Pam McCutcheon aka Pamela Luzier

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Enchantment

Enchantment Cover

Published by Zebra Ballad, The Hope Chest Series, June 2001
ISBN 0-8217-6906-5

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Enchantment

The Hope Chest Series: The historic Chesterfield Hotel once offered visitors the graceful charm of its sumptuous rooms and the healing waters of its nearby hot springs. In present day, as five people unearth the hotel's century-old hope chest, each will be transported back to a bygone era—and transformed by the timeless power of true love.

Enchantment: Fleeing from her unfaithful fiancÚ, dog trainer Gina Charles and her loyal terrier checked into a motel for some solitude, only to find her room already occupied by a friendly ghost with compelling dark eyes. Gina reluctantly agrees to help mesmerist Drake Manton piece together the details of his death in the fire that left The Chesterfield in ruins. But just as she puts her hands on the most important clue, she suddenly finds herself hurtling back in time to 1883 and standing face-to-face with the living, breathing Drake—who's even more handsome and seductive than his apparition. Now, all Gina has to do is keep him from dying in the fire so she can return to her own time. Or will the lure of everlasting love keep her in his arms forever?

Author, Author!
5975 N. Academy #206
Colorado Springs, CO  80918
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Reviews

"Mesmerizing!  Pam McCutcheon's Enchantment blends whimsy, humor,
and romance into a story that will linger in readers' hearts."
— Deb Stover, author of A Moment in Time

"The first of what looks to be a delightful five-book time travel series,
Enchantment is quick, light and enchanting!  — Romantic Times Magazine

Enchantment combines the best of time travel with superb romantic elements with enchanting results. Intrigue, danger, and a magic hope chest bring together two strong willed, volatile characters with delightful results.  This whimsical tale is one of the most convincing time travel romances I've yet to encounter, coming very highly recommended.” 
—Cindy Penn, Senior Editor, WordWeaving

Enchantment hits you with action from the beginning and has you anxious to know how it will all end.  The storyline is humorous at times, sensual and uplifting.”
— Denise Fleischer, Gotta Write Online Romance Editor

“This series promises to be a lot of fun.  The mystery surrounding Miss Sparrow and her hope chest are yet to be discovered.  Ms. McCutcheon's characters are compelling, both the hero and heroine dealing with their personal pain in constructive ways.  Drake is a deeply kind, caring, and honest man, just what Gina needs.  He has a great desire to help others.  Gina's confidence and insight provide what Drake needs to attract patients and discover the source of their problems. They make a great team. Together they sizzle with passion.”
— ParaNormalRomance/PNR

“Pam McCutcheon certainly starts us out with a lively beginning that pulls you right into this delightful story...  It was a roller coaster of laughs and tears and I hated to put it down; I couldn’t wait to see how it all turned out.  If the other books in this series are as good as this one, then we are in for a wonderful extended read.”
— Becci Davis Clayton, About.com


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 Trivia

     One of the first scenes of this book came about when I roomed with Trana Mae Simmons at a PASIC conference in New York.  One morning, I felt someone kneel on the bed and cuddle up to me spoon-fashion.  It startled me into leaping out of bed, but when I did, there was no one there.  That's when Trana informed me she was a ghost hunter, and that one of her transparent friends had taken a shine to me.   Well, naturally I had to use that experience in a book and it shows up in the second scene of this book, when ghostly Drake cuddles up to Gina in the middle of the night (see excerpt below).
     This is the first book in a five book time travel series written by five members of my critique group, the Wyrd Sisters.  Each book in the Hope Chest Series goes from the present to Victorian times in the Allegheny mountains of western Virginia:

Enchantment by Pam McCutcheon (June 2001)
Fire with Fire by Paula Gill (July 2001)
Grand Design by Karen Fox (August 2001)
Stolen Hearts by Laura Hayden (September 2001)
At Midnight by Maura McKenzie (October 2001)

 

Hope Chest Series Authors

The Hope Chest Series authors at the Romance Writers of America conference in Washington, DC., July 2000

Top:  Maura and Karen
Bottom:  Pam, Laura, and Paula

    

 

Awards:

  • Finalist in the 2001 Aspen Gold Contest for Best Paranormal Romance

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Excerpt

         The afterlife is tedious, Drake Manton thought as he drifted through the thin walls of the motel. If he’d known he’d be doomed to spend the rest of eternity confined to Hope Springs, Virginia, he would have been a lot more careful about how he died. If only he could remember the incident....
     Drake passed through another room where a couple snuggled together to watch television and paused for a moment to watch the science fiction movie unfold with a sense of wonder. One compensation for being a ghost was that he had been witness to many marvels over the years, but it didn’t make up for the lack of human contact.
     He spent much of his time as a voyeur, caught up in the day-to-day lives of the people in the town. But the familiar soon lost appeal, so he searched for diversion by watching those who passed through Hope Springs, staying only temporarily.
     He glanced at the couple in the bed. They were doing more than cuddling now, and that type of voyeurism didn’t appeal to him. As usual, the living couldn’t see him, so Drake moved on, searching for Gina Charles, the woman who had checked in earlier that day, shedding copious tears.
     He found her in the next room, fast asleep, with her small shaggy dog snoring softly beside her. Gina’s tear-ravaged face and the half-empty containers of chips, ice cream, and wine scattered about the room bore mute testimony to her despair.
     He surveyed her thoughtfully. What could such a beautiful woman have to be so sad about? Her glossy dark brown locks tumbled in profusion about her head and shoulders, and she slept with one hand curled against her ample bosom, as if protecting her heart.
     It was just such misery he’d tried to ease when he was alive. But now that he was dead, there was nothing he could do. Still, the urge to comfort her permeated his incorporeal being. He sat on the bed, staring down at her. Her lovely face and the sight of her full, ripe body in its scanty covering would have stirred him to lust when he was alive, but all physical sensation had fled along with his body.
     Now, it stirred him to compassion. He wished he could take her in his arms, wipe away her tears, and provide solace in the time-honored fashion, but that was impossible. Knowing she wouldn’t be able to feel him, yet needing to do this for his own sake, Drake curled up behind her and reached out to soothe her. He was fully prepared to find his hand pass through her winsome form, but instead, his hand closed over a mound of womanly softness.
     Gina leaped up with a screech and scrambled out of the bed, startling the dog who burst into a fit of high-pitched yips.
     Good Lord, had she felt that?
     She grabbed the neck of the bedside lamp, and throttled it furiously. It didn’t budge.
     Bemused, Drake wondered why she was wrestling with a lighting fixture. "The switch is at the base," he said helpfully.
     His comment just sent the dog into further paroxysms of barking. With a small shriek, Gina ceased her attack on the hapless lamp and scrabbled about on the bedside table. Grabbing something, she pointed it at him threateningly. "Don’t move."
     "Or what?" he asked, amused as he glanced at her weapon of choice. "You’ll brush my hair?" Actually, he was more than amused—he was overjoyed that someone could finally see him, hear him, feel him.
     She threw the hairbrush at him, but missed by a foot. The dog was making little rushes at him now, advancing and retreating, as it continued yapping. Gina kept one hand out to ward Drake off as she inched her way toward the door in her scanty nightshirt. "What do you want?" she asked, her voice quavering.
     He smiled reassuringly and pitched his voice to be heard above the dog. "Nothing. Don’t worry, I’m not going to hurt you."
     She reached the wall and flattened herself against it. "Then why were you in my bed?"
     "I didn’t think you could see me."
     "Yeah, right."
     "I assure you, it’s the truth. Most people can’t—I’m a ghost."
     "And I’m Mrs. Muir," she snapped back.
     Drake almost chuckled with the delight of her spirited reaction and the novelty of conversing with a living being, but he had to calm her. Unfortunately, Gina continued to edge toward the door as the infernal mutt persisted its hysterical barking.
     Someone pounded on the door, yelling, "Shut that damn dog up!"
     In a flash, Gina was at the door. She fumbled with the security latches, then wrenched open the door and tumbled out into the night. She accosted the man outside, a burly truck driver who had checked in just before her, and grabbed him by the arm. "Help me—there’s a strange man in my room!"
     She seemed more irate than frightened, and the man’s expression changed from annoyance to resolute determination. He peeled her off his arm, then set her behind him. Flipping on the light switch, he peered around the room, fists clenched. "Where is he?"
     "There." Gina pointed at Drake, now standing at the foot of the bed.
     The man advanced farther into the room. "Where?"
     Drake had hoped the man could see him as well, but his gaze passed right through him. It appeared only Gina could see him—and of course, the dog, who continued to bark.
      Gina scooped the dog up in her arms. "Hush, Scruffy." Scruffy quieted, but continued to emit a low growl. "He’s right there," she said. "At the foot of the bed."
      The man relaxed his fists and glared at her. "There ain’t no one there."
     Apparently emboldened by the truck driver’s presence and Drake’s lack of reaction, she came back into the room and glanced doubtfully at Drake. "There is, too. Can’t you see him?"
      Tiring of this farce, Drake said, "No, he can’t. No one has been able to see me since I died, except for animals. And you."
      Gina shot him a disbelieving glare, then addressed the truck driver. "Are you telling me you can’t hear him either?"
      "Hear what?" The man peered suspiciously around the room and stooped to check under the bed.
     When the driver’s head passed unimpeded through Drake’s torso, Gina collapsed into a nearby chair with a whimper and her eyes grew wide.
     Her would-be rescuer rose, then stopped suddenly, his gaze arrested by the half-empty wine bottle on the floor. "Lady, you’re seeing things. Maybe you shouldn’t drink so much." Giving her a disgusted look, he stomped toward the door. "Sleep it off—and keep that damn mutt quiet."
     As the door closed firmly behind him, Gina muttered, "Scruffy is not a mutt. He’s a purebred cairn terrier, just like Toto in the Wizard of Oz."
     That little hairy nit had a pedigree? "I’m sorry," Drake said. "I didn’t mean to frighten you—I didn’t know you could see me." Or feel me.
     She stared blankly at him. "But he didn’t see you. And he passed right through you."
     "Yes, I know," Drake said as gently as he could. "I told you, I’m a ghost."
     She froze, her eyes wide, and he could see the pieces of the puzzle visibly click into place. She opened her mouth to scream again, but he swiftly moved to smother it with his hand, feeling a frisson of excitement at the realization he could touch someone.
     Her eyes grew even wider and she struggled for release, but he held her gently imprisoned in the chair between his arms with his new-found power of touch. "Shh," he said soothingly. "I won’t hurt you."
     The dog scrambled frantically between them, to no avail. Since Gina seemed to be attempting to speak beneath his hand, he removed it cautiously, prepared to replace it at the mere hint of a screech.
     "Wha—what do you...want?" she asked, her voice trembling.
     "Nothing." At her disbelieving expression, he added, "I just want to talk to you. If I wished to ravish you, I could have done so by now."
     Some of the fear left her eyes at this manifest truth. "Why me?"
     "Because you’re the first person who’s been able to see or hear me since I died." He concentrated on projecting soothing thoughts in hopes of diminishing her fear.
     Apparently, it helped. She relaxed and a perplexed expression replaced the fear. "If you’re a ghost, then why can I feel you?"
     Relieved that she seemed to regain some of her former spirit, he said, "I don’t know—this is new to me, too. Perhaps...are you a spiritualist?"
     She snorted. "No, I’m a dog trainer, not a ghost trainer."
     He backed away cautiously, prepared to move swiftly if the need arose. "So you believe I’m a ghost now?"
     She shrugged. "I can’t believe you’re anything else when the evidence is so plainly in front of my face." Though her words were brave, her voice quavered and he suspected she wasn’t as blasÚ as she pretended.
     Her voice rose as she ticked off the reasons on her fingers. "Let’s see, you got into my room through a bolted door, a man walked right through you, you’re transparent, and you’re dressed in old-fashioned clothes no modern man would be caught dead in."
     He glanced down at his clothing. "Actually, I was caught dead in them."
     "Very funny." She slumped farther into the chair, cuddling the little terrier to her chest. "I may not be the smartest person in the world, but I figure either you’re a ghost, or I’m delusional." Her mouth twisted in a grimace. "Naturally, I prefer to think I’m not crazy."|
     "You’re not. At least, I don’t think so." Though there was the one episode.... "I assume you have a good explanation for strangling the lamp earlier?"
     She blushed. "I intended to use it to brain you, but it’s bolted to the furniture."
     "Ah, I see." Drake was encouraged by her calm reaction and the fact that she no longer seemed to feel the need to "brain" him. An unfamiliar elation rose within him. Finally, the monotony of his death had been alleviated by the simple fact that at least one person on this Earth could hear him, see him. More than that, this had to be a sign that she was the key to ending his boring existence.
     "So why am I the lucky one?" Gina asked.
     "I don’t know why you can see me—this is a first for me, too."
     "No, I mean why were you groping me?"
     Mortification swept through him, though he couldn’t feel sorry for savoring the softness of a woman’s body once again. "Please accept my apologies. I saw you crying earlier, and I was merely offering solace."
     "By copping a feel?"
     Exposure to modern movies had given him understanding of that peculiarly crude expression. "Again, I apologize. I didn’t think I could actually feel you—or you me. I wanted only to comfort you."
     "Oh. Well, you can’t. Nobody can."
     "Why not?"
     Her face crumpled. "This was supposed to be my wedding day."
     Though Drake found it difficult to suppress his elation at conversing with a living being, he contained it. She couldn’t help him until he helped her first. To do that, he needed to determine the cause of her distress. "Did your fiancÚ jilt you?"
     "No." Gina sniffed as a tear tracked down her cheek. "I left him—the creep."
     "Then why are you so upset?"
     "Because of the reason I dumped him."
     Drake sat on the edge of the bed and gave her his most encouraging look. "Why don’t you tell me about it?"
     Gina sniffed again, but appeared relieved to have someone to confide in. "We were supposed to rehearse the wedding ceremony, but my fiancÚ decided to rehearse the wedding night instead—with my maid of honor." She glowered. "Ha! Maid of dishonor is more like it."
     "The man is obviously a low-bred cur."
     Scruffy growled again and Gina shushed him. "Worse. At least a dog is faithful. But Jerry couldn’t even be discreet about it—the whole wedding party found them making like minks in the limo. And it was going to be the perfect wedding, too," she wailed.
     Sniffing and wiping her eyes, Gina continued, describing her wedding plans in intricate detail, all the way down to using Scruffy as the well-trained ring bearer.
     One hundred and eighteen years of living in limbo had taught Drake patience, if nothing else, and his work as a mesmerist had shown him the value of a sympathetic ear. So, he listened.
     It seemed to help. Gina settled down after relating her tale of woe, ending with, "The worst part is, I sold my dog training business, sublet my apartment, and cut all ties to my former life just so I could devote the rest of my life to Jerry. Now what will I do? My life is gone."
     "Perhaps your parents will help you."
     "Forget it. My father would have, but he died three years ago. And Mom..." She snorted. "Even after we found Jerry and Bette doing the wild thing, Mom still wanted me to go through with the wedding. Typical."
     Drake’s eyebrows rose. Not exactly a model loving mother. "No wonder you ran away."
     "Yeah, but what am I going to do now? I have nothing to go back to."
     He considered for a moment. Though he wanted to assist her, he wanted even more to keep her nearby so she could help him. "What do you want to do?"
     She paused, thinking, and a spark of determination entered her eyes. "I want to start over, somewhere new. Somewhere far away from Jerry, my mother, and my so-called friends."
      "Then that’s what you should do. Why not stay here in Hope Springs?"
     "Here? Why?"
     Because he couldn’t leave the confines of the area, but he was loathe to tell her that. In fact, it would be better to let her think he could follow her anywhere. "Why not?"
     He needed time to think, to plan how to elicit her help. Seeing the dark smudges beneath her big brown eyes, he said, "You don’t need to make that decision right this moment. For now, you should sleep."
     She yawned. "Good idea. I’m beat." She shut off the light and crawled back into bed, giving him a stern look. "But no more groping, okay?"
     "All right."
He wouldn’t touch her again, but he also wouldn’t let her out of his sight. Gina Charles was the key that would allow him to escape this limbo-like existence, and he wasn’t going to leave her side until he found it.

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Last modified on June 29, 2003