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Stranded With Ella

Stranded with EllaPublisher: Munro Press
ISBN-13: 978-0-473-47455-3
Genre: Military Romance/Romantic Suspense
Release Date: 20 March 2019
Format: eBook
Length: Novel

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A ghost propels them together. Danger will try to rip them apart…

Ella Liddington-Walsh is turning quietly—make that noisily—insane, and it is all soldier Dillon Williams’s fault because the ghost harassing Ella belongs to HIM. Sleep-deprived and desperate, she drives to his country property to confront the man. One way or another, she will pass on her problem and finally sleep through the entire night. Not that her task will be easy since Dillon strikes her as a no-nonsense military man. A believer in ghosts—not so much.

Widower Dillon judges Ella’s pink hair, her weird stories of haunting and decides she’s crazy. He sends her packing, but a landslide brings the sassy lady returning like a boomerang. Unable to deny her shelter during the stormy night, he discovers an unwilling fascination and attraction for the curvy Ella, along with common ground and whoa! Steamy hijinks in his big bed.

After his wife’s murder, Dillon isn’t looking for romance, but a chance discovery brings the past and the present on a collision. Dillon realizes he likes Ella more than he should, and if he doesn’t stay alert, he’ll lose her in the same way he lost his wife.

Contains a determined, vintage-wearing heroine and a grumpy soldier who wears guilt like a second skin. On paper, they shouldn’t work but there’s no accounting for the power of attraction and a landslide blocking the road.

Excerpt

With a sigh, Ella eyed the gate blocking the driveway and the potholes beyond. Several of them appeared large enough to swallow her car. Perhaps she should park here and walk the rest of the way. Decision made, she pulled up in front of the gate and switched off the ignition. She hesitated. No, dithered.

This situation had disaster written all over it.

“Stop procrastinating, Ella. You will never have peace if you don’t do this.” After a deep inhalation, she opened the door and climbed out. Her favorite boots sank into three inches of mud, and she groaned.
Great. Just great.

Determined to create a positive impression, she’d changed at work into one of her favorite vintage dresses and a houndstooth swing coat. She should’ve stuck with her comfy uniform of polo shirt, jeans, and gumboots.

Ella yanked her leather boots from the mud. Sanity prevailed, and she stomped through yet more mud to her trunk. Creating a favorable impression wasn’t worth ruining her expensive boots. She did an ungainly one-legged stork hop as she exchanged muddy leather boots for practical gumboots.

Every instinct told her to forget this mission and return to her cottage. Who needed sleep anyway?

A sudden blast of frigid air struck her in the face. Her skin turned to goose flesh, the hair at her nape prickling with preternatural unease.

“Okay. Okay. I’m going.” Ella stomped to the gate and let herself through. She weaved her way past potholes filled with water and patches of mud and congratulated herself on not attempting to drive to the house.

A low growl froze her on the spot. Her gaze jumped from the mud puddle at her feet to the big, shaggy gray dog regarding her like its next dinner.

“Good doggie.” Ella’s voice trembled. She was so not a dog person. Give her a purring cat, a sexy romance on her e-reader, a glass of wine and call her happy. “G-good d-doggie.”

“What the hell are you doing?” a harsh voice demanded.

Ella’s tense muscles melted in relief. Soldier to the rescue. “I-I… Dillon Williams?” She recognized him, of course, but one didn’t plunge willy-nilly into a conversation of this sort.

“I repeat, what are you doing here?” In the rapidly dimming light, he was huge. Despite the cold, he wore a gray T-shirt covered by a red-and-black check flannel shirt. No coat for the tough soldier. A bushy black beard hid his features, but his bright blue eyes fired salvos of distrust.

“I need to talk to you, Dillon.” There, that had sounded positive and assertive.

“If you want to fuck a soldier, you’ve come to the wrong one. I’m not interested. Go, before I let Rufus say hello.”

“I-I—what? Why would you presume that?” Ella’s voice rose to chipmunk heights in her disbelief.

“You’re not the first,” he snapped.

“For your information, I prefer my men well-groomed and at least half-tame. You are neither. Are you going to invite me in or not? Look, I don’t want to be here, but I need sleep. So bad. I had to drive here with the window open to stay awake. I…” Aware she was babbling, Ella trailed off.

To cap things off, it started to rain. Not delicate drops but hard, driving bullets of water.

Dillon cursed.

Ella sucked in a breath and tried again. “Please. Let me talk, then I’ll leave. You might have a sexy body, but I have no designs on it. Truly, you’re not my type.”

Dillon snorted and clicked his fingers at the dog. “I can spare you five minutes before I feed the alpacas and get them into the shelter for the night.”

“Thank you,” Ella said, but Dillon had turned his back and was striding away, stepping over the puddles with ease.

The dog growled, baring sharp white teeth, before following his master.

Ella tackled the rest of the driveway, thankful for her gumboots. Her gaze jumped to the man’s jeans-clad backside. Fuck a soldier, indeed. She’d rather kick his sexy, muscular arse. Big oaf!

Breathless with the rapid ascent of the last bit of the sloped driveway, Ella was panting when she reached the impatient soldier. “I don’t have long legs.”

“Your legs look fine,” he said.

With any other man, she’d have expected a wink or at least a smile. Dillon Williams did neither, which left her floundering.

“We’ll talk in here,” he said, gesturing toward the carport.

“Fine.” She got it. She didn’t want to be here any more than he wanted her on his property.

Ella stepped out of the rain. The hard splatters rattled against the iron roof. Her gaze zapped to Dillon.

The man folded his arms over his wide chest. The gray dog sat at his feet, the canine’s amber eyes alert and watching her every move.

Such a warm welcome.

“Well,” Dillon demanded in a not-so-silent prod for her to get talking.

“I-I don’t k-know where to start.”

“The beginning.”

“Thank you, Mr. Obvious.”

He inclined his head, his big hand rubbing behind the dog’s ears.

Thoughts of those hands stroking her body popped into her mind, and she jerked away her gaze. A croak wriggled its way up her tight throat. She coughed and tried again.

“I’ve been having dreams.”

Dillon snorted.

“Will you give me a chance? This is difficult enough without your smartarse commentary.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“There is a woman haunting me,” Ella blurted. “Every night. I’m not getting any sleep. And she says she won’t leave me alone until I give you a message. That’s why I’m here.”

“A ghost?” His dark brows rose above those bright eyes of his. Suspicion radiated off him in waves.

Ella swallowed, her gaze settling on her muddy boots. She’d guessed at his disbelief. Who in their right mind believed in ghosts? “She said I should tell you not to blame yourself, that you have to move on with the future.”

“The ghost said this?”

“Yes, she said it’s not your fault. Okay, I’ve delivered the message, and I’m going now.”

Ella stepped from the shelter of the carport. Rain pelted her hot cheeks, and she welcomed the chilly blast.
Strong fingers banded around her biceps, yanking her to a halt.

“Lady, you’re a piece of work. What is your game?”

“No game,” Ella took a giant step back, pulling from the contact. “I’m leaving, and you’ll never need to deal with me again. Promise.” Ella turned her back, holding her breath as she made her escape. This time, he let her depart, and she trekked to the gate and her vehicle in double-time.

She jumped in her car and grabbed a packet of tissues from her handbag. She wiped her wet face, dragged on the seatbelt and started her car for the journey home. Once there, she’d shower, have a glass of wine, and forget the rude soldier and this entire crazy situation.

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