be the nicest house we’ve worked in.”

“Remy’s a lawyer and comes from old money. This is probably a cozy cottage to him.”

But she had to admit, the newly renovated Garden District Victorian home was gorgeous. Remy had taken care to keep everything period, from the polished hardwood floors to the Tiffany glass insert above the front door. If she had a million dollars to throw around, she would have bought it.

“So what’s the story?” Eric asked.

Ainsley taped the cords coming from the kitchen to the floor so no one would trip over them. “Remy bought this house after Katrina and spent a year working on it before he moved in. About halfway through the renovations, he started hearing things like footsteps or a woman crying. After he settled in, things started moving, and a couple of months ago, one of his guests was supposedly attacked by something unseen.”

“Sounds like the ghost didn’t like having the place torn up and changed.” Tyrone took the tape from her and bounded up the carved staircase.

“Either that, or it didn’t like the guest. Whatever it is, I think he just wants us to prove he’s not seeing or hearing things.” She ran her hand over the banister, and the hairs on the back of her neck stood on end. Perhaps there was some truth to Remy’s claims.

“That’s what we do best.” Eric waved for her to come upstairs. “Hey, come check where we put the camera in the master bedroom.”

She followed him up to Remy’s room. A massive mahogany bed filed the center of the room. She wondered how many women had been seduced by Remy’s charms and ended up there over the years. Her throat tightened when she realized she’d never be one of them.

“I have it pointed so we have a good shot of the bed and door. What do you think?”

She stood behind the tripod and stared in the same direction as the camera lens. “Looks good to me. We’ll go downstairs and see how it shows up on the screen.”

Eric caught her eye. “Ainsley, when I asked what the story was, I meant between you two.”

“What do you mean? Between me and Remy?” She chuckled. “Absolutely nothing. Never has been, never will be.”

“Are you so sure? I saw the way he was watching you while you set up downstairs.”

“And how was he watching me?”

He grinned. “Like a wolf getting ready to pounce on a lamb.”

She laughed harder now. “Remy is like a big brother to me. Are you sure you know what you saw?”

“Well, if I was reading him right—”

“I’m not his type, Eric. Trust me.”

Tyrone peeked his head through the door. “Sounds like a party in here. I’m done on my end. And let me tell you how grateful I am this place has A/C. It’s still hotter than hell outside.”

“Alright, it looks like we’re set up.” Ainsley left the room as quickly as she could without running. She was glad Tyrone had interrupted her conversation with Eric. She didn’t want to think of Remy being interested in her; those hopes had vanished years ago. “When it gets dark, we’ll go lights out and see if this house is really haunted.”







Chapter Two




Remy sat on the couch and watched Ainsley as she wandered around the front parlor with a small hand-held device. Her thin cami-style tank top hugged the curves of her body the same way her jeans did, and the small nubs in the center of her breasts made it very clear she wasn’t wearing a bra. When did she get boobs? He was used to seeing her in the baggy pants and frumpy t-shirts she always wore in high school.

But he hadn’t seen her in over three years, and a lot had changed. When she showed up on his front porch wearing that outfit, he almost didn’t recognize her. Her hair was shorter than he remembered, just falling past her shoulders now, and she wore some kind of gloss that made her lips look deliciously kissable.

“What are you doing?” he asked, hoping to get his mind off her body before the bulge in his pants grew large enough to be noticeable. Hell, this was Nan’s best friend, after all. They would probably giggle behind closed doors later if she saw how turned on he was.

“I’m checking EMF readings in this room.”


“Electromagnetic fields. If I get a spike, it may indicate paranormal activity.”

“In English?”

She rolled her eyes. “If the number goes up on my meter, it may mean you have a ghost.”

“Anything so far?”


“So you’re thinking I’m full of shit, aren’t you?”

“No, not yet.” She placed the device on an end table and pulled her hair up into a ponytail, revealing the back of her neck.

He always had a weakness for that part of a woman’s anatomy. He liked the way they responded when he kissed it. “Well, there’s something about the activity that I neglected to tell you about earlier.”

She crossed her arms as she approached him. “What?”

“The activity seems to pick up when I have women over.”

“What do you mean?”

He ran his fingers through his hair. Why did he feel embarrassed telling her this? “Well, the first time I brought a date over, that’s when the lamp broke over here.”

“What were you doing at the time?”

He grinned. As if she didn’t know. “We were on the couch—”

“Never mind—I get the idea. Did the room feel cold when this happened?”

“What does that have to do with ghosts?”

“One theory is that ghosts need to draw energy from the environment to make things happen. Heat is a form of energy, and when a spirit manifests itself, it leaves behind a cold spot.”

“I remember feeling a bit chilly since I was half naked.”

She looked like she had just bitten into a lemon. “Spare me the details.” She chewed her bottom lip, making it look more full and tempting than before. “Hmm… It sounds like your ghost is either a jealous woman or a religious fanatic.”

“Yeah, well, it’s really put a damper on dating, if you know what I mean. I can’t bring any women home with me without them running away screaming.”

“No, it’s put a damper on your sex life. And what makes you think it’s the ghost that’s scaring them away? It could be you.”

“Ouch, that was below the belt.”

Her eyes flickered to his crotch, and her lips twitched as she tried to suppress a smile. “Maybe you need to be knocked down a few notches.”

“Glad to know you haven’t lost your sarcasm over the years.”

She laughed, and his pulse raced. Why was he suddenly so attracted to her now?

“Why do you think Nan and I have been friends for so long? We’re both snarky bitches.”

“No arguments from me. It’s one of the things that’s always set you apart from other girls.”
And turns me on
. “I always looked forward to our banter whenever you came over. You’re the only one of Nan’s friends I liked. And you’ve definitely gotten sexier over the years.” He winced. Had those words just slipped out of his mouth?

She frowned. “Cut the crap, Remy. Now I know you probably haven’t gotten laid in a while because you’re flirting with me.”

He laughed, despite her insult. “You don’t think you’re sexy?”

“I’m not your type. I have a brain, and I’m only a B-cup.”

Her retort hit him like a punch in the gut. Did she really think that about him? “You still didn’t answer my question.”

“I think I’m sexy in my own way. I don’t have to dress like a slut to prove it.”

She leaned over to run the meter along the lamp cord on the sofa table behind him, and he caught a glimpse of her cleavage. His skin grew warm. Yes, she didn’t have to dress up to arouse him. “Why don’t you sit down for a moment?” He patted the seat next to him.

She slid down the back of the couch and sat on the opposite end. Her fingers caught the end of her ponytail and twirled it around them. “We’ll probably be wrapping up soon. It’s almost one AM.”

BOOK: Provoking the Spirit
13.99Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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