Ashley Gage sells out her half of G & J’s Renovations business to her partner, Rex Johnson, and leaves town after an ugly breakup with her husband of six years, who cheated on her. She settles in the town of Nashua, New Hampshire and purchases an old Victorian house that needs lots of elbow grease, tender loving care, and talent to bring it back to the splendor of its past.
She’s driven to succeed in everything she does, and she knows what this house needs and can do it herself. Just before she signs the deed on the bottom line, the realtor says, “I am legally obligated to tell you that someone died in the house.” Ashley laughs and signs for the dream house she’s always wanted. Will it become her nightmare or her wish come true?
Give us the one to two sentence tagline for your book.
Ashley works for what she wants, but will she want what she gets?
What is your favorite scene/moment in your book?
When Ashley and Eddie leave the cemetery hand and hand headed for her reconstructed home.
How do you use magic in your book?
I don’t. It’s paranormal, not witchcraft. Percy haunts the house that Ashley buys. They fall in love.
Would your hero enjoy pumpkin spice lattes, candy corn, or apple bobbing?
My heroine would love all of these. She’s a down-to-earth kind of gal. A hard worker who does reconstruction of Victorian-era homes.
What costume would your heroine (or hero if MM) wear to a halloween party?
Since she’s in overalls every day for work, she’d likely go all out for a Halloween party and wear something spectacular like a vintage Victorian ball gown, complete with fan, and over the top hair. She can work alongside the best and strongest of men, but she has a very feminine side too.
What scene did you adore writing in this book?
Every encounter she had with Eddie, the oversized African-American man she met on the airplane. Something about Eddie calms Ashley in the worst of times, makes her laughs, and makes her heart sing. He’s good for her in every way. She just doesn’t know it right away.
Is this book a spooky/scary PNR, or a cozy/snuggling with a monster PNR?
This book has twists. It’s not exactly any of the above, but unique. Ashley’s feelings for the ghost who haunts her home range from curious, to lust, to terror, to hate, and love, as she learns more about his past through the reading of his wife’s journal and by spending time with him each day.
What is your favorite monster to write?
Evil people with dark hearts.
If you had to pick, would you rather have fangs, claws, or wings?
Wings. I love birds and have feeds outside the picture window in the room where I write. Every day there are hundreds of birds including dozens of hummingbirds that I envy for their ability to fly around at will.
Halloween’s coming. Do you do anything special to celebrate?
My ten-year-old grandson enjoys Halloween more than Christmas, so every year we add to his collection of gravestones that he places outside the large hill in his front yard and help decorate it with life-size skeletons, hands that stick up from the ground, etc. My five-year-old granddaughter is an October baby. She insists that everyone come in costume to her birthday party, which I love. Last year, I was a butterfly. This year, my husband and I will be Mickey and Minnie Mouse. We love Halloween.
Excerpt from Driven by Desire
Ashley said, “Shit!”
That was always her reaction when a plaster wall gave in because it usually meant the entire wall had to be redone with sheetrock replacing the old plaster. She put the sander down, but Tootsie’s growls became ceaseless barks. She turned to her pet and said, “Chill, Tootsie, it’s not as bad as it looks. Momma can fix it.” The dog didn’t stop. Instead she kept barking, locked her tail between her legs, and backed up as far into the wall behind her as she could go. When Ashley turned to see what Tootsie was looking at, a man covered in plaster dust, dressed in slacks and a shirt was coming toward her from the wall.
“Stop. Stop,” she yelled and backed up too. Then Tootsie stopped barking, ran forward, showed her teeth, and growled at the intruder like she wanted to eat him alive.
He put his hand up and said, “I’m Perry, I’m not going to hurt you, Ashley. I promise.”
“How do you know my name? How did you get in here? I set the burglar alarms.”
“I live here in these walls. I’ve been here all along.”
She looked closely at him then. She couldn’t tell what color his hair was because he was covered in cracked and chalky plaster, but he was about five feet and ten inches tall with wide shoulders, a strong profile, and who the hell knew what color eyes because they seemed to be sunken in. She couldn’t tell his skin color because of the dust. His clothes were filthy.
“Who are you?”
“I’m Perry Lucier.”
“The Perry Lucier, who was killed by his crazy wife here in this house?” she asked.
“That very same.”
Ashley backed farther away, and Tootsie continued to growl. “I don’t believe you. I don’t believe in ghosts.”
“You need to. I’m here. I’m real. I can’t move on because my crazy wife shot me, buried me in that wall, and without a proper burial, my soul can’t move on.”
“So, you want me to believe I’m to bury you, and you’ll leave?”
Ashley felt herself up and down and pinched her cheeks to be certain she hadn’t fallen asleep after working all day. What was happening couldn’t be happening, could it?
“Actually, I’ve been watching you since you moved in. I think I’m in love. I’d like to stay if you’ll have me.”
“Are you, are you the man in my dreams?” she asked and blushed, thinking of how she’d been reacting to those dreams.
“I am.” He smiled.
“Oh my God, this isn’t happening,” she said.
“It is, and I’m glad. There have been plenty of owners of this place since it went up for sale by the city for unpaid taxes after Priscilla died. She never did tell them where she hid me. I scared them all away. But I want you and Tootsie to stay. I want to make you happy.”
It’s never too late to chase a writing dream. But in order to pen it best, an author must first live it. International Bestselling Author Rita Delude has done just that. Raised by a hardworking alcoholic in a house full of both love and chaos, Delude creates rich, deep characters, who pop from the page. Unafraid to dive into important young and new adult subjects like bullying, bigotry, homosexuality, drugs, kidnapping, and sexual abuse, she also writes adult contemporary, historical, and paranormal romance, and suspense/horror. Together, like the quilts she sews, her stories stitch together the experiences she’s had as a junior high teacher, college professor, newspaper reporter, parent, and grandparent.
Delude has published Kaleidoscope, Baby Blues, and Adam’s Anguish, a three-part contemporary romance set in Escape, CO around Alice Glover and her quilting shop and family and friends who run it. She’s also published Catch.net and Caught in the Middle, a two-part series about finding love on the internet and keeping the flame burning after almost a decade of marriage and two contemporary romance novellas Rhode Island Rendezvous and Chance Meeting. Sister’s Revenge is her horror/suspense read and Sweet Revenge is its sequel. Dracula’s Choice and Driven by Desire are adult paranormal romances for readers who enjoy the darker side of love. Her other works include YA romances: Bubble Gum Love, Lemon Yellow, and Lollipop Lure. She’s published short stories in numerous anthologies by multiple publishers.
These days, when she’s not out living and learning, she can be found quilting or researching for upcoming works including For the Love of Lily another World War II historical romance and Second Ride, a contemporary romance about lovers sharing the thrills of motorcycle riding.
Now a Crazy Ink exclusive author, she has been a magazine writer and a newspaper columnist for decades. Delude holds a MFA in Writing. She is retired from her position as a full professor at Nashua Community College, Nashua, New Hampshire. She lives in New Hampshire, USA with her husband and their rescue dog, Daisy.