The Sexy Ghost
Happy Medium, the third book in my Ramos Family trilogy, was released by Berkley Intermix on January 21. All three books are ghost stories, and they feature a family of reluctant mediums who only discover their powers when they’re confronted by some nasty ghosts who need to be eliminated.
When I started working on Happy Medium, I’d already used ghosts who wanted someone to avenge their deaths (the traditional ghostly function) in Medium Well and with ghosts who wanted to increase their power by sucking vitality from humans (a slightly less traditional ghostly function) in Medium Rare. So I’d dealt with ghosts seeking justice and seeking power—what else could they be looking for? Sex, maybe?
Succubi (and incubi, the male version), are spirits who get off on sex with humans. This idea has been around for a long, long time—Lilith, Adam’s first wife, is supposed to be a succubus in Jewish mythology, and succubi show up in folklore in a variety of cultures. Succubi are seductresses, who prey on unsuspecting men with their sexual skills. And they’re also shape-shifters, which allows them to assume the form of loved ones, or someone you truly covet.
My hero, Ray Ramos, has to contend with this seductive ghost, but he’s more repulsed than attracted. This particular succubus haunts the house he’s trying to renovate, and she’s set free when he takes part in a séance that was supposed to be fake. Unfortunately, when Ray, a hereditary medium, takes part in the séance, it becomes the real thing. Leaving Ray with a sexy ghost who has definite boundary problems.
But I along with Ray’s difficulties, I wanted to do something slightly different with my particular succubus. She also haunts my heroine, Emma Shea, who has a few self esteem problems. As it turns out, my sexy ghost finds female victims by convincing them her skills can bring them the man of their dreams. It’s a very seductive promise—let me use your body, and he’ll never leave you. My heroine knows better than most that that promise is fatal, but even she finds herself tempted.
In the end, Ray and Emma have to find a way to destroy the succubus without being destroyed themselves, all the while working around Emma’s employer, a phony television medium who has no idea what she’s up against—or even that she’s up against anything at all.
Here’s a little taste of what Emma’s up against:
She closed her eyes. If this room wasn’t safe, what room was?
You’re nothing. You’re less than nothing, the voice whispered. He’ll leave you soon.
Emma stiffened. “I know it’s you,” she muttered. “This won’t work.”
He’ll leave you because you’re nothing, the voice hissed viciously. You’re pitiful. Look at yourself. A fat frump. He doesn’t want you.
Emma’s shoulders tightened. She shook her head.
He’ll leave you. Why would he stay? What could possibly make him want you?
Her breath rattled in her throat, her hands fisting at her sides.
I could help you. I could make him want you. The voice was smoother now. Almost seductive. Once he’d experienced what I can do, he’d never leave.
Emma shook her head, her heart hammering almost painfully. “Like you helped Amina? No thanks.”
An image flashed through her mind—Ray naked beneath her, staring up with glazed, adoring eyes. He’d never leave. She’d never have to worry. She’d have him always, all hers. No matter how fat she was. No matter how ugly.
All hers. Until the succubus consumed them both.
Emma closed her eyes. “No. I won’t. No.”
You’re nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing.
She turned toward the door, running, half-blind with tears.
The blurb for Happy Medium:
Love is good for the soul… unless it’s one that you’re trying to exorcise.
Ray Ramos has a problem–the King William District mansion he and his business partner purchased for a fast renovation needs more work than expected. Ray could use a quick infusion of cash. Enter Emma Shea, assistant to Gabrielle DeVere, the star of American Medium. Gabrielle is looking for San Antonio houses to use for her televised séances, and Ray’s fixer upper seems to fit.
When Gabrielle does a sample séance, Ray and Emma become the target of a touchy ghost with no respect for boundaries. After Ray learns his family has a special affinity for ghosts, the two decide to investigate the haunted house. It doesn’t hurt that Emma is immediately attracted to the laconic Ray or that Ray is intrigued by the buttoned-down beauty who seems determined to hide her considerable assets behind sober business suits. But can the two of them fight off a vengeful succubus bound to the house while getting a lot closer than either of them planned?