The Caretaker by Gabriella Lucas

(about this author)

  • A WOMAN ACHING TO FIND LOVE AND PASSION . . .

    Nikki Quinn, fresh off an acrimonious divorce, is lookng for a place to live with her eleven-year-old daughter, a new job--and love. When she inherits her best friend's mansion, she has no idea that her friend's ghost lingers there, nor does she know that the spirit of Paddy Doyle, cursed over two hundred years ago, comes with the property. The truth about what really happened so long ago is buried deep within the recesses of Nikki's mind.

    Attracted to her new boss, Michael Williams, but mesmerized by Paddy's spirt and haunted by ghosts of the 1798 Irish Rebellion, Nikki straddles two worlds, as well as her past life and her present one.

    A MAN AFRAID TO LOVE AGAIN . . .

    Nikki's new boss, attorney Michael Williams, lost his wife in a tragic accident six years ago. When he meets Nikki, his heart tells him yes but his head tells him no. It's always been easy for Michael to walk away from a beautiful woman, but his feelings for Nikki are different. They reach deep into his heart; they transcend pain and time. When he finally opens his heart to her, he cannot begin to imagine how the ghosts of Ireland will affect his future . . . and threaten his life.

    Drawn into a loop of reincarnation and the supernatural, their lives hang in the balance.

    (260 pages) Spicy

    Excerpt

    Prologue

    1798, Wexford County, Ireland

    As the noose tightened around her neck, Mary Murphy gasped for air and cursed the man responsible for the horrors of this night. Summoning the powers of her pagan ancestors, she uttered a curse to make Paddy Doyle pay for her sister’s death. His soul would never be free; she would make sure of it.

    Like many women from Bunclody to Dublin Castle, Mary fought beside the men that day. They were tired of being forced to worship in secret in the woods, tired of teaching their children Gaelic in secret. Freedom from English rule and the cruelty of the Crown was a cause worth fighting and dying for.

    When they reached Wexford County, the King’s troops and the loyalist militia overran Mary’s small village. Outnumbered, battle-weary, splintered, and rundown, the small group of United Irishmen scattered. They tried to hide, but there was no hiding from the King’s troops as they advanced. When some of the rebels ran to the Wicklow Mountains, Mary told her betrothed, Paddy Doyle, to join them.

    “I’ll distract them and give them false information while you get Bridget to safety. Get my sister away from here!”

    “Mary, no! I won’t leave you here,” he cried.

    “Paddy, I’ll never make it out of here with her. But you know every blade of grass. You know how to avoid the English and you know the hiding places. Go now! Come back for me when Bridget is safe!”

    Paddy kissed her hard, harder than he ever had. “Take the flag, Mary. I’ll be back for it and for you,” he told her. “I vow another Murphy woman will never suffer as long as I can take a breath.”

    Before long, the English soldiers found her. She screamed at them in defiance. “I’m Father Murphy’s cousin! I know everything!”

    “Father Murphy’s cousin?” the captain said. “Bring her to me. The whore may have some value.”

    They took her to a cottage where they had set up headquarters. “Tell the captain where they’ve run, whore,” one of the soldiers screamed. “Tell him where they keep the pikes and muskets!”

    But Mary was stubborn. She lied about how many men there were and about how many muskets they had. She lied about their hiding places.

    A soldier struck her so hard that her lip split, but she spit the blood in his face. “Our cause is liberty,” she screamed. “The soul of the earth is made of Irish dust and blood!”

    The captain pushed her to the floor and held her down with his hands around her throat. She bit and kicked at him, but the soldiers swarmed over her, holding her down, pulling at her skirts. The captain ripped away her blouse and held the green fabric up to her eyes.

    “Wearing this color is treason, Mary Murphy. Yet in every village and town, we find women like you, women who defy the King, wearing this in your petticoats and cap ribbons.” He put his face inches from hers; she could smell his putrid breath. His eyes, the blackest eyes she had ever seen, bore through her. “Tell us where they are,” he demanded. “You’re a woman. What man leads you to this treason? Tell us where they hide and save yourself.”

    When he loosened his hands around her throat, waiting for an answer, she spit in his black eyes.

Reviews

Grade 
12/24/2009

Review

PUBLISHED IN THE AKRON BEACON JOURNAL DECEMBER 20, 2009:
AKRON BEACON JOURNAL

'The Caretaker' enjoyable
Published on Sunday, Dec 20, 2009

A happily-ever-after ending is one of the requirements for romances offered by the publisher of The Caretaker, according to the guidelines posted on its Web site. How the author gets her characters to that ending is what makes the book enjoyable or atrocious. The Caretaker, an imaginative ghost story by Medina writer Gabriella Lucas, is most enjoyable.

The main character is Nikki Quinn, a discouraged, just-divorced mom. With time running out on her need to find both a job and a new home for herself and her daughter, she's just gotten a call from her best friend Stephanie, who's come home from Ireland and is living in the house she inherited from her grandmother.

Nikki is due for a little good news, and she gets it when she's hired as office administrator of a law firm, whose youngest partner is a handsome widower named Michael Williams. For the bad news, Stephanie's breast cancer has advanced, and she may not have long to live. Stephanie tells Nikki she is comforted by her Irish lover, Paddy Doyle, who lives in the carriage house and makes her 'feel beautiful and young and healthy.'

Nikki and Michael begin a tentative relationship; when Stephanie dies, she leaves the house to Nikki — and Paddy stays with the house, along with a curse that has waited centuries and crossed the ocean to be broken.

The publisher gives The Caretaker a ''spicy'' rating, which should be observed: Steph's descriptions of her trysts with Paddy are spicy, and Nikki has a bad experience with a date. The Caretaker has humor, intelligence and regard for history...

    Grade 
    12/18/2009

    Review

    From BittenbyBooks Paranormal Review Site - 12/16/09:
    Nikki Quinn is a fighter. Surrounded by personal chaos and watching the life of her best friend fall apart, Nikki manages to struggle onward through a mystery swirling around a haunted house, very real paranormal activity, and reincarnation. Drawing on a re-interpretation of ancient Ireland and the bravery of the people who lived through dark times in its history, this engaging, modern tale is told in first-person.
    Nikki (Nyokna Quinn-Ulmschneider, to be exact) is an unlikely combination of Irish and Navajo (read: in tune with those spooky things that go bump in the night), mother to a young daughter, and survivor of an impending divorce she’s trying to keep from being bitter for the sake of her daughter as well as her own sanity. Starting a new job leads her to sexy Irish-American Michael Williams, a workaholic who lost his wife to tragedy and has been emotionally shuttered ever since. When her dear friend Stephanie dies, Nikki inherits not only her friend’s house but also a dangerously charming ghost named Paddy Doyle…with whom both Nikki and Stephanie are irrevocably entwined from their past lives. As the present rushes in threatening to overwhelm Nikki, she must make hard decisions in the face of a changing reality. Nothing in Nikki’s life is coincidence. Her personal life and work life collide, exploding into a complex, frightening mystery.
    Lucas creates memorable scenes and vividly-drawn characters (the menacing, possibly insane Ritter is unforgettable from his first description)... this is a compelling tale that reads easily and ends with emotional satisfaction.

      Grade 
      11/07/2009

      Review

      A great read, couldn't put it down! Enjoyed the paranormal, the romance and the Irish history. Almost felt as if I was there!

        Grade 
        10/21/2009

        Review

        http://redrosesforauthors.blogspot.com/2009/10/caretaker.html

        From redrosesforauthors
        Wednesday, 21 October 2009

        Just once in a while I am lucky enough to be asked to review a special book, a book that draws me in and holds me, mesmerising and engulfing my senses. The Caretaker is such a book.

        Nikki Quinn has both American Indian and Irish blood so it is hardly surprising that she is sensitive to the spirit world. However, when the story opens she is suffering from a painful divorce and looking for love. When her best friend Stephanie gets in touch by email and she realises that she is close to death, Nikki is forced to revisit the house where she had experienced odd feelings as a child. Her sadness at losing a friend, her need and her loneliness bring some surprises.

        On the work front Nikki is luckier. She has a brilliant new job and a boss she is falling in love with, but what she cannot know or expect is that she, Michael, Stephanie and the Caretaker are all bound by the terrible tragedies of the past. They must play out a dangerous game before Nikki can find love and happiness and a restless spirit can pass on.

        This is not the first book of this kind I have read but it is certainly one of the very best. This writer knows how to hook you and the story itself will haunt you. If you can only buy one book in the next few weeks or months make it this one. You will not regret it.
        FIVE RED ROSES. Linda Sole
        POSTED BY REDROSESFOR AUTHORS.REVIEWS AT 01:25

          Grade 
          09/27/2009

          Review

          From Romantic Times Book Reviews, Nov. 2009 Issue
          Lucas shows she's mastered writing in the first person . . . the paranormal is finely intertwined with the contemporary and some historical Irish events that set the plot in motion.
          SUMMARY:
          For Nikki Quinn, life at 30 isn't what she imagined. She's soon to be single, needs a job and a place to live with her daughter and is dealing with the impending death of her best friend, Steph. She finds a new job and a surprising attraction to her boss, widower Michael. Steph moves into her late grandmother's house to spend her final days close to the ghostly caretaker, Paddy Doyle, who was cursed in 1798.

          After her death, Steph becomes jealous, haunting Nikki and her daughter, who've inherited the old home. As the voices persist, Nikki learns she's lived and died before. For decades, women have tried to break Paddy's curse, but if Nikki can learn from the past, she has a chance to set him free. (WILD ROSE, Oct., 261 pp., $12.99) HOT

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            The Caretaker

            The Caretaker

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