Sweet Romantic Comedy Thriller with paranormal elements. Minor fantasy violence proving a good prevails over evil theme.
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? There are 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 there’s SOMETHING hiding in Ele’s room, watching her every move, but no one will listen to her.
Steven Douglas is a nineteen-year old Montana cowboy with one little problem: he’s been dead for over 150 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 hell itself and her parents to save her–and he’s going to have to!
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.
Steven Douglas chased the murderers on foot for about a mile. In sight of a miner’s cabin, they dumped the body on a clump of gray sagebrush. Laughing loudly, the men trotted their horses the short distance to the cabin, dismounted and went inside.
Steven crept to the sagging body and gently lifted its head. He recognized the face staring back at him—it was his own face! Suddenly a blinding light exploded around him. The rocks and sagebrush bleached out, replaced by a polished floor. The bright afternoon sun no longer shone down on his shoulders, but through a lace-curtained window. He was inside an odd building, facing an elderly woman.
"Hello, Steven," greeted the woman.
"Hello, ma’am," he replied groggily, then remembered his manners and grabbed for his hat in the lady’s presence. His hat and work clothes were gone. He was dressed in his Sunday suit.
"Don’t you look nice," the elderly woman exclaimed. Her pink two-piece garment was of a strange material and her spindly legs were immodestly revealed beneath a scandalously short hem. "Please sit and join me. Will you have sugar in your tea?" she asked, smiling kindly.
Steven averted his eyes. "Yes, ma’am." He perched his large frame on the small chair across the tea table from her. The bright light outside the parlor windows reflecting off the snowy tablecloth almost hurt his eyes. He had difficulty seeing the woman clearly and wondered who she was.
"I’m Beatrice O’Neill." She handed him a plate of oddly colored confections shaped like tiny animals. "Cookie?"
"No thank you, ma’am." He was not hungry. The memory of his own blank eyes staring up from the face of a dead man weighed heavily on his mind.
She patted his hand. "I’m so sorry, Steven. It wasn’t your time, you see. And because you were so surprised, so angry, you stayed earthbound. It happens like that sometimes when one meets a violent death."
"Ma’am, with respect, I do not take your meaning," he answered, blinking as the parlor scene shimmered and shrank.
He and Miss Beatrice stood before an old grave on Boot Hill. The faded, crudely carved wooden marker bore his name: Steven James Douglas, 1844 – 1863. Murdered by the Innocents Gang.
Steven gasped and squeezed his eyes shut. When he opened them, he stood in a cellar. Miss Beatrice gestured toward the numbers, 3-7-77, roughly painted in black on the back wall.
"My grandfather built this theatre in 1863. He guarded it, then my father until his death, and then I assumed the duty. Now my great-nephew Oliver will guard the door." She frowned and shook her head. "But I wasn’t able to tell him about all this, you see. You must help him. Don’t let him do anything to the numbers. They must remain. If the numbers are destroyed, they will return. Everyone in Virginia City will be destroyed."
"Please, Miss Beatrice, I do not understand anything of this." He passed his shaking hand across his furrowed forehead.
"Oh, my dear boy. I’m so sorry. Of course, you don’t. You’re still in shock from your death. Forgive me."
He took a step back. "I … am … dead?"
Quite." She smiled brightly. "It isn’t so bad, is it?"
Steven did not answer, but simply stared at the old woman. Then he remembered. He had heard muffled voices coming from the site of the theatre cellar excavation and investigated. He had unwittingly stumbled upon the secret meeting place of the Innocents Gang. Two of them had stabbed him and dragged him away.
"Try not to waste any more energy on that, dear," advised Miss Beatrice. "You have work to do guarding the theatre now. You shall prevent those who did you mortal injury from harming others and gain another Light opportunity."
"How am I to do that? And why?" he asked, not really believing her. He did not feel dead, yet he must be. He shuddered at the recollection of the knife plunging into his back, somewhat relieved the awful pain was only a memory.
"Ah, you are still feeling their evil energy," she exclaimed, watching his face. She swept her hand toward the numbers on the wall. "Evil is concentrated in this place. Because the Innocents met and murdered you here, their energy remains. Their evil spirits are held back from this earthly plane by those numbers, which have a spiritual power, ancient wisdom from Solomon’s temple. The Vigilantes brought to justice all the wicked Innocents and with these magical numbers sealed off the evil power the gang consolidated here and drew upon." Her sweet white face became serious. "This is a doorway, if you will, to the spirit transition when the dead choose the heavenly Light or refuse it and become evil energy or malevolent ghosts waiting to storm out to act upon the minds of men and magnify in their evil deeds."
"I did see the Light but this can’t be…." He swallowed thickly, pushing down the deathly cold creeping up his throat. "Ma’am, am I … a ghost?"
"That’s for you to decide, dear. When you can let go of those strong earthly emotions of hate, anger and such that are holding you here, you will again see the Light. And this little assignment I’m giving you will help you do that. Please try to understand, Steven. It’s most important. You must draw on your noble, pure energy to support the good power of the numbers and hold the evil back. But I’m not worried about you ‘winning your wings,’ as they say. The only worry is my nephew and his family. I’m afraid of what they will do in their ignorance. You must watch them, keep them from destroying the numbers."
"How can I cause the living to do anything?" he asked, almost accepting her words.
"Belief. Their belief builds your strength. The more they believe, the more they see what they believe. It’s the same with evil energy." She turned to leave, then stopped. "And Steven, time is quite strange, dear. According to my nephew’s thinking, it’s been one hundred and thirty-six years, give or take a decade, since your death. You have some interesting surprises in store, I would think." She gave him an encouraging smile and a little wave. "Have some fun, Steven, dear. Don’t be so serious or my nephew’s family will drive you quite nuts. Remember, a good positive attitude will lighten the heart and make your task all the easier. See you soon, I hope," she said and faded into the growing shadows.
Steven blinked and found himself alone in the dark, shabby lobby of the boarded-up Virginia City Theatre.
Someone was rattling the doors.
Virginia City, Montana 1998
Ele O’Neill glanced at her dad sitting beside her on the Jeep station wagon’s passenger seat. His formerly nice, ordinary face wore a silly, thrilled look that matched those on her mother and brother in the back seat. Ele wanted to scream.
These people weren’t her family anymore. They were—aliens! Aliens who ruined her life, kidnapped her from her real parents—the sane professional people who taught school in Seattle and coached soccer, who encouraged her to aim for number one seed on the tennis team and sent her to cheerleader camp every year. Those dear, perfect parents who let her go sailing alone with Greg on Puget Sound were left for dead back home.
Thinking of gorgeous Greg and all the other friends she would never see again, she tried to control the wet sob rising in her throat.
"Virginia City’s cool!" grunted the aliens’ monster child sitting behind her. She watched him in the rearview mirror as he pressed his grotesque face against the window.
The alien pretending to be her dad turned to his mate in the back seat and grimaced a terrifying toothy grin. "Isn’t it fantastic? Just like I remembered. Like I told you, right, MOO?"
"OHO, it’s wonderful. We’ll all be so happy here, I just know it." The female alien clawed at Ele’s back. "Won’t we, sweetie?"
Oh right. Superstar Mom must have family consensus to make her happy. Ele stared blindly out the windshield, refusing to answer her mother. She’s destroyed my life and now expects me to like it. Never! This is war! They can’t keep me prisoner forever. I’ll escape and go live with Greg’s family. And I’ll finish my last two years of high school with my friends in Seattle.
"Electra?" her dad droned. "You can’t stop in the middle of the street. You’re holding up traffic."
"Ele," she corrected mechanically, emphasizing the last e.
"What?" Dad waved a car past them. "Oh, yeah, sorry—Ele," he said, finally using her preferred nickname. He would forget as always and call her that ridiculous name again. Just like all of them did. Except her friends. They respected her.
Greg would never, ever call her Electra. She loved the way he said her name. He sort of breathed it, low and very sexy "Ellllleeh." Oh, Greg, rescue me, she silently begged the universe.
"As I remember, the theatre is at the end of the street. Drive on down there," the alien called OHO instructed.
What a dumb name, she thought as she let the car creep down the street. His name’s Oliver Harold O’Neill, for God’s sake. What’s one stupid name in a family of crazies? He ought to be embarrassed to be called by his initials, but they thought it was so cute. An endearment, her mother said. Ha! Mom called herself, MOO—short for Margaret Olfelia O’Neill, and wanted her children to call her that, too. Ele absolutely refused.
Her brother had the only halfway normal name, Eugene. Normal—if you didn’t know he was named after his mother’s favorite dead playwright, Eugene O’Neill. She had even named Ele after her most beloved O’Neill play, Mourning Becomes Electra.
Theatre people are weird, thought Ele. Now that Dad had inherited the Virginia City Theatre, Mom had a place she could live her dream. She intended to produce and star in every play Eugene O’Neill ever wrote. Ele’s dad had another dream. He was going to write a historical play about the Vigilantes for the summer tourists.
It didn’t matter which one of her parents’ dreams they lived. They’d still ruined Ele’s life, or what remained of it, forever.
"There it is!" Dad pointed at a dark two story building on the right side of the street. Before Ele could completely stop the car, he jumped out and stood on the boardwalk in front of the old brick building. He spread his arms as if to embrace the theatre, then turned in a slow circle with a huge smile on his face.
For a moment Ele was caught up in his happiness, almost feeling it warm through her despair. Until her mother joined him and they danced in swirling circles in front of the double doors. Mom warbled her happy song and called to the kids, her stage voice booming through the twilight. "Come, Electra. Eugene. Let’s make the theatre feel our love and happiness to be here as its new caretakers."
Her mega-voice will probably drag everyone in town, if there are any living beings, out to stare and make fun of the weird new people. Ele cringed in the driver’s seat.
Eugene hopped out, leaving his door open, the interior light spotlighting Ele. He danced around his parents, waving his arms and whooping like a demented owl. Ele slipped down in the seat until her knees folded against the dash and the top of her head was barely visible, she hoped.
The driver’s door flew open. "Come on, Electra. Park the car in back. Your dad’s trying to unlock the door. We all want to enter the theatre at the same time, as a family unit. More creative, protective energy that way," her mother informed her and the rest of Virginia City.
"Oh, Mom," Ele groaned and straightened in the seat. It was hopeless. Her mother had gone off the deep end, bonkers, Zone City, and taken her husband with her, thought Ele, glancing at her dad talking to the sagging, paint-peeled double doors. Or he could have been talking to Eugene. Same thing, really.
Trying to communicate with her ten-year old brother was like talking to a door or a wall. Except a wall was safer to be around. Walls and doors didn’t try to sell your underwear to the chess club or dust your toothbrush with cayenne pepper or hold funerals and bury your stuffed animals in the backyard or make treasure hunt maps of your room for runaways. Eugene had done it all and worse.
Ele parked the car and sat waiting to blend into the thickening darkness.
"Electraaaa," the aliens shrieked, summoning her to join them in their heathen ceremony. She blew out a disgusted breath and climbed out of the car, dragging herself to the scene of the death of the social life, or any sort of acceptable life, she could have had.
If only they’d stayed in Seattle.
"Jiggle the doorknobs," Mom advised, leaning over her husband’s shoulder.
"Let’s kick it in," Eugene suggested and reared back to do exactly that.
"Now, Eugene. We must respect our theatre. It will open to us when it feels it can trust us." Mom placed a restraining hand inside the neck of her son’s T-shirt and lightly held him back. He gargled a strangled agreement, dropped his leg, then sagged limply at the end of his mother’s arm. She released him and he slumped to the boardwalk, making choking vomit noises his parents ignored.
"Get up, you little jerk. Everyone’s looking," Ele warned. Her gaze darted around the dim street. Even though lights were on in the hotel and bar in the center of town, no one had come out to see the alien invaders.
Eugene staggered dramatically to his feet and leaned against the door. It popped open with a loud crash. Or maybe the sound was made by his falling inside and landing on … broken glass? Ele wondered hopefully. Her parents exchanged God-help-us glances and followed him into the dark theatre.
"Did you bring a flashlight?" Mom asked.
"Uh, it’s in the glove box, I think," Dad answered.
"I’ve got a light," Eugene volunteered.
"Oh, my God!" Mom yelled. "Eugene, where did you get those? You know very well you’re not allowed to touch matches. One more accidental fire and Chief Bronson said—"
Curious, Ele poked her head around the door as her dad snatched the lighted match out of Eugene’s hand.
"We all know what the Chief said, Margaret." Her dad’s smooth forehead creased in a frown. "We came here for a fresh start, remember. We don’t want to hold each other to the mistakes of the past. We’re in a new town to start an exciting new way of life, something we’ve always wanted." He blew out the match and hugged his wife and son. "We can be anyone we want to be."
"Oooooow! You burned me!" Eugene yelped and jerked away rubbing his arm.
Ele’s dad dropped the still blazing match and stepped on it, grinding it into the dust-carpeted floor. "I thought I blew that out. I’m sorry, Eugene. Are you hurt? Let me see. Ele, get the flashlight."
She returned from the car a minute later and pointed the beam at her family. Eugene whimpered in his mother’s arms while Dad worriedly patted his son’s back. Handing over the light, she noticed the match still burning on the floor.
"Where did I burn you, son?" He roamed the beam of light over Eugene.
"Dad?" Ele watched the tiny orange flame bob and weave in the cold breeze swirling around her ankles.
"Not now, Electra. Your brother’s hurt." Dad lightly fingered Eugene’s arm, exacting a howl of pain.
"Dad. Will dust burn?" Ele persisted, not taking her eyes off the burning match.
"Electra, please," Mom demanded with a look of annoyance.
Ele continued to watch the match. "Nope, dust doesn’t burn. But paper does." The flame consumed the matchstick and jumped to a nearby scrap of newspaper, quickly gobbling it up. The floor was littered with paper and other junk she couldn’t decipher in the shadowy reflected light.
"Oh, Daaad," she called softly as the hungry flame leaned toward another larger piece of paper. How long will it take for the entire place to burn down? she wondered, intrigued. The flame multiplied to several little orange-red fire dancers that captivated her. They were so graceful and beautiful like silk banners billowing in a breeze.
As the fire reached for more fuel, it was suddenly squashed out as if by a huge invisible foot. Icy air gripped her bare legs and wrapped around her body, clamping her arms to her sides and constricting her chest. She felt a terrifying presence. A warning. As if the theatre was showing her it could and would protect itself.
"Dad!" she screamed, unable to move. Her family whirled around to stare at her.
"Good lord, Electra," Mom said. "What is it?" She hurried over to Ele and put her arm around her. Her face reflected Ele’s fear.
The paralyzing cold melted away with Mom’s touch. Ele silently held on to her mother, not trusting herself to speak.
"What’s wrong? Are you all right?" Her dad pressed his palm on her forehead. "No fever."
Ele swallowed. "It was … I don’t know. I felt something. The match … there was something weird about it."
"Oh, you are so dumb, Electra," Eugene interrupted. "It was one of those trick matches. The kind you can’t blow out." He huffed an annoying braying laugh and shook his monster head.
"Oh, yeah?" she retorted. "I’m not the one who got burned by his own stupid trick. You almost got us all burned."
"Now, don’t exaggerate, Electra," Mom ordered and dropped her arm from Ele’s shoulders.
"No, Mom, it’s true. The match caught a piece of paper on fire and it was spreading—"
"Where?" Dad asked, looking at the floor.
"Well, right there." She pointed at the spot on the floor where the match had dropped. The burned paper was gone. "Or maybe over there." Ele stepped away from them and frantically searched the floor within the circle of light from her dad’s flashlight.
She looked up, realizing the three of them were silently watching her. Her parents’ faces wore an odd look of thinly disguised disbelief she’d seen them use only with her brother. "Really. There was a fire and it was put out by a cold … thing?" Her voice dwindled as did her desire to convince them of what she had seen. If they didn’t believe it, didn’t see it … maybe she hadn’t either.
"You’re too weird!" Eugene crossed his eyes and lolled his scummy tongue out to the tip of his stubby chin.
"We’ve got to find the fuse box and get the lights on," Dad said, casting the flashlight beam around the lobby. "The power company said it was ready to go. I’ll check around."
"I’ll come with you," Ele volunteered, not about to be left behind in the cold.
"Okay. MOO, you and Eugene go up to the cafe and get us some take-out. We’ll dine at home tonight," he said with a contented smile of a man who’d finally achieved a life-long dream—or recently undergone an extensive series of electroshock treatments.
Yeah, only a zillion volts of electricity could make a normal history teacher want to live in a falling-down theatre in the middle of nowhere Montana, Ele thought as she followed her dad outside. She shivered and pulled her hands inside the sleeves of the oversized University of Washington sweatshirt Greg had given her. She missed him more than ever.
Dad opened the rectangular gray metal electrical box hanging on the back outside wall of the theatre and pulled a large handle down. An anemic yellow light glowed from the exposed bulb above the padlocked back door.
Something caught her eye. She looked up. A hazy light barely escaped the ragged lace curtains covering the high windows resting just under the eaves. Ele held her breath as the light moved slowly from one side of the building to the other before fading out completely.
"Did you see that?" she whispered, watching the windows.
Her dad closed the fuse box. "See what?"
She pointed at the now dark windows. "The light upstairs. It moved across the windows and went out."
"Probably an old lamp that was left on and just burned out."
"It moved!" Ele insisted.
Dad aimed the flashlight at the windows, revealing a broken windowpane. A lace curtain fluttered in the breeze whistling through the jagged hole in the dirty glass.
"You saw the curtains blowing around. That’s all." He gave her a quick reassuring hug. "Don’t worry, Ele. This place isn’t haunted or anything sinister. It’s just old and needs lots of work. No one’s been here since Auntie Beatrice moved to the care facility twelve years ago."
"But Dad…." Ele pulled out of his hug. He had to listen. She hadn’t seen just wind blowing curtains.
"Electra. I don’t want to hear any more. We’ve tried to be fair about this. We know you don’t want to be here. You’ve made that very clear—many times. We need your support and cooperation, not your constant complaints. Didn’t we do everything in the world to support you in every way in Seattle? Did we ever deny you anything that was in our power to give you?"
"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 dearrr," he droned in a heavy accent, "vee may have to chain heem in da dungeon if he does not do ourr 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."
Ele and her dad emerged from behind the building to see Eugene and Mom standing in front of the cafe. She was talking animatedly to a man wearing a fry cook’s apron, his hands on his hips. Eugene oozed away, leaving his mother holding the bags, and scurried toward the theatre. The familiar words "terribly sorry" floated on the wind behind him.
"Oh, good, looks like Eugene’s making new friends already." Dad jammed his hands into his pockets and strolled into his theatre.
"This town will never know what hit them," Ele said under her breath and walked up the street to help her mother.
"I wouldn’t go up there right now," Eugene advised her as she passed him.
"I’ll just bet you wouldn’t, you little creep. What did you do this time? Super glue the salt and pepper shakers to the table? They probably haven’t seen that weak trick around here." She continued up the middle of the empty street and tried to guess the seriousness of Eugene’s crime by the tone her mother used speaking to the man.
"Mr. Kachel, that boy is such a trial. I’ve done the best I know how and it’s just not enough." Mom hung her head and sniffed. Looking up, she bravely met his softening gaze. "I so appreciate your willingness to forgive this little incident. I promise you it won’t happen again." Her voice quavered and paused.
Ele hung back. This was her mother’s big scene and she was broadly playing to the balcony, practically chewing the scenery. Kachel was eating it up.
"You go on, Mrs. O’Neill. Enjoy your dinners. Don’t think another thing about it. Boys will be boys. I ought to know. I got four myself. Everyone of them gave me fits but I got through it." He placed a big hammy hand on her shoulder. "You can, too. Let me know if I can help you."
"Oh, Mr. Kachel. You are the kindest man God ever made. I’ve had to depend on the kindness of strangers."
Ah, A Streetcar Named Desire, thought Ele, recognizing the "kindness of strangers" line from the play. She always enjoyed her mom’s performance, when it was played for others.
"And you are surely one of the kindest I’ve ever met," Mom stage-whispered, her voice thick with emotion. She walked quickly away, then stopped and turned, giving him a lovely little wave. Mom stepped lively along the boardwalk toward the theatre. She sailed right past Ele without looking at her.
Ele didn’t dare step on her mother’s big finale and exit line. After all, the lady was playing a single. She waited until Mr. Kachel retreated into the cafe.
What could Eugene have done? Ele wondered as she jogged back to the theatre. Mom had used some of her best material to save his bacon. Eugene may just find himself in da dungeon yet, Ele thought, enjoying the prospect.
Streaks of light shone through the jagged cracks in the boarded-up front windows of the theatre. Ele pulled open the door that Eugene had not knocked off its hinges. Despite the lighted interior, she felt reluctant to enter, until the aroma of fried chicken enticed her into the empty lobby. She followed her nose and the footprints in the thick dust blanketing the parquet floor to the open double doors of the main auditorium.
"Yours is in the sack next to Eugene," Mom advised and daintily dabbed her perfectly made-up mouth with a napkin.
Ele snatched up the bag and sat down by her father on the front row. Without thinking, she hungrily pulled out her dinner, and in the next heartbeat, hurled the slimy pile of glistening rubber dog poop with a topspin that smacked Eugene squarely in the face. His grimy paw covered his eye, and wheezing and blubbering great sloppy tears, he threw himself at his mother.
"Ahhh," Mom crooned as she vaguely patted her son’s heaving back. "I was wondering what Mr. Kachel did with the little present Eugene left in the salad bar.
Copyright © 2001 Melinda Rucker Haynes
Romance Writers of America GOLDEN HEART Award Winner
Best Young Adult Romance
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.”
“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.”