When Sunny Nelson walks into the house built by an ancestor, strange things start happening. First, he senses an attraction to April Davis. He hasn’t been attracted to a woman since he discovered the difference between boys and girls. Of course as soon as he sees her brother, Jeff, he forgets April. Later, as he turns the old house into a B&B, he starts having dreams and visions about people who lived in the house. As he and Jeff attempt to build a relationship, Jeff becomes upset when Sunny reverts to the Pagan rituals taught to him by his grandmother.
Together April, Jeff and Sunny work to discover the secret of Catriona’s Curse.
I arrived at the house about six Tuesday evening; Jim was stripping paint from the mopboard in the library. I asked, “Is Sunny here?”
“He went toward the orchard about an hour ago with a backpack and Fetcher.”
“What’s he doing out there?”
“Sunny is the only one of us kids who still sometimes practices the Pagan rituals our mother’s mother taught us,” Jim explained. “You and April were probably raised on Mother Goose and the Brothers Grimm. We grew up on tales of Queen Maev, Connor mac Nessa and Cuchulain. Today is Mabon or the Autumnal Equinox; he’s gone to commune with the Goddess and celebrate the harvest.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about. I got the idea from Sunny he was Christian.
“Well, we were raised to believe in Christianity, but the family also honors the religion of our ancestors Mother’s mother taught us. We try to observe the holidays in some manner. It’s usually just in the foods we eat and the color of candles we burn, but sometimes Sunny takes it a little further, especially if something’s bothering him. Lately, something’s seemed on his mind besides remodeling. I don’t think it’s only the dreams either.”
I frowned and said, “Maybe I shouldn’t interrupt him.”
“Go on. I doubt if he’ll mind. In fact, I think he’s expecting you.”
I wondered at this because I hadn’t planned on coming out tonight. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing.
I knew it would be dark before I got back, so I grabbed the flashlight out of my car and headed across the pasture. When I got to the brook, Fetcher lay on a blanket spread on the grass. I smelled the scent of cinnamon from the candle burning on the witches’ stone. Also on the stone was a bottle of wine, two glasses and some food. Sunny stood totally nude in the middle of the brook facing away from me toward the west. In the glow of the setting sun, he looked like a god. Although I didn’t know much about Celtic gods, I seemed to remember the name Lugh as a being similar in nature to Apollo, the Greek God of Light.
Fetcher gave a soft woof as I approached and Sunny turned.
I caught my breath at the sight of Sunny’s muscular body. I thought him attractive Labor Day in his surfer trunks, but seeing him totally naked and aroused, I realized what made the front of his jeans fit so snugly. Droplets of water dripped from his hair and ran down his chest like shiny silver ribbons in the rays of the setting sun. My body responded at the sight of him. A feeling of anticipation caused my stomach to flutter.
As nonchalantly as I could, I asked, “Isn’t it a bit cool for skinny dipping. Besides, the water isn’t deep enough to swim in.”
“The water’s fine; come on in.”
Although I wanted him, I wasn’t ready for him to see my body’s reaction to him. “I think I’ll pass,” I answered
Sunny maintained a steady gaze as he taunted, “Chicken.”
I stared back into his eyes. I felt hypnotized and started removing my clothes. As I stripped, I walked toward the water. Sunny held out his right hand. I took it and stepped into the water. As I started to speak, Sunny placed the index finger of his left hand over my lips, “Shhh.”