MUST LOVE GHOSTS, the first in the series, came one day when my mother-in-law told me how, every day, she talks to the urn holding the ashes of her mother. Much to my surprise, my scientifically-minded father-in-law chimed in that he too talks to the urns containing the ashes of his relatives. I’d always been a bit weirded out that my in-laws kept the ashes of all their nearest relatives and their pet dogs, but in that moment a spark of creativity ignited in my brain and I wondered, “What if a woman inherited the urns of her family members … and the spirits in the urns talked back?”
As usually happens, the idea for that story morphed and grew and became something different by the time I’d finished. But the kernel of that moment with my in-laws remained.
When I sent the first chapter of MUST LOVE GHOSTS to my critique partners, one of them marked a line where I’d written about how the heroine believed the hero had conned one of her patients. My awesome CP wondered in the margin if I could give a quick hit of juicy details, like the patient was a widow with two young children. Bam, the idea for THE EXORCIST WHO LOVED ME exploded in my brain.
That is where my story ideas come from: chance comments combining with the wackiness in my brain.
I hope you have as much fun reading THE EXORCIST WHO LOVED ME as I had writing it. And I had a lot of fun writing Holly’s and Lawe’s story, possibly because Lawe became my favorite book boyfriend as I wrote.
Speaking of fun, I’m giving away an e-copy of THE EXORCIST WHO LOVED ME to one lucky winner. Just leave a comment below and tell me who’s your book boyfriend.
The Exorcist Who Loved Me by Jennifer Savalli
Book #2 in the Must Love Ghosts series
Digging up the truth could lead them to their graves.
Hiring an exorcist is not something widowed single mom Holly Archer ever thought she’d do. But the blackouts she’s been having mean someone—or something—is hijacking her body and she wants it stopped, like yesterday.
The hottie who shows up at her door is the first man who’s sparked her interest since her awful marriage. It’s no hardship to give herself over to his skills, and in short order the spirit is ejected—and Holly comes face to face with Celia, the ghost of her dead husband’s mistress.
Lawe Callahan figured this would be an easy case, and by morning he’d be headed for another town, leaving Holly and her witchy amber eyes behind. Until she agrees to help the ghost, who refuses to budge until her killer is brought to justice.
As the investigation heats up, so does Lawe and Holly’s attraction. But their differences not only threaten any chance of something real, their quest for the truth could drive a killer to tie up all loose ends—permanently.
Warning: Contains a footloose exorcist who doesn’t let grave dirt stick to his feet for long, and a woman who isn’t in a hurry to commune with the dead. A little sleuthing, a little more gettin’ nekkid, and a lotta angst.
The man on her doorstep didn’t look like any priest Holly Archer had ever seen.
He was about her age, late twenties, and wore a black cowboy hat over curly brown hair. The fading red and orange sunlight glinted off his silver glasses. They were like some kind of steampunk accessory, round with dark lenses. Under an open jacket, his gray T-shirt stretched across a muscular chest unfairly wasted on a man of the cloth. She kept her eyes on the two necklaces he wore—one a silver cross and the other some kind of small leather pouch—to stop her gaze from roaming lower. She was already headed to the special corner of hell reserved for women who ogled holy men. Given the reason she’d called him, she’d get the upgrade to a direct flight, no stops, no waiting.
“You look more like a guitarist than a priest,” she said.
An awkward silence stretched out, broken only by the rustling of dead leaves falling from the trees.
“Yeah, I get that all the time,” he said at last. “I’m not a priest.”
“Oh, thank God. I mean, that’s a relief. I mean, that’s not what I mean.” Her fingers clenched on the doorframe, and she imagined banging her head into it. Stupid, stupid. She sounded like a teenager tongue-tied over a cute boy instead of an exhausted widow with toddler twins and absolutely no interest in men. One awful marriage had been enough.
His words caught up with her short-circuiting brain. “Wait, what do you mean you’re not a priest? I have a situation here that needs to be resolved, like, yesterday.”
Now he smiled, if you could call that slight shift of his lips a smile. “This isn’t the movies. We don’t need an old priest, a young priest, a goat, or the blood of a virgin. Or the blood of a non-virgin, for that matter.” He hitched the strap of his black duffel bag higher on his shoulder and held out a hand. “I’m Lawe Callahan. Exorcist.”
His skin wasn’t soft and manicured like her husband’s had been. What roughened an exorcist’s hands? Best not to think about it. Besides, he felt warm and comforting, and she was in desperate need of warmth and comfort.
“You really aren’t a priest? And you’ll still be able to get rid of...” Her voice trailed off and she swallowed. “You can get rid of my problem?”
He hadn’t let go of her hand, and now he gave it a squeeze. “Trust me. I’m good at what I do.”
He’d been recommended by someone she trusted. Okay, the paranormal investigator who’d done the preliminary work on her case had been recommended by someone she trusted. That guy had said she needed an exorcist and put her in touch with Lawe. It wasn’t like she had a lot of options. Googling “exorcist for hire” had produced a freakshow of possibilities. This guy seemed sane. Strange, but definitely sane.
She stepped back from the door. “Come on in.”