Gray Man. That's all he is, at first. This particular spirit might be unsettling . . . but, as it turns out, in a rather pleasant way.
* * * * *
Emma Moore’s vacation along the lower New England seaboard had everything to do with bolstering her flagging relationship and nothing to do with finding ghosts. But when eerie entries written in archaic script show up in her diary, she suspects they might be related to the shadowy figure suddenly clinging to her boyfriend’s back.
A shockingly orgasmic ride on a theme-park roller coaster and the mystifying utterances of a psychic stranger only strengthen Emma’s suspicion that something, or someone, is going bump—and hump—in the night. Getting to the bottom of this disturbing yet compelling phenomenon seems her only recourse.
Leaving Alan, her lawyer-boyfriend, behind in Boston to pursue his work and possibly an affair, Emma returns to the historic Connecticut inn where the intensely passionate Gray Man first appeared. What she discovers and experiences there bring her the most wrenching sadness and exhilarating hope she’s ever known…and the realization that there are no bounds in time and space any more than there are in the ocean that lies beyond her window.
* * * * *
"You turning in?" Alan asked with groggy indifference.
"In a bit." Emma swiveled and lowered her feet to the floor. She grabbed her robe, slipped it over her shoulders, and rose from the bed.
After licking his thumb and forefinger, Alan rolled toward the nightstand and pinched the candle’s wick, snuffing out its weak flame.
Emma slid her diary from a side-pocket of her suitcase, then padded to and through the French doors that separated the small bedroom from the small sitting room. This lovely, historic inn on the outskirts of a lovely, historic town had several two-room suites. Alan and she had been fortunate enough to get one. If it hadn’t been past Labor Day, they likely wouldn’t have been so lucky. After closing the doors behind her, Emma approached an antique desk—Queen Anne, she thought—and turned on an old oil lamp that had been converted to electric. Seating herself, she opened her diary within the pool of light.
She smiled. The diary, which seemed like such a girlish indulgence, was an impulse purchase she’d made shortly after moving to Boston. It had gilt-stamped covers of soft burgundy suede, gilt page-edges, and a dainty lock that opened with an equally dainty key she never used. Alan couldn’t care less about her private thoughts.
Turning to a new page, Emma smoothed it and began to write.
What is it I want?
I want passion to be part of my life again. Body, mind, heart and soul. I want the man I adore to adore me and share this passion. I want a sweet ache and sweeter haze to settle over me, settle into me, after we make love.
I want to be transported by joy, by wonder, by gratitude for my blessings. There was once magic in my dreams. I want my dreams back. I want to reclaim the magic. I want to look out this window in Connecticut and believe I can see moonlight reflected off the sand on a beach in Aruba.
Emma pressed her loosely fisted hand against her lips to stanch a tearful giggle. This abrupt reaction baffled her as much as what she’d written. "Get a grip," she whispered to herself, almost angrily swiping her fingers beneath her eyes.
She never effused like that. She rarely, since childhood, had an urge to titter and weep at the same time. She felt like a lunatic.
But despite her embarrassment, Emma didn’t cross out what she’d written or tear out the page. She further surprised herself by adding another line.
Am I being fair, and realistic, in wanting these things?
Confused, Emma tossed aside the pen and dropped her head to her hands. What the hell was wrong with her? She had a boyfriend most women would kill for. Thirty-six years old, goodlooking, courteous, financially secure.
But I want…
"Enough already." Emma briskly rubbed her face. Pushing back from the desk, she switched off the light and went to join her trophy man in bed.
As soon as her eyes opened to the sharp sunlight of a late-September morning, Emma realized she’d neglected to do something very, very important last night. Not only had she forgotten to stash her diary, she’d—
Shooting a quick glance at Alan, who seemed to be sleeping soundly, Emma slipped out of bed and into her bathrobe and pattered as quietly as possible to the sitting room. Easing open the door, hoping its thin squeak wouldn’t wake her companion, she rose up on the balls of her feet and took three long strides to the desk. Sure enough, the diary still lay there, wide open.
Emma reached out to snatch it and stuff it into her pocket. Her arm froze in midair.
Beneath the final line of her entry, a single word had been written in a jagged, archaic script.