Saturday, October 3, 2009

Provoking the Spirit by Crista McHugh

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 his erection.

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

“EMF?”

“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?”

“Nope.”

“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?