Book Excerpt from Ruby’s Letters


Book Excerpt


That was the only word Emma could think of to describe how she felt. Never before when she’d suffered an especially bad migraine had she felt like skipping from room to room while humming “Spoonful of Sugar.”

Okay, this Mary Poppins kick Sheila has me on is going to my head. Next I’ll be flying kites and kicking my knees up to “Step in Time.”

The house was quiet, the crew out getting lunch. Emma walked from room to room, her head free from pain. Relief coated her like a warm blanket.

Not even stepping into the damp, dreary cellar could ruin her mood. She didn’t know what it was, but it had something to do with Ryan Atkinson.

Dragging her mind off her G.C., she studied the recorder Sheila had lent her. She felt like an idiot, but if she was ever to get over her fears, she had to do this. She pressed the record button and held her hand out into the room.

“Is there anyone here?” She walked the perimeter of the room juggling the voice recorder and flashlight in one hand while taking arbitrary pictures with the other. She was never a good juggler, but since the vandalism in the master bedroom, Ryan had closed and chained the hatch. The only light came from her flashlight.

“What’s your name? Can you show yourself?”

This is ridiculous. There’s nothing here.

The air was cool, not icy, and she certainly didn’t sense another presence.

No, wait. She did feel another presence. Something that made her heartbeat quicken and her lady parts tingle. Something that brought with it that wonderful woodsy scent that smelled like—

“What are you doing down here?”


Emma had to do a fancy little dance and rather impressive juggling act—and she’d thought she couldn’t juggle—to avoid dropping all the items in her hands. Her heart accelerated even more, but she knew it had nothing to do with Ryan’s sudden appearance.

Surreptitiously, she hid the gadgets behind her back.

“Well?” he asked expectantly.

“I…uh, I was feeling much better so I thought I’d get some work done.”

Ryan crossed his arms in a suspicious gesture. He looked so strong and dangerous. God, he was sexy.

“What do you have to do down here? There are no fireplaces or heating systems, nor is the coal bin in any real need of major—what are you hiding behind your back?”

Thinking quickly, Emma held up the camera, hoping the small recorder was invisible in her palm. “I was taking pictures. For my company’s website, so people can see what a real nineteenth century Brooklyn brownstone looks like. I asked Mrs. Morris, and she said it was okay.”

Ryan’s stance didn’t relax a bit. “You were taking pictures?”


“In the dark?”

“Well, I—” Emma gasped when he clutched the wrist that had the camera cord wrapped around it. With his eyes locked on hers, he pulled her toward him. Breathing was impossible as he inched her closer to his rock-hard body. His impressive height dwarfed her, making her feel small and vulnerable and very, very feminine.

Please kiss me. I so want to feel those incredible lips against mine.

Instead of kissing her, the bastard, Ryan turned her hand over and took the recorder from it. He didn’t say a word. He simply held up the damning evidence, his eyebrows raised, waiting for a response.

Emma’s shoulders slumped and she swallowed her pride. “Okay, okay, I was doing a little bit of ghost hunting.”

“With a digital camera and a voice recorder?”

“Yes.” She raised her chin, daring him to belittle her.

Ryan studied the small device, turning it over as if to reflect the thoughts he turned over in his mind. “Can I help?”

Emma couldn’t have been more shocked than if he’d declared he’d been born a woman. “What, you—you want to help me?”

“Yeah, sure, why not?”

“It doesn’t seem like something you’d waste your time on.”

He gripped the recorder. “Look, there’s something going on in this house. If there’s anything here that could harm Betsy Morris in any way, I want to know about it.” He stared, his eyes boring into her. “So, can I be your ghost-hunting partner?”

Oh, thank God. She so didn’t want to do this alone. She swore it had nothing to do with the electricity emanating from him, pulling her in like opposite sides of a magnet. “Yes, please, I’d really like the company, and a witness to the fact that I’m not crazy.”

With a hesitant hand, Ryan reached out and stroked her temple. “How’s your head?”

Instinctively, she reached to brush his hand away, but instead she dropped her arm to her side. “It’s perfect. Thank you so much for what you did.”

His hand didn’t move, but his thumb brushed over her skin. His lips parted, eyes lowered. The air grew heavy with the tension that seemed to follow them everywhere, waiting for an opportunity to make itself known.

Suddenly, he jerked back and gasped for air.

“Ryan!” she called in alarm. “What’s wrong?”

Cold seeped into her bones and prickles erupted over the skin on her neck. Ryan heaved long deep breaths, like puffs of smoke in the air.

“I don’t know.” His voice was a bit frazzled. “Something pushed against my chest.” Stretching out his arm with the recorder in his hand, Ryan asked, “Who’s here?”

She didn’t hear anything, but from what Sheila said, she wasn’t supposed to. Electronic voice phenomena, or EVPs, could be heard only over an electronic device. What she’d heard yesterday was a disembodied voice.

The only sound came from the clicking of her digital camera.

“What’s your name?” Emma asked.

Ryan scanned the room. Still they heard nothing.
The smell of musk attacked her, making her gag.

Emma waved the flashlight from side to side. “Show yourself.”

Ryan stood beside her and gripped her hand as they waited for something to manifest. Her nervousness was apparent from her trembling hands and heavy breathing.

About The Book

Ruby's Letters CoverTitle: Ruby’s Letters

Author: Maggie van Well

Genre: Contemporary / Paranormal Romance

You never know what you’ll find behind the wall of a closed up fireplace.

Emma Hopkins is a recently divorced chimney sweep trying to make it in a man’s world. When she wins a huge job in Brooklyn Heights , she finds more than she bargains for; a sexy general contractor who makes her blood boil and an evil spirit who wants her dead.

Ryan Atkinson struggles to keep his once-successful general contracting business alive, but horrors in his past have made him a shell of the man he once was. Now he has to face those fears to save Emma from a murderous ghost hell-bent on revenge.

Together, Ryan and Emma become ghost hunting partners, hoping to solve the mystery behind Ruby’s letters. What they uncover is a one-hundred year old murder and a budding love that can’t be denied.

Author Bio

Maggie lives on Long Island with her husband, four insane children (no idea where they get that from) and three entertaining Italian greyhounds; Rosie, Stripe and Santa’s Little Helper (yes, that’s his real name). She also has two ringed-neck doves, because, ya know, who doesn’t like getting woken up at 2 in the morning by cooing?

She loves the ocean, and feels blessed to be able to go to the beach whenever she wants. She is addicted to café mochas, Godiva chocolate, and hidden object games. Seriously, there’s an intervention in her future.



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