Ghosts can’t hurt the living? The Darke sisters know otherwise.
Edwina Darke is one of a trio of ghost-hunting sisters who rid clients of their unwanted supernatural visitors. A badass by nature, Edwina doesn’t run from haunted houses, she runs into them. Yet no matter how many “ghosts” she debunks, she remains troubled by a demon from her own past.
Simon Teal is the co-owner of a historic B&B in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, a town famous for its connection to the 1812 War. Simon doesn’t believe in the spirit world, but something is chasing his customers away, so he reluctantly allows the Darke sisters to investigate.
As the team uncovers the star-crossed love behind the B&B haunting, Edwina and Simon’s attraction flares. It’s the last thing either of them needs. The dedicated Edwina refuses to lose herself in another relationship, and Simon is still reeling from a terrible betrayal.
When a darker presence reveals itself, triggering their protective instincts, Edwina and Simon succumb to temptation. But the evil entity has taken an interest in them, and if they don’t solve the mystery, someone new could end up going “into the light.”
And it could be one of them.
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Ghosts can’t hurt the living? The Darke sisters know otherwise.
Edwina, Susannah and Adelaide Darke are well-known paranormal investigators. Edwina is the tech expert, Susannah does the research, and Adelaide talks to ghosts. These badass siblings aren’t afraid of a little supernatural activity.
Unfortunately, each sister fears falling in love. And when they meet their matches, they’ll learn true love is one phenomenon they can’t debunk.
This was a house that had seen things.
At first, Edwina would have sworn that the King Street Bed and Breakfast was as benign as any other well-maintained historic house. With its white-painted brick exterior, clean windows and established garden, it had plenty of curb appeal.
But there was something beneath its pristine surface, something that beckoned. It was one of those houses that had its own personality. Its quirks gave it life. They drew her in and made her want to explore.
Although the original building was symmetrical, there were some modern additions around the back and side of the structure. It now boasted a couple of bay windows and what looked like a breakfast nook. In front, there was a series of older, smaller windows. These were clearly part of the original architecture, and Edwina could almost imagine the faces of long-dead inhabitants pressed up against them.
It was clear that a lot of money had been spent to keep the exterior of the building tidy and fresh. The paint on the black shutters was new, as were the roof shingles, and there was an inviting wraparound porch. In the front garden, a rainbow flag flew proudly. Several ferns hung around the porch, creating a sense of privacy and balance.
And yet, something had disturbed the equilibrium here.
Edwina knew from experience that appearances could be deceiving. Even the coziest homes could make one feel ill at ease. Conversely, she’d been inside buildings that frightened neighborhood children, and hadn’t found any evidence of spirit activity at all. She knew to keep an open mind.
She glanced around the corner at one of the additions. According to Adelaide—and her weird pal, Maria—construction projects often upset spirit people. Indeed, Edwina had often read accounts of hauntings that had occurred as the result of a renovation.
Ghosts didn’t always appreciate people coming into their spaces and changing things around. Was that the case in Simon Teal’s situation?
She doubted it. These additions weren’t brand-new and might have even been added by a previous owner.
She peeked around the side of the house. It opened into a spacious back garden, one with many healthy perennial plants, but the most striking feature of the garden was that it backed onto a wooded ravine. She imagined that one could feel somewhat intimidated standing in that green space. The massive trees provided a wide canopy, and although it was beautiful, there was something wild about it as well. The canopy blocked out any view of the nearby homes, adding a touch of primeval atmosphere.
A low ringing began in Edwina’s ears. No, a hum.
She walked back to where Susannah stood in front, but the hum didn’t go away. There was a voice-like quality to the sound, and she glanced at Susannah to see if she was making the noise. However, her sister was quietly checking out the house.
“You okay?” asked Susannah.
“Yeah.” Edwina rubbed her ear. “Just a weird ringing sensation. It started a second ago.”
“Hmm. Well, you know what they say. Someone’s talking about you.”
When Simon Teal opened the door, Edwina forgot about the clamor in her ear. She glanced up, and her breath caught in her throat.
Whoa. Their client was hot.
Not, like, hockey player hot or bodybuilder hot. She’d dated plenty of those dudes, and unfortunately, many of them had proven disappointing beyond the first titillating glance. No, Teal had a quieter appeal, but it appealed nonetheless. His blond hair was short, but long enough to run one’s fingers through, and judging from his uneven part, he’d been running his own fingers through it a lot. He wore nerd glasses with thick black frames, nice jeans and a gray polo shirt. Edwina couldn’t help noticing the style of shirt because it highlighted his intriguing biceps. He resembled the sexy professor character on her favorite nighttime drama. A scholarly sort who was hiding a devilish side.
Christ. She sounded like Adelaide now. She was already inventing his backstory.
And inserting herself into it, in a variety of lascivious ways.
Um, Ed. Not appropriate at all. The guy’s your client and he has a partner. Down, girl.
Susannah elbowed Edwina. “Hungry? You’re nibbling your lip.”
“Shut up.” Edwina pasted on a smile as they walked the remaining steps toward the door. She held out her hand. “Simon? I’m Edwina Darke. This is my sister Susannah.”
He shook their hands in turn. “Nice to meet you both. I appreciate you coming.” There was a wariness in his tone, but his hands were nice and warm, and they gave her a pleasant sort of tingle. So pleasant, Edwina was reluctant to let him go. He gestured at the house. “Welcome to the King Street B&B. Come on in.”
With its large foyer and grand wooden staircase, the bed and breakfast was definitely not the average nineteenth-century house. Even before the additions had been built, it must have been a fine property. Original hardwood stretched from the foyer into the other rooms. It had a gorgeous floor—polished and maintained, but full of charm with its nicks and dents.
How many people would have walked on those planks of wood? How many would have held that handrail as they headed upstairs? Susannah was usually the sort to gush about these things, but there was a bit of history geek in Edwina as well, and that geek was jumping for joy. She’d always gotten a thrill in old homes, from being able to touch the surfaces so many others had touched.
This property wasn’t decorated like other old houses that she’d seen, though. She’d been inside plenty that were embellished with lots of chintz and fussy wallpapers, so much so that one would think Laura Ashley had self-combusted in them. This bed and breakfast had more of a modern aesthetic. Although there were period features like intricate moldings and some antique furniture, it had been decorated with the modern guest in mind. There were a lot of sleek lines, and a neutral color palette helped the vintage features shine.
“You have a beautiful place.” Edwina knew she was gawking, but it was hard not to be impressed.
He ran his hand through his hair, which drew her attention back to those distracting biceps. “Thanks. It was full of florals and flock wallpaper when we bought it. Not really our thing.”
“You and your partner live on the property?” asked Susannah.
“Yeah. I mean, I do. My business partner lives offsite.”
Ah, a business partner. A happy little flutter struck the underside of Edwina’s ribs.
Release day: March 21, 2023
Universal sales link: https://books2read.com/u/3J6MNK
The Inspiration behind Darke Passion
Thanks so much to Carey for hosting me today! I’m thrilled to be able to share the news of my latest release, Darke Passion, Darke Paranormal Investigations 1.
The story behind Darke Passion is one that has been percolating in my brain for quite some time. It’s based on some local history, the haunting of a heritage property and a star-crossed love.
My Darke Paranormal Investigations series features 3 badass ghost-hunting sisters. Edwina, Susannah and Adelaide Darke all have a passion for the world of the supernatural, and Edwina lives to capture evidence on camera. Each book in the series will explore a different haunted location and we’ll see each sister find her own “happily ever after.”
The ghost story in Darke Passion has its roots in real history. I live in Ontario, Canada, and have always been fascinated by the history of Niagara-on-the-Lake, a quaint tourist town that isn’t far from where I live. Niagara-on-the-Lake was a key battle site in the War of 1812. One only needs to stroll through the town to get a sense for its intriguing past and the spirits who still seem to linger there.
In particular, I became interested in one of the historic B&B properties in the area, one that has a connection to Canadian war hero, General Isaac Brock. During the War of 1812, it is said that General Brock was secretly engaged to Lady Sophia Shaw, one of the residents of the home in question. Before the fateful Battle of Queenston Heights, Brock apparently rode out to see Sophia at her home before heading off to the battle that would claim his life. According to her descendants, Lady Sophia mourned the handsome officer for the rest of her life.
This tragic tale of love inspired the ghost story in my novel. Edwina Darke and her sisters are called to investigate the B&B and clear it of its pesky ghosts. Edwina never imagines that she’ll discover a romance of her own with the cute B&B owner. But will the dark entity at the house allow her to enjoy her newfound love?
I hope you’ll take this journey into the past with me, and that Darke Passion will find a place on your favourites shelf.
Rosanna Leo writes contemporary and paranormal romance. Her novel, A Reluctant Attraction, Handymen 3, is one of Oprah Daily's "50 of 2021's Most Anticipated Romance Novels." From Toronto, Canada, Rosanna occupies a house in the suburbs with her husband and their two sons, and spends most of her time being tolerated by their cat Sweetie. When not writing, Rosanna works for her local library, where she is busy laying the groundwork to become a library ghost one day.
Here's my Linktree link: https://linktr.ee/rleoauthor