Ghostly Acts

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Ghostly Acts

“Her first love is supposed to be fun and exciting, but it’s very dangerous with the ghost of a murdered 1860s cowboy who’s pledged to protect her.”

Multiple Award-Winning YA Paranormal Thriller by Melinda Rucker Haynes

Available in Paperback from The Wild Rose Press Now!

Available in Paperback from Amazon!

Available for Kindle from Amazon!

Now available on Audiobook!

Synopsis * First Line * Favorite Passage * Story Behind the Story * Awards * Reviews


The world is ending…or so it seems for junior tennis champion Ele O’Neill. How can she face life in a Montana ghost town after Seattle? No tennis courts, no friends, and she’s stuck in a falling down old theatre with a rotten little brother and parents who are acting like aliens. And something’s hiding in Ele’s room, watching her every move, but no one will listen to her.

Steven Douglas is a nineteen-year-old cowboy with one little problem—he’s been dead for over one hundred fifty years. He’s supposed to protect the weird O’Neill family from unimaginable evil lurking in the theatre, but the modern world of tight jeans and outspoken young ladies—namely tall, blonde Ele O’Neill—has his full attention.

Though he seems kind of old-fashioned, Ele soon learns her ghost boyfriend Steven will brave her parents and hell itself to save her—and he’ll have to!

First Lines

Virginia City, Montana 1863

The killer tightened the rope around the young man’s neck, then climbed on his horse. With a whoop to his partner, both men spurred their mounts. They dragged the body, bouncing and twisting, over the jagged rocks and brush of Alder Gulch.

Favorite Passage

“Ele, it’s our turn. We’ve tried to explain it to you. We just couldn’t pass up something your mother and I have always dreamed of. If you’ll just work with us, be a team player, we’ll all have a great life here.” He smiled and patted her shoulder. “Trust me. You’re going to love it, I promise. A new school to conquer. New friends to make.”

“Dad, it’s Eugene that needs the new school and friends, not me.” Ele crossed her arms and glared at her father. “He’s got nowhere else he can go. He has no friends left. Anyone who values his life won’t get within a mile of him and his tricks.”

“You’re right,” he agreed. “This is just the place for Eugene. A small town and wide open spaces. There’ll be plenty to keep him busy working with us to renovate the theatre and helping me do the research for the Vigilante play.”

He held the flashlight under his chin, creating a bizarre mask of light and shadow on his face. “Besides, my dear,” he droned in a heavy accent, “vee may have to chain heem in da dungeon if he does not do our bidding, eh?” He gave her a broad wink and chucked her under the chin.

She smiled in spite of herself and batted his hand away. “I vote we do that now, before he has time to strike. We’ll save ourselves and Virginia City from the little monster.”

Story Behind the Story

My husband’s family homesteaded and ranched in Montana since the 1800s. In the late 1990s we moved from Seattle to Bozeman while my husband attended graduate school at MSU. Turn over any rock in the state and uncover a cowboy poet or writer. I organized a writer’s conference in Virginia City and everyone attending had “true” ghost stories to tell about the old ghost town. Several reported seeing spirits following us as our group toured the town. I knew this was the place to maroon a crazy Seattle family in an old theatre and let the real ghosts of Virginia City tell their shivery fun tale.


Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award, Best Young Adult Romance

Romance Writers of America Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Romance Special Interest Chapter PRISM Award, Best Light Paranormal


Calico Trails Book Reviews

“Ms. Haynes writes an intriguing story of an angry teenage girl who, with the help of her ghostly sweetheart, comes to terms with what life hands her. GHOSTLY ACTS is a rip-snorting adventure and a tender lover story, as well as a fascinating slice of Virginia City’s colorful history.”

Ghostly Acts Rating: 4 Crowns

“In search of a good young adult romance brimming with thrills and chills of the paranormal kind? If so, grab a front row seat to GHOSTLY ACTS by Melinda Rucker Haynes. This award-winning novel is an entertaining and insightful read for teens and adults alike. GHOSTLY ACTS is a funny, scary and heart-warming book with a charming cast of very human characters.”

Scribes World Reviews

“When you read GHOSTLY ACTS, you’ll see why Melinda Rucker Haynes is a Golden Heart Winner. This is a sweet story of first love for young adults, but I think moms will enjoy this story too. Although a “first love” story, this novel moves along at a brisk pace, and adds enough excitement and adventure to keep readers hooked. Ele has problems every teenager can understand and relate to, and her character growth by the end of the novel is a model every teenager can follow and emulate. A very enjoyable read.”

My Shelf On-Line Books and Book Reviews

“This a wonderful book. You definitely will not be able to stop once you start. It’s a must for readers who like paranormal stories with a little romance. I highly recommend it for those in their late teens and adults.”

The Genrezone Reviews

“An entertaining book for the younger romance reader. This is a nice little romance appropriate for the younger set and . . . even for adults.”

CompuServe Romance Reviews

“Melinda Rucker Haynes is a writer who can show even grown-ups what it’s like to be a young person these days. She has more e-novels lined up for release later in the year. If they are half as entertaining and insightful as GHOSTLY ACTS, they’re well worth looking up.”

Writers Club Romance Group

“Young readers will identify with the trials and tribulations of Electra and Steven as they try to show the world that they really do know what’s going on. GHOSTLY ACTS is an engaging and entertaining read for the preteen set and their parents. In fact, their parents may find aspects of Mr. and Mrs. O’Neill as uncomfortably close to home as their daughters find Electra’s mood swings.”

Crescent Blues Book Reviews

“I read GHOSTLY ACTS with my twelve-year-old daughter, Marisa, who gave it two thumbs up. Marisa declared the story “very well written,” and would definitely recommend it. And we both liked the way the epilogue resolved the love affair. It’s always nice to think that love transcends time and space.”

Romance Communications Reviews

“Melinda Rucker Haynes is a very accomplished teacher, author, and educator. Her uncomplicated and easily-read manuscript shows her extensive background in its emotional and exciting rendering. Her vibrant and unique characters capture the reader. Humorous moments abound when Steven tries to take in the modern world of tight jeans and outspoken young ladies. This refreshing story makes you feel the young characters’ conflicts and insecurities. GHOSTLY ACTS is meant for young adults, but should be enjoyed by any fan of good, sweet romance. I look forward to reading more of this talented author with her upcoming releases.”

Author Recommendations:

“Melinda Rucker Haynes brings kids and their parents a wonderfully fun read in GHOSTLY ACTS, with the right mix of romance, danger and humor. If you are 10 or 110, you’ll love and understand Ele’s frustrations with a brother who gives bratty new dimensions, and celebrate in her excitement at meeting her true love in the ghost capitol of Montana.”

“The world is ending … or so it seems for Ele O’Neil. How can she face life in a Montana ghost town after Seattle? The answer is simple–a 150 year old gorgeous ghost named Steven who has a mystery to solve to save them both. GHOSTLY ACTS is a wonderful book for both youth and adult. A delight to read for all.”