*Minion Juli steps into the Mistress’ office* “More of our guests have arrived, miss.”
Mistress peeks out the door! Oh, good! I had hoped we’d attract a few more. Ghosts! I love them. *steps out the door*
Well, now isn’t this party just turning out lovely? Our dear friend Julia Rachel Barrett seems to have brought a guest along with her. Julia, who is that guy? Well, never mind. I take it he pokes his nose in from time to time. Any friend of yours is welcome! Meanwhile, I’ll see if I can find a charm to help keep him where he belongs. Why don’t you tell us a little about his story?
Incorporeal, J.R. Barrett
Copyright Julia Barrett
Sara turned from the window, and clicked off her cell phone. Her lips moved, forming a silent, “Holy shit.”
Startled, her hand flew to her chest. “Christ! Would you stop doing that?”
“Sneaking up on me like that; it’s rude.”
“I did not sneak up on you. I stood right here the entire time you spoke on the phone.”
Sara turned in a slow circle. “Stood where?”
“Over here, by the sink.”
She faced slightly away from the sink and glanced out the corner of her eye. She could just see the faintly glimmering shape of a man. “You could announce your presence once in a while. I really dislike the thought that you might be, well, you know, spying on me.”
“In the bathing room?”
“Exactly,” Sara agreed. “In the bathroom. I like my privacy.”
“So you’ve said.”
Sara flipped open her computer and waited for it to boot up. She wanted to check her calendar.
“What do you mean by the words, holy shit?”
Sara jumped. “Stop doing that!”
“I have no other way to do it. I’m incorporeal, remember?”
“Yeah, as if I’m likely to forget. Go haunt someone else.” As she scrolled through her datebook, Sara heard a long-suffering sigh from over her left shoulder. “What?”
“You’d be rid of me so soon?”
“So soon?” Sara swiveled around on her chair. “It’s been two months. You showed up here two months ago and you refuse to leave.”
Sara heard his laughter, that familiar warm, deep, throaty laugh, and her stomach clenched. Yes, he had shown up two months ago, first in her shower, incorporeal, as he’d just reminded her, sending her screaming in terror from the bathing room; and then in her dreams, where he was about as corporeal as any man could get. Sara shivered despite the warmth of the room.
“It’s not a matter of refusing to leave; I’m not permitted to leave.”
“Well, why the hell not?” she grumbled. “Every other ghost leaves. They say a word or two, ask me to pass on a message, which I still refuse to do by the way, and they move on. So move on.”
“I can’t comply with your request. It’s not up to me; I’ve already said as much. Besides, do you really want me gone?”
Sara glanced over her shoulder in the general direction of the voice. “Don’t press your luck.”
“Why not? You like my luck, as you call it.” The low, suggestive whisper right beside her ear made Sara flinch, and not because he’d startled her again.
“Fucking horny ghost,” she muttered.
He laughed. As annoyed as she was with him, Sara couldn’t suppress a grin. Yes, he was a horny son of a bitch, but her dreams since he’d arrived, oh my god, they’d been scorching. Last night’s encounter still lingered in both her mind and body.
“So what’s holy shit?”
“Huh?” Sara gave herself a mental shake.
“You heard me.”
She could almost visualize him rolling his eyes and a corner of her mouth twitched. “You’re awfully nosy for an incorporeal being.” Sara sighed. “All right, I’ll tell you, but chances are you won’t understand what I’m talking about.”
“I don’t understand half of what you talk about, Sara. I’m just curious, that’s all.”
“Right.” Sara snorted. “You’re such a bossy ghost I keep forgetting how truly impotent you are.”
Oh, I hit the mark with that jab.
He roared at her. “Impotent, you say? Wait until you fall asleep, woman, and I’ll show you impotent!”
Choking back her laughter, Sara managed to ask, “Is that a threat or a promise?”
“Both.” He purred, and that one word sent Sara spiraling back into her dream.
“Enough. I have work to do. I’ve been asked to pick someone up at the airport on Friday.” Sara studied her calendar. “I’ve got a meeting scheduled that day, but I might be able to switch it.”
“So this is your holy shit, a trip to the airport?”
“Yup.” Sara couldn’t help it. She smiled and her smile felt a little smug, even to her. “I’m picking up a publisher.”
For a few seconds, there was complete silence in the kitchen. The lack of conversation surprised her. Sara had grown accustomed to his constant presence, even though he annoyed the hell out of her during her waking hours. She looked around the kitchen, scanning for his outline.
“So someone is finally interested in your ghost stories, eh?”
“Where’d you go?”
“I’m over here, on the couch.”
“You know, I really hate it when you move around like this. I like to know where you are. Can’t you wear bells or something?”
He snorted. “It’s just as tiresome for me to stand in one place as it is for you. At least you can get out. I’m trapped in this damn house, haunting you until, well, until I’m not haunting you.”
Sara rose from her chair and stretched. “I don’t know if she’s interested in my ghost stories, as you call them. I’ll see.” She filled the tea kettle with cold water and set it onto one of the gas burners. “I know it bothers you, but I’m going to make some coffee.”
“Would you mind having tea instead?”
“But I’m craving coffee and I’ve barely been able to use my new French press since you showed up.”
“You can buy coffee anytime you want at that Starbucks place. I hate it when you make coffee. It’s downright cruel. I may not be able to drink it, but it smells so good. We didn’t have coffee when I was…”
Sara interrupted. “But it’s my house and I want coffee. I didn’t sleep well last night.”
“Is that so?”
The voice was right at her neck again and Sara shivered. She swore she could feel the warmth of his breath against her skin, but she knew damn well ghosts didn’t breathe.
“It seems to me you slept very well.”
Sara turned around to face the ghost, despite the fact that she couldn’t see him. “Stop with the innuendos. You’re not being fair. I can’t help what I dream.”
“Yes you can. You choose to dream of me.”
“I do not. You enter my dreams uninvited.” Yeah right. He spoke the truth and she knew it.
“But not unwelcome, I should say.”
Sara turned the gas burner on. “At least I don’t have to worry about birth control in a dream,” she muttered.
“What was that?”
“I’m getting out the coffee grinder so you might want to make yourself scarce.” Ignoring his question, Sara pulled a bag of extra-bold Ethiopian coffee out of her freezer. She waved it in the air. “See? Pretend this is garlic. Be gone. I have work to do, I want a couple cups of coffee, and then I’m going for a hike. You skedaddle, you ghost.”
He snorted. She heard him say, “Garlic is for vampires,” and then the voice was gone.
Oh, a snarky ghost, is he? Now, listen you. *pokes ghost*
*smiles* I snark with the best of them, welcome to the party!
Julia’s story Incorporeal, if you’d like to check it out, is available at Amazon.
Bio- Julia Barrett
If one word describes me, it’s eclectic. Or so my friends say. I’m a lover of books, poetry, art, history, baseball, barbecue, chocolate, coffee, children, animals and the great outdoors. I’m a hospice nurse as well as a writer, but I got my first job at the age of twelve so believe me when I tell you if my heroines are doing it, I’ve probably done it. At the heart of every one of my stories is a real life event. (Even in Captured!)
If I was pressed to brand my romances, I guess I’d say I write romance for the thinking woman. Or I try. I layer my stories with meaning – I have fun, yes, but I draw on my literary background and I love nothing more than to sprinkle a special pixie dust composed of one part mythos, one part symbolism. I’m quite fond of Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung.
Family is everything to me. I keep my kids private, but my mom and dad and my poor husband are occasionally fair game! And I talk about my German shepherd, Jake, all the time.