It's been awhile since I've had the first book in a new series release. Games We Play consists of three books set in and around a haunted hotel in Atlas Beach, New Jersey. The Wild Geese Inn is owned and run by three cousins--and, no, those aren't the cousins on the cover of Truth or Dare!
Each cousin gets his or her own book. Truth or Dare is Gwyneth's story. Here's a peek:
The door to the reception desk showed no signs of ever having been stuck by the time Sheila arrived to take over for Gwyn. Of course it didn’t, Gwyn thought sourly. It had never stuck before and probably never would again. What she should have learned growing up here was not to take anything she heard or saw—or felt, or imagined—at face value.
A locked door was not always a locked door. And the things a guy might say when he wanted something from you often bore no relationship to actual fact. But for the hotel’s ghosts to have betrayed her… Well, she hadn’t been expecting that.
“Stupid, interfering haunts,” Gwyn muttered as she headed down the darkened service corridor toward the back stairway. “If you’re not going to help me, then leave me alone.”
She refused to be charmed by the playful breeze that scudded about the hallway carrying the echo of voices. And she didn’t even bother trying to make sense of what they were saying. Gwyn never could catch more than a couple of words at the best of times. Usually, she couldn’t even tell if the speaker was male or female, or what language was being spoken. But even though she ignored them, the conversation continued unabated, following her all the way up to her room, at the top of the tower, just under the eaves.
The patterned silk lampshade bathed the room in a warm, rosy glow when she switched on the light, but the chill in the air had her shivering as she crossed the floor to plug in the space heater she kept by her bed—or rather, the antique divan she used in place of a bed. It was hardly the best room in the house, although it had, by far, the best view of the ocean. Luckily for Gwyn, it was too small, too inconvenient, and a little too uncomfortable to rent out as a guest room. It was too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter; it was also lacking several amenities most guests would consider indispensable—like a closet and an en suite bath. But Gwyn loved it just the same.
Even with the room’s supposed deficiencies, it was her special place. When she’d played here as a child, she always pretended she was a princess imprisoned in a tower, looking down at her kingdom while she waited for her knights to arrive and help her free herself. Funny how there always had been two knights. She’d forgotten that. No wonder it had been so easy for Berke and Cam to convince her to get a little too adventurous, back in the day.
As she rifled through dresses on the garment rack that functioned as her closet, familiar, measured footsteps climbed the stairs to the tower. The creak of a door opening and closing had the hair standing up on her neck, just as it always did, but she didn’t bother turning. She knew there was nobody physically present. All the same, she addressed her unseen visitor. “Well, since you’re so in favor of this, what do you think?” She gestured at the rack of clothing. “Which one should I wear?”
Why she was even bothering to change her clothes was anyone’s guess. She should just go as she was. This wasn’t a date, and she certainly wasn’t trying to impress anyone. In fact, the last thing she wanted was for Berke or Cam to get the stupid idea that she still cared for either one of them. Because she didn’t. In fact, she cared so very little, she was seriously thinking of calling the whole thing off. She’d phone the front desk and leave a message to let them know she’d changed her mind…and then she’d be stuck hiding out for the next three days. Yeah, that wasn’t happening.
Outside, the wind moaned louder. A ripple of motion set the dresses swaying on the rack, as though unseen hands were shifting the hangers. Gwyn paused in her perusal when a voice that may or may not have originated in her head said, “That one.”
Gwyn’s eyebrows rose. “Really?”
The lights flickered as though in answer.
Well, all right then. Gwyn studied the dress in question, feeling more than a little dubious. It was considerably sexier than she felt right now. But maybe fake it till you make it was the way to go? After all, if she was really going through with this, she might as well do it in style.
“All right, fine,” she addressed the empty air. “Have it your way. Now, clear out and let me get dressed.”
Gwyn carried her dress over to the dressing area she’d set up behind a folding screen. When asked why she felt the need to dress and undress behind a screen in a room she didn’t share with anyone else, she’d insisted it was because she didn’t want to draw the curtains and shut out the view. Never mind that the view currently on tap was night sky and snowstorm, or that she was too high up, in any event, for anyone other than a skydiver to look in. Or that the only person who’d ever really asked was Brenda. They both knew Bren didn’t want to hear the truth anyway.