Book Blitz & Excerpt: The Art of Getting Off + Giveaway

The Art of Getting Off Banner

The Art of Getting Off, by Alexandra Alan

Word Count: 15,425
Book Length: NOVELLA
Pages: 62



Add to Goodreads

Book Description


A blizzard, a crush and a gallon of innuendo heat up a cabin…

Sign up for skiing lessons, they said. It’ll be fun, they said. Ha!

It’s taken one month for Kalie Bowen to realize she hates bruising both her ass and her ego on top of a frigid mountain. It’s taken her less than a month to develop a colossal crush on her skiing instructor, Dex McCann.

He’s not only handsome, but also patient and supportive, whether she’s face-planting into the snow in front of him or having to be talked off a ski lift. He’s even rearranged his schedule so he can accommodate her request for a lesson on Christmas. Katie can’t help but wonder what he looks like without his goggles…and his clothes.

When a blizzard rolls across the mountains and forces Kalie and Dex to seek shelter in his cabin, the sparks between them fly faster than the ones in his wood stove. Kalie finds that Dex is very happy to teach her the art of getting off—even when there’s no ski lift involved.


“You can do this.”


“Come on, Kalie.”

“I can’t.”

“You have to.”

“There’s no way. No way.”

“Just relax. Take a deep breath. Let go.”


“I’m right here. I’ll catch you.”

Kalie Bowen tightened her grip on the brightly painted pole on the side of the padded chair. Even through her thick mittens, she could feel the coldness of the metal.

This was how she was going to die. And it would be horrible and embarrassing, because even though she’d never heard about anyone dying after getting stuck on a ski lift when they were dangling in the air barely higher than the outstretched fingertips of their super-attractive ski instructor, this was how it was going to happen anyway.

There was a good view, at least. Snow-capped peaks jutted into a crystal-blue sky, bushy pine trees sagged under the weight of fresh powder, and skiers carved perfect ‘S’ curves into the slope.

Oh, and on top of everything else, today was Christmas.

She was going to die on Christmas Day, falling eight feet from the ski lift meant to take children up the bunny slope.

When she’d signed up for private ski lessons a month ago, she’d filled out the questionnaire with her address and insurance information and signed on the line that said she wouldn’t sue the crap out of the resort if she broke anything. She’d skipped over the section for listing any pertinent information her instructor should know. In hindsight, it would have been a good idea to write ‘not super okay with heights,’ but of course, when she’d been filling out the paperwork, it hadn’t seemed important.

The first few times she’d gotten off the lift had been shaky, but acceptable.

“There’s an art to it,” her instructor, Dex, had said. It was all about relaxing. Easy for him to say.

A gust of wind, which on the ground would have been refreshing, rocked the chair. Kalie’s stomach settled into her ski boots, and her mittened grip tightened on the chair’s pole.

“You can do this,” Dex said again.

Kalie whimpered.

It would be much better if Dex weren’t super attractive. Sure. That could make a difference. His body was achingly tall and breathtakingly wide. Golden-blond hair tumbled effortlessly out from underneath his helmet and brushed against his lips, and he looked as if he’d been transplanted from a surfboard onto a snow-covered mountain. His mirrored goggles perched on a strong, wide nose that always seemed a few sunny hours away from getting burned. Then there was his voice.

Dear God, his voice.

Whatever he said in that deep, rumbling baritone made her tingle all over, whether it was ‘Try it again, but slower this time,’ or ‘Stick out your butt a little more,’ or ‘Snow.’

Yeah, so she had an enormous crush on her ski instructor.

It was stupid, honestly, because she’d only known him a month and only been to six lessons, and—the stupidest part of it all—she still hadn’t even seen his eyes. How was it possible to have a crush on someone without knowing that pivotal detail? She managed to, in any case.

And because she had said enormous crush on said super-attractive ski instructor, her mind drifted right as she was supposed to stand up and get off the ski lift, so instead of thinking about getting off the ski lift, she was thinking about getting off with him.

A small crowd formed around the lift tower, murmuring and pointing at her. She’d already been on the receiving end of enough double-takes for being the only adult on the kids’ slope. A bit of irritation joined the panic.

And she wasn’t even high enough to warrant a ladder.

As soon as he noticed she hadn’t disembarked, Dex had shouted something to the attendant and the lift had jerked to a sudden, gut-wrenching halt. He’d talked Kalie through undoing the bindings on her skis, and once those had fallen to the snow, he’d speared them onto the slope a safe distance away, then gone about trying to convince her to fall.

Large, gloved fingers closed around the toe of her boot.

“Just let go,” Dex said now.

The ground lurched below her, and Kalie let out another whimper.

“What’s stopping you?”

So much.

If she fell, she might break a leg. She might land on the compacted snow with enough force to snap her femur or crack a tibia or rip her ACL in half, then she would be stuck on a couch with crutches and powerful medication. Trapped inside, only able to stare regretfully out of the window.

“It’s far,” was what she finally managed to say.

Dex twisted his mouth in a suppressed smile. A dimple creased one cheek. Kalie focused on the dimple, because it seemed to lurch less than the ground.

It wasn’t just the fall that scared her. Falling in front of this man scared her, because she couldn’t bear to look like an idiot in front of him.

Of all excuses, it wasn’t the most logical. He undoubtedly already thought she was an idiot ever since the second lesson when she’d been unbalanced and nearly out-of-control and he’d shouted, “Pizza! Pizza!” and Kalie had shouted back, “Maybe later!” unaware he’d actually been telling her to angle her skis into a wedge so she could slow herself down.

Dex wiggled her boot gently. “You work on engines, right? That must be a lot harder than this.”

Fuck, and he even remembered what she’d told him about her job, although he’d left out a key detail—Kalie designed engines from behind the organized safety of a computer. There were too many moving parts inside an engine, and too many opportunities for pinched fingers, ripped-off arms, and grease stains that soaked into her skin like tattoos. Maybe she could blame her childhood for this, because when someone’s bitch of a grandmother told them that their dirty hands were the real reason behind their lack of friends, those words tended to set up residence in their brain and never want to leave.

Yet Dex remembered her job, and it gave her pause.

After her third lesson, he hadn’t had anyone scheduled after her, so they’d sat together on a sun-blasted picnic table right outside the lodge and sipped watery hot chocolate. It had been light conversation—jobs, pets, favorite vacations. She’d found out that, at twenty-eight, he was two years her junior. When he didn’t teach ski lessons, he was a trail-running guide, or a mountain-biking instructor, or he volunteered for the local trail-building crews. Kalie had asked him if he ever left the mountains, and he’d answered, “Only when dragged away. Or when I need groceries.”

He just needed a wild beard—which, judging from the stubble she’d seen a few weeks ago, would be a reddish gold—and he’d fit every mountain man stereotype. Kalie would bet he owned an ax. And looked great in plaid.

The ski chair swayed on the cable when a stronger breeze gave it a nudge, and Kalie let out a squeak as her arms cinched tighter around the pole.

“Okay,” Dex said beneath her. “Tell you what. If you jump down, I’ll buy you a drink after the lesson.” When Kalie frowned at him, he continued, “An alcoholic drink. Not that crappy hot cocoa. Come on.” Arms outstretched, he gestured toward himself with his gloved fingers.

“Are you trying to bribe me?”


She hated to admit it, but it was working. She’d been wanting to ask him out for a drink since that third lesson, but nerves had always gotten the better of her. It had been a while since her last relationship, and the very concept of boldness made her shake nearly as much as being stuck in a swaying lift chair.

He’d just given her an opening.

She inched forward on the vinyl seat and moved her hands to the thinner metal that formed the armrest.

Do it. Just fucking DO IT.

Kalie took a deep breath to prepare herself for dropping, but when she did, her body shifted just enough that the smooth fabric of her snow pants slipped off the snowmelt-slicked vinyl. She fell with a shrill yelp. Something twinged in her shoulder and she barely managed to keep a tight hold on the armrest. Strong arms wrapped around her thighs to support her, stilling her thrashing legs.

“Let go, Kalie.” He sounded muffled, and when she looked down, she realized why—his goggle-clad face was buried in her crotch.

Surprise short-circuited her thoughts and for a split second, she forgot she was high off the ground and released the chair. Dex took that moment to stumble backward out of reach of the swinging metal seat and loosened his grip so the front of her body slid down the front of his body. With her long underwear, her fleece, and both of their bulky ski jackets, it was a lot less erotic than it should have been. Her boots thudded on the packed snow.

A few people cheered. Someone whistled. Another person clapped, the sound muted by a pair of fuzzy gloves.

Before she could get too used to the feel of his—unfortunately—professional embrace, Dex gripped her shoulders and held her steady at arm’s length.

Her own reflection shone back at her from the iridescent lenses of his goggles—chapped lips, long nose and a few black curls escaping from her hat. The day wasn’t quite breezy enough to blame the wind for her flushed cheeks.

“You okay?” he said.

Kalie nodded, trying not to get distracted by the woodsy smell of him or how right it had felt to have his face in her—

“Put your skis back on.”


She was sure he was giving her an unamused look underneath those shining goggles.

“If you fall off a horse, you get back on,” Dex said. “If you get stuck on a chair lift, you ski down the slope then get back on the lift so you can practice getting off of it.”

“Um,” Kalie said, “I’m not sure that’s the best—”

He interrupted her with a wry twist of his lips. One of his eyebrows was probably raised. “Yeah? How long have you been teaching people how to ski?”

As they made their way down the children’s slope, Kalie decided the only bad thing about wearing mittens was that when she flipped someone off, no one could tell.

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Author

Alexandra Alan

Alexandra lives in Colorado with her partner and two very strange cats. Her nerdiest experience was when she had a heated discussion about Star Wars during a game of Dungeons & Dragons. Though she’s always on the lookout for more hobbies, some of her favorites are drawing, knitting, archery, rock climbing, brewing mead, and scrimshaw. The most badass she has ever felt was when she took jousting lessons for a year. She has never met a bad pun she hasn’t adored, and loves to read books that make her heart race.


Enter and get a FREE romance book from the author!

Alexandra Alan’s The Art of Getting Off Giveaway

ENTER HERE AND GET A FREE EBOOK FROM THE AUTHOR! Notice: This competition ends on 17th August 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

Book Blitz & Excerpt: Sun, Sea and Surprises + Giveaway

sea sun and Surprises Banner

Sun, Sea and Surprises by Larissa Vine

Word Count:  31,135
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 139



Add to Goodreads

Book Description

Summer of surprises…or summer of love?

Tessa feels like pinching herself. She’s going to be a bridesmaid at the wedding of the summer on an exotic island in Thailand. Finally, this is her chance at the A-lister life and the glitz and success that are sure to follow. All she has to do is shape up enough to look stunning in her bridesmaid’s dress. Easy, right? Especially with the super-hot and super-famous fitness star Josh Jordan to train her.

Josh Jordan can’t wait to coach Tessa. Not only will he get to spend time with her, but he’ll be doing what he loves, training people—the grass roots of his fitness empire. His summer’s starting out nicely, apart from one thing. He’s inherited a greedy, slobbery dog that seems hell-bent on shedding hair and chewing up every goddamn stick of furniture in his penthouse apartment.

As Josh and Tessa begin their workouts, their lust for each other blossoms. But with the wedding looming, Tessa still has a lot to achieve, and Josh continues to be at loggerheads with the dog.

Their summer turns out to be one surprise after another…but can they turn it into a summer of love?


Tessa drew a breath and flicked her dark hair back from her shoulders before running up the steps to the bar. Sounds from the party—slightly drunken voices, rising laughter—came from inside. And it wasn’t just any party. It was Bridgette’s engagement party, the social event of the year. Or so Bridgette had described it to Tessa, who still couldn’t believe that she’d been invited.

At the doors, Tessa stopped. Her stomach growled. She’d come straight from work and hadn’t had a chance to eat. But that was okay. It was a party—there was bound to be food. After hesitating for a second, she strode into the wall of sound.

The place was packed with about two hundred people, the women all Bridgette-wannabes, impossibly tall and skinny. Clearly, Bridgette found it comforting to surround herself with clones. The men resembled Bridgette’s fiancé, Brad, and were cookie-cutter handsome.

Tessa scanned the crowd for Bridgette. She needed to congratulate her. Huge displays of flowers looked down from pedestals and at the front of the room, Bridgette had created an Instagrammable photo opportunity by installing a rainbow arc of metallic balloons. Tessa half expected to see ice sculptures or for a fire breather to wander past.

She weaved through the guests on the hunt for Bridgette. In her head, she practiced what she was going to say to her. Congratulations? No, too lame. It had to be snappier to compete with the A-listers. Bridgette, wow, I’m so happy for you. But that remark could come off as insincere seeing that she hadn’t seen Bridgette since they’d left high school.

Bridgette, I— Tessa reached the food table. There was so much good stuff that she didn’t know where to look first. Tiny goat’s cheese quiches laden with caramelized onions lay next to open sandwiches with thick layers of pink salmon. A cheeseboard jostled with mini ramekins of tapenades and oh-so-plump grapes.

There was no one else at the table. Tessa reached to get a plate. It was so small that it would only fit a couple of things. Clearly, A-listers weren’t meant to eat. She loaded it up with as much as she could and was just about to walk away to find a quiet alcove to eat when her gaze fell onto the slices of cornbread. She loved cornbread. These were bursting with chives and sundried tomato. It would be suicide to drink on an empty stomach.

After glancing over her shoulders, she opened her purse. Then she picked up a couple of slices of cornbread, wrapped them in a napkin and dropped them into her bag.

“What are you doing?” a voice close by said.

Tessa nearly jumped out of her body.

She whipped her head around. To her horror, Bridgette was towering over her in skyscraper heels, scowling with all the wrath of her Viking heritage.

“I said what are you doing?” Bridgette’s voice rang out into the party. “OMG, Tessa! Were you stealing food like a poor person?”

Tessa blushed so hard that her earlobes burnt. “Don’t be silly, I…” she began. Bridgette stared at her, clearly waiting. Tessa felt the brunt of her blue-eyed gaze. The noise level in the room had dropped. People had abandoned their conversations and were openly eavesdropping.

“Well?” Bridgette said loudly.

Tessa wracked her brains.

Well?” Bridgette repeated.

“It’s just, the thing is…” Tessa wished there were a trapdoor beneath her feet that could open up. Then, at last, inspiration came. “I wanted to feed the seagulls,” she blurted.

“The seagulls?” Bridgette cocked an eyebrow.

“That’s right, the gulls.”

Bridgette made a sound that was not unlike a seagull squawk. “Oh, Tessa. You’re so quirky. I remember now. That’s one of the things that I love about you.”

Tessa was laughing too but with relief. “That’s right,” she replied. “You always said I was weird.”

Bridgette stooped and linked her arm through Tessa’s. “Well, my little zookeeper. Let’s go outside and find you some birdies to feed. There’s something that I want to ask you.”

Tessa’s stomach dropped. Something else? A sixth sense told her that it would be worse than the stolen bread.

Arm-in-arm, they walked through the crowds and onto the patio. Tessa caught her breath. Vancouver had never looked finer. They had a panorama view of the Pacific Ocean, which was bathed in the evening light that reflected off the windows of the skyscrapers, causing them to twinkle and sparkle like jewels. The mountains across the harbor were caught up in the same glorious golden glow.

To her left, multi-million-dollar cruise ships bobbed at the dock, waiting to whisk to Alaska people who’d flown in from around the world.

“What a view,” Tessa breathed. “It’s perfect. Bridgette, you’re so lucky.”

Bridgette smiled. “You have to make your own luck. Like with my fiancé, I could have chosen anyone. Not wanting to boast but I had my pick. I settled on Brad because he’s kind and caring and runs his own private medical practice. And when I saw him, I thought, why wait? I mean when you know, you just know, don’t you? That’s why we’re getting married next month.”

“You make a stunning couple.”

Bridgette nodded. “You’re not the first person to say that. When we announced our engagement on Instagram, nearly all my ten thousand followers liked my post. Followers from all areas of my life. And it got me thinking, who better than my oldest, dearest high school friends to be my bridesmaids? Vix has already said yes and I hope—”

She shot Tessa an expectant look.

“I said,” she repeated, her tone slightly sharper, “who better to be my bridesmaids than my dearest high school friends?”

“Oh, you mean Isobel and Christine,” Tessa said.

They were the girls who used to follow Queen Bee Bridgette around at school. Isobel was now an actress and Christine had gone on to be a model.

“No, not them,” Bridgette said. “Guess again.” She looked directly at Tessa.

Tessa shrugged. “I don’t know. I give up.” Bridgette had a whole line of A-listers to pick from.

Bridgette raised a perfectly plucked eyebrow and kept looking directly at Tessa.

Tessa swallowed. “You can’t mean…me?”

She expected Bridgette to burst out laughing because she must have misunderstood or maybe this was a prank. But Bridgette didn’t laugh. Her expression was serious. She tucked a strand of her Norwegian blonde hair behind her ear and fixed Tessa with her china-blue eyes.

“You did understand,” she said, her voice solemn. “I promise you, Tessa—and I’m not kidding here—you are going to be my bridesmaid at the event of the summer.”

Buy Links

Choose Your Store

First For Romance

About the Author

Larissa Vine

British-born Larissa Vine spent way too long traveling before settling in Vancouver, Canada. Now she lives close to the ocean and the mountains with her ever-patient family and her army of cats. Larissa tries to write what she loves to read – books which are tender, cheeky, even dirty sometimes. Books which are, above all…fun!


Enter and get a FREE romance book from the author!

Larissa Vine’s Sun, Sea and Surprises Giveaway

ENTER HERE AND GET A FREE EBOOK FROM THE AUTHOR! Notice: This competition ends on 27th July 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

Book Blitz & Excerpt: The Ghost Hunter and her Guy + Giveaway

Ghost Hunter and Her Guy

The Ghost Hunter and her Guy, by Larissa Vine

Book 4 in the Women on Top series

Word Count: 39,346
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 161



Add to Goodreads

Book Description

A love so strong, it’s supernatural.

When medium Jolene Gray is offered a lucrative contract as a psychic on a television show, she jumps at the chance. The money will pay for her spiritualist meetings that help connect people with their departed loved ones…and she’ll get to work with smoking-hot TV director Red MacFarlene. Jolene’s life is woefully lacking in romance. It’s hard to have a boyfriend with her spirit guide, Iris, always in her head.

This is Red McFarlene’s golden ticket, an opportunity to direct an episode of the phenomenally popular TV series Canada’s Most Haunted. By doing this, Red hopes to launch a new career directing movies like his sickeningly perfect brother. Bonus—the show’s ghost hunter is the gorgeous and gifted Jolene.

As filming starts on a famously haunted farm, a place steeped in tragedy with a history of vengeful ghosts, Jolene senses that the spirits want something, but her guide is blocking them from her, and she’s also sidetracked by her steamy romance with Red.

The ghost activity increases, though, and soon it’s not just the TV show that’s at stake. To face the specters and protect Red from dangerous paranormal forces, Jolene must ignore the voice in her head, and listen to her heart…before it’s too late.

Reader advisory: This book contains references to death and violence.


Jolene raced up the steps of the Mountain View Evangelical Baptist church and into the entrance area, dodging a few of the latecomers. She approached Eion, the head of the British Columbia Spiritualists’ Society, sitting at a trestle table with the collection box. He looked like he was on safari in a white linen suit. His gray cravat matched his steely hair.

He shot Jolene a pointed stare. “You’re nearly late.”

“I’m sorry. It’s the buses,” she panted. “How is it in there tonight?” She jerked her head toward the hall.

“We’ve got a full house as always,” Eion said. “I thought the heat would deter them, but it hasn’t.” He rattled the collection tin at an approaching couple then switched his attention back to Jolene.

“Go wait in the wings,” he said to her.

She hurried past him along the corridor into the room at the back, where she took off her purse then wound the strap around a metal hanger on the coat rail. She ducked into the tiny washroom. At once, Iris, Jolene’s spirit guide, started up in Jolene’s head. “Where’s your comb, lovie? Please tell me that you brought your comb. A pretty girl like you can’t be seen like this.”

Jolene rolled her eyes at Iris then checked her reflection in the mirror. It was true. People had often said that she was pretty with her big mouth, streaky blonde hair and slanting eyes. But Iris was right. At the moment, she did look a mess. Her hair hung in sweaty strands around her face.

She combed it with her fingers then hurried to the side of the stage and peered out from the wings. Her throat tightened. The hall was full like Eion had said. All the two hundred and fifty folding metal seats were occupied, and some people stood around the sides.

She and Eion had been running this meeting every Wednesday for the past two years. It had taken them a while to find a venue. All the nearby community centers had been booked and most of the churches that they’d approached hadn’t wanted to host her show. Some people viewed what she did as close to witchcraft. But then Eion had discovered this place and so every Wednesday, once Jolene had finished her shift at the hospital, she would change out of her scrubs and jump onto the bus. At first, the meetings had been small, but word had spread and, week by week, the numbers had grown.

A ripple of applause rang out from the crowd. Jolene realized that Eion had stepped onto the stage from the other side of the wings. He stopped in the center by a table and chair that had been set up for her. A microphone rested on a stand, set to chair height.

“Welcome, everyone,” he began.

There was a squeal of feedback, and Jolene flinched.

“My name is Eion Hughes”—Eion soldiered on—“and I run the Spiritualists’ Society of British Columbia. Now, I’m sure you don’t need me to introduce our guest. The waiting is over, ladies and gentlemen. Here’s the lady who’s brought so much comfort to many people…Jolene.”

The clapping grew louder. Jolene’s heart quickened.

Eion climbed down the steps to the front of the hall and fetched the roving mic. Drawing a breath, Jolene walked onto the stage. She stopped in the middle and stared out at the sea of faces. As she sat down on the chair, a hush fell over the audience. Jolene felt their anticipation in her chest. She knew that some people had traveled for hours to see her and that some showed up week after week, desperate for a message that never came. What if there aren’t any voices?

“It’s okay, lovie,” Iris said. “Calm yourself. The spirit world will look after you.”

Jolene licked her dry lips then spoke into the mic.

“Hello.” Her voice was shaky. “First, I need you to know that this doesn’t always work. Sometimes those in the spirit world don’t want to talk, and I can’t make them. You have to encourage them. This will only happen if you join in. And it’s done through love. You’ve got to open your hearts and let the love flow. Okay, so let’s see what I have here.”

A clamor of spirit voices sprang up in her head. Jolene smiled. Everyone spirit-side wanted to have their say. There was going to be no problem tonight. But they were all speaking at once in an unintelligible jumble. Male and female voices overlapped and undercut each other.

“Relax,” Iris piped up. “Tell them you’ll get to all of them. Focus on the quiet man.”

Jolene slowed her breath and tried to shift through the din. A man was speaking. His voice was softer than the rest and she sensed that he’d just passed.

“It’s Todd.” His voice was faint. “I’ve got a message for Judith.”

Is there a Judith in the audience?” she called.

She looked around the hall. No one acknowledged her, and she felt a lurch of fear. People were going to start calling her a fake at any second. Then, two rows from the back, a hand went up.

“I’m Judith.” A woman in a headscarf got to her feet.

Eion walked to Judith’s row. He reached past several people and handed her the mic. She was in her forties and had a tight, pinched face.

“Wood. I’m getting something about wood,” Jolene continued. “Do you live in Woodland Road?”

“Woodland Way,” Judith said.

“That’s right.” Jolene nodded. “I’m not getting that,” she said to Todd. “Sorry, come closer to me, not to your mom. Todd wants you to know, Judith, that you mustn’t worry about the insurance money.”

A moan fell from Judith’s lips. “Then it’s all right?” she asked.

“It’ll be paid by the end of July,” Todd said.

Jolene relayed the message to Judith who sat, smiling.

“Okay.” Jolene cleared her throat. “Now I’ve got a man coming in. I think he said his name was Craig. Does anyone recognize someone called Craig? Wait a minute. It’s Shirley he’s looking for. Shirley Black.”

A woman near the front row raised her hand.

“Can you stand up, please?” Jolene said.

The woman stood up. “My name’s Shirley, but it’s not Black.”

“And do you have a son called Craig?” Jolene asked. “He’s sixteen, right?”

Shirley’s eyes filled with tears and she nodded.

“He said he saw John recently and that you were talking about him.”

Shirley gasped.

“Sorry,” Jolene said. “I can’t hear him anymore.” The jangle of other voices had become too loud.

Tell her to wait,” Iris said. “I’ll get him back.” Jolene imagined Iris elbowing her way through the rabble, maybe jabbing people with her knitting needles, then dragging Craig to the front. Suddenly, Craig was talking again.

“How did you pass, Craig?” Jolene asked Craig aloud.

Shirley gave a shuddering sigh into the mic.

“You’ve got some of his hair in a locket, haven’t you?” Jolene said to Shirley, who nodded.

“And how did you pass, Craig?” Jolene repeated. “He said he had cancer.”

Shirley gave a tiny nod. Jolene sensed that it was taking all her self-control to not break down.

“He says you’re going on a holiday, aren’t you?” Jolene said.

“I don’t know,” Shirley replied.

“He says ‘Wherever you go, I’ll go with you’,” Jolene said.

Shirley started to cry and laugh at the same time.

The session continued with Jolene and Iris working as a team. Iris cajoled the quieter spirits and reprimanded the bossy ones, and Jolene passed on the messages to the audience.

An hour later, Jolene left the stage to a rousing storm of applause. She headed to the room at the back and collapsed onto the bench. She felt drained and her stomach hurt. When she channeled the spirits, they used up the energy from her solar plexus. Iris, who Jolene guessed was exhausted too, stayed silent.

Eion appeared with two mugs of tea, one of which he pressed into Jolene’s hands. She took a sip and made a face. It was so sweet. She could have stood a spoon up in all the sugar.

“Did you hear about April?” Eion asked, sitting.

Jolene shook her head. April was also a medium at the Spiritualists’ Society.

“Last Tuesday, she was sent to a house,” Eion said. “The owner was having incredible trouble with a spirit. So April went to calm the spirit and do you know what happened?”


“The spirit followed her home. I mean, honestly. She should have known what to do.”

“What’s that?” Jolene asked. Her mind was still on the meeting, and she was only half interested.

Eion blew on the steam from his mug. “If you look around a spirit’s place, they sometimes feel that they have the right to visit your place too. Before she left, she should have said to the spirit, ‘Go away. Don’t follow me.’”

“And that would have been enough?”

“It works like a charm. Did you see we were past capacity tonight?”

“Wasn’t it great?”

“We were over the fire regulation limit,” Eion said. “If it gets like that again, I’ll have to close the doors early.”

“What?” Jolene stared at him in horror. “But you can’t turn people away. You just can’t. Did you see how happy that woman was when she heard from her son? We’ll have to find a bigger hall.”

“I’ve tried and there aren’t any. I spoke to the priest here, and he said that this church is also free on Monday nights. Maybe you could run two meetings a week.”

“I can’t cut another shift. I have to make the rent.”

“You should never worry about money,” Eion said briskly. “The spirit world will always provide.”

It was easy for him to say, Jolene thought, with his waterfront house in West Vancouver and his comfortable cushion of retirement savings.

They drank their tea. Sometime later, when Jolene’s strength had returned, she said goodbye to Eion and left the church. As she walked down the steps, the sun was sinking low in the rose-colored sky. It was a gorgeous summer evening and the whole of Vancouver seemed to be on heat. She passed a couple who were making out at a bus stop. The man’s hand was high up inside the woman’s top. They seemed so in love—or was it lust?—that Jolene’s heart twisted. She wished that she had someone to share her life with, but it was tricky when she had Iris.

Iris had appeared on Jolene’s eleventh birthday and had announced that she would be Jolene’s spirit guide. Even after all these years, Jolene still knew little about her, which was surprising considering that she never shut up. Jolene had learned that Iris came from a fishing village in the West Country of England and that she’d lived in the Victorian era and had passed from tuberculosis when she was eighty-two. She’d spent her time baking scones and knitting while her husband Fred had been catching cod at sea.

Jolene imagined Iris to be stout from all the baking and with well-defined jaw muscles from talking too much. She pictured her in an ankle-length dress and an apron with her gray hair pinned, primly, on top of her head.

All of Jolene’s medium friends had spirit guides too, but theirs were a lot cooler and considerably more chilled. Juanita had Romanov, a Russian dissident. Sophia had a philosopher. Although Jolene loved Iris, she wished that she wouldn’t interfere quite so much. It was hard to get anything done—let alone have a romance—with a chatterbox grandmother living inside her head.

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Author

Larissa Vine

British-born Larissa Vine spent way too long traveling before settling in Vancouver, Canada. Now she lives close to the ocean and the mountains with her ever-patient family and her army of cats. Larissa tries to write what she loves to read – books which are tender, cheeky, even dirty sometimes. Books which are, above all…fun!


Enter and get a FREE romance book from the author!

Larissa Vine’s The Ghost Hunter and Her Guy Giveaway

ENTER HERE AND GET A FREE EBOOK FROM THE AUTHOR! Notice: This competition ends on 22nd June 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

Scroll Up