by Ariana Dupre
Tara Simms is determined to create a new beginning for herself this holiday season. She’s purchased a new condo on Miami Beach in the ultra chic Paradise Designs Resort and Spa where there is no chance of paranormal activity. She’s left the paranormal at her last apartment but still fights the whispers that have always been part of her life. She refuses to accept the psychic abilities that run in her family and blocks the whispers. She’s looking for a new man and thinks that David Blake, the lead realtor at the high-rise, is a good prospect.
David quickly sends her best laid plans on a roller coaster ride when he tells Tara that Paradise Designs is haunted. An unsolved murder, construction workers who swear they’ve seen a ghost and a newscast featuring the Haunted Hi-Rise confirm her worst fears. When Tara sees the spirit of a woman enter her condo she freaks out. David offers his protection and his apartment. Together Tara and David must solve the murder and help the spirit into the light. By facing the paranormal and her psychic abilities, will Tara find a new beginning filled with love?
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Paradise Designs was previously part of the Beneath A Christmas Moon Anthology published by Cerridwen Press. The following reviews were received for the anthology.
Beneath a Christmas Moon is a remarkable anthology of paranormal suspense Christmas stories. Each of the three stories is unique and intriguing. I love each of them for their uniqueness and creativity. Not one of these stories is what you would expect in a Christmas anthology. I highly recommend this book.
In Paradise Designs by Ariana Dupré, Tara Simms is a psychic that has spent her life trying to suppress and deny her powers. Lately the voices have been getting louder and now she has seen a physical ghost in addition to hearing voices. David Blake is a salesman extraordinaire; he has successfully sold many different things but now he has the challenge of selling condo units in a haunted building. David and Tara meet and the attraction is immediate and intense. Both react with behavior that is out of the norm for them; David by asking Tara for a date as soon as he meets her and Tara by accepting. David is intrigued by paranormal and when he figures out that Tara can see the ghost he wants her to use her “gift” to try to help the ghost. Tara is scared to death that if she uses any of her powers it will change her forever and this “gift” isn’t something she wants to live with. Can Tara and David figure out how to help the ghost? By trying to solve the crime are they putting themselves at risk of being the next target for the killer? Can Tara and David find something meaningful and lasting in their attraction to one another?
WOW. Paradise Designs is also a wonderful story; I just loved it! Because this is a short story it is always difficult to “meet” the characters and care about them in so few pages. Also the author is forced to have a relationship develop extremely fast if it is going to happen in the story. Ariana Dupré does it very well. Within pages you like both Tara and David and want them to get together and solve the mystery at the same time! I did want to knock Tara over the head a time or two and tell her to relax and accept her gifts but she is very stubborn. David is a dreamboat from the very beginning. His ready acceptance of Tara’s gifts is so sweet and should be so comforting for Tara. But this isn’t just a sweet romance, oh no; the story is also full of action and suspense and if Tara and David don’t figure out what is going on someone will be hurt. Paradise Designs is set during the Christmas season but that doesn’t play a major role in the story, it is just the timeframe for the story. Although Tara and David do go Christmas shopping to relieve stress; hey that works for me! This story isn’t a restful read so if you didn’t finish your hot chocolate with the first story in this anthology you might want to drink up before you start this one. This story might even call for some eggnog with extra “flavoring” ingredients.
Reviewed by: Stephanie B.
Score (1-5) Hearts: 5 – Lifetime keeper!
Paradise Designs By Ariana Dupre
Tara Simms does not believe that the new apartment condo she moved into is haunted. She keeps telling herself that yet each time she does she still sees the ghostly woman in the hallway asking for help. Then there’s sexy David Blake making her wish for what it’s like for one to find love with him. Tara is not your usual woman and telling a handsome man as he is that she can see dead people and hear them is not something easy to talk about in this time.
David Blake is a man of many talents and has many women in his life. Yet he never expected a woman like Tara Simms. She is unique, beautiful and knowing that she can see dead people is making her more attracted to him. Though she keeps saying that she is not looking for a man he knows that he is the one for her. Can he help Tara find this ghostly woman’s killer before it finds her?
Beneath a Christmas Moon is an enchanting tales of heroes that have not had good luck lately and women that will not go away to be with their man. Three great stories that all have such a great story line it is hard not to like each one. They are all paranormal yet each one is different from the typical shape shifting and vampire story. Each one tells about love that they wish they can go through and a life they dreamt of having. I loved them all and any reader will enjoy each story.
Reviewed by Anne Boling
Tara Simms has been hearing voices in her head since she was a child. She learned early that counting in her mind helped to block the sound of the voices. She has inherited the family talent for being a clairvoyant and medium. Recently she moved to her new condominium in a hope of escaping the voices of ghosts. Her new neighbor David Blake was a real hunk; she could not help but stare at him. A woman was murdered in the building. Together David and Tara investigate the murder. Now the murderer has a new target, Tara.
Paradise Designs is a deliciously spooky tale. Ariana Dupré spins a yarn that will keep the reader listening for voices in the other room and swooning for a protector. Tara has a daring spirit it just takes her a while to embrace it. David is every woman’s hero, willing to listen and believe even the unbelievable.
This eBook shows three talented authors who write sizzling and exciting paranormals which take place at Christmas time.
Ariana Dupré: Paradise Designs
Tara has just moved into the new apartment complex and wants to start a new life, free of her abilities that scare her. However, suddenly she hears on the news that her apartment complex seems to be haunted and that means the paranormal whispers, precognitions and so on which she has will be even worse than normal. She wants to leave at once, because she is so afraid of ghosts and her abilities, but then she meets David, who shall help sell the place and he believes in ghosts and is really interested in her and her talent. Will they be able to solve the mystery about Paradise Designs Resort themselves and will Tara find the strength to accept her special talents and will they fall in love?
I have to admit that I don’t like ghost stories very much and therefore I didn’t expect much of this story. I was totally positively surprised! This story is exciting, had two great main characters, a good mystery and lots of chemistry and sexual tension. Tara has wonderful gifts that were passed to her through her family. Her mother and grandmother are totally accepting and understanding, but Tara doesn’t want to use her abilities after a friend died and she foresaw it. That was a bit of a peeve for me that Tara needed so much time to finally accept who she is. David, an international marketing guru and new realtor, isn’t only sexy and charming, he is also really open-minded about the paranormal and wants to know and learn everything about it. I loved that he had no problems with Tara’s gifts and encourages her to use them and to trust in herself. The chemistry between them is great and their love story is romantic and has sizzling sex scenes. When they discover that the reason for the haunted building is a murder that took place not so long ago, the story gets quite exciting and mysterious. A very enjoyable, thrilling story with ghosts, love and acceptance of who you are – great work!
Reviewed by Tanya
“Paradise Designs” by Ariana Dupre. Tara is in a new home and finally seems to be putting her life on track and doing what she wants. She has always denied her psychic abilities, though they are always on her mind. She has crafted ways to keep them at bay but, what will she do when she suddenly sees the spirit of a women in her condo that was murdered on the site, prior to the condo’s being built? Especially since she finally has a neighbor, and boy is he a man she wants to get to know better. Not only that but David seems to be interested in her also, and doesn’t think she is completely nuts when circumstances take a turn for the worse. Now is Tara being stalked by a ghost or a real person?I admit I am not usually fond of stories with ghosts I them but, I must admit that Ms. Dupre crafted a story that both kept me intrigued and on the edge of my seat. I thoroughly enjoyed “Paradise Designs” and especially her hunky hero. Hats off to you, Ms. Dupre, for a well written story.
Beneath a Christmas Moon has it all for paranormal story lovers. You have vampires, shape shifters and ghosts all in one little package. All of the stories center around the power of the full moon, and this one happens to tie together the holiday season as well. I found all three stories to be very well written and intriguing in their own right. Whether it is Christmas of summer you will enjoy this anthology and want more from each of these authors.
Simply Romance Reviews
Reviewed by Mickey
In the next tale, poor Tara Simms moves into Paradise Designs Resort & Spas Condos hoping for a change and ending up with a ghost, a murder mystery, but more fortunately for her, a new love interest in David Parker. Paradise Designs by Ariana Dupre was a little slow at the beginning however, inserting the threat to both Tara and the ghost, Lisa, added the needed suspense to keep the reader’s attention through the end of the story. Ms. Dupre did a wonderful job with the secondary characters. Her writing style is very quick and witty: she makes excellent use of snappy dialogue to keep the pace flowing, using humor to keep the story from becoming too morbid. I enjoyed this story by its conclusion, and would certainly read other works by the author in the future.
Tara Simms stepped out of the elevator and looked up then down the hallway for the woman who’d shouted. Behind her, the sound of heavy doors sliding together echoed in the corridor. Tara repositioned the takeout container of lasagna and a bag of groceries before grabbing at the purse strap slipping from her shoulder. “Hello. Where are you?”
Maybe it was an echo from another level that had somehow resonated into the elevator shaft. Then again, as the only resident of the fourteenth floor, she couldn’t help but wonder if someone new had moved in.
Help me, Tara.
She almost dropped her dinner.
The voice that had shouted moments ago was now an urgent whisper echoing through her mind.
“No! Get out of my head!” Tara grumbled, gripping the Styrofoam container and plastic bag. The strap fell from her shoulder to wrist and the purse banged against her legs with every step. She let it hang there and hurried to her condo, counting the square patterns woven into the dark green carpet as she walked.
This couldn’t be happening. Not again. Her pulse raced with fear.
Paradise Designs Resort and Spa, a newly constructed high-rise on Miami Beach, had everything a person could ever want in condo living. Located directly on the Atlantic Ocean it boasted an Olympic sized outdoor pool and smaller indoor pool. The bottom floor housed a mini-mall that included a grocery store, several restaurants, a day spa, a gym and retail outlets.
Close to the Miami nightlife, you could walk to the mall, theater and an array of restaurants and nightclubs. She had been one of the first homeowners, since she knew the developer, and chose an ocean and pool view condo on the actual thirteenth floor, even though builders skipped the number thirteen, unit number fourteen-thirteen specifically to face her fears about the paranormal. She’d thought that choosing a number associated with the woo-woo stuff would keep spirits away and the voices out of her mind since avoiding them had never seemed to work. She even decided to make the number thirteen her lucky number. What a stupid idea that had been.
Sixty-eight, sixty-nine, seventy.
It took exactly ninety steps from the elevator to her front door. She knew it by heart, had counted them every day since she moved in a month ago. But today was the first time she’d heard the whispers over the automatic counting.
At the age of five she had realized that counting things kept the voices quiet. For the past twenty years she’d counted to keep her mind busy and ignore the whispers. It was second nature now, an unconscious habit that was constant and consistent in her daily life. She’d tried to stop once before but hadn’t made it more than a few minutes. Every time she let her mind rest, the whispers got louder and she had no intention of letting that happen. She kept her guard up against the spirit world and that’s the way it would stay.
Tara slowed as she neared her condo. The door to the neighboring unit was propped open with a wooden footlocker. Inside, the room was filled with boxes piled in the middle of the beige carpeted floor.
She couldn’t believe that out of all the empty condos on her floor, someone had chosen the one right next door to her. Maybe it was a woman her age. It was nice to know that there was someone right next door if she needed anything. The realtors could have told the new neighbor her name since they were the only people on the floor. Relief washed over her. Maybe she hadn’t heard a voice in her mind after all.
While she was very independent she found a little comfort in knowing that she was no longer alone on the floor. It would be great to make a new friend at Christmastime.
“Hello? Is anyone home?” She peeked in but didn’t see any large pieces of furniture.
An eerie silence was again the only answer.
I must have heard the new neighbors. They might have taken the stairs down for another box, she thought, trying to convince herself that the voice hadn’t been in her head.
Deep inside she knew it wasn’t true.
Who in their right mind would take thirteen flights of steps down to carry boxes back up? Besides, the woman had called her by name. In all likelihood the realtors wouldn’t have shared her name with someone she didn’t know without introducing them first. She pushed the thoughts aside before she worked herself into a panic. She’d come back after dinner and welcome the neighbors to the building.
Tara passed the open door and unlocked her condo. Tossing her purse on the dining room table, she hit the light switch with her elbow and put everything else on the kitchen counter. She crossed the living room to raise the windows facing the ocean. In the graying dusk she watched a speedboat pass by, its engine humming as the front end thumped against the blue waters of the Atlantic. She worked her way across the ocean view windows and then down the side overlooking the pool area. She really couldn’t have picked a better place. The views were amazing and it was only ten minutes from work.
A man was swimming laps. His tanned body sliced through the water with quick even strokes. As he reached the shallow end he stood, revealing an athletic, muscular upper torso. Pushing his wet hair back he looked up at her.
Tara stepped away from the window. No way could he have seen her, yet she felt as if she’d been caught staring just the same. She didn’t recognize him but then again, she didn’t know everyone who’d purchased here either.
Walking to the corner she pressed the floor control of the six foot Christmas tree with her toe. The white lights sprang to life, shimmering off the silver balls and tinsel. Christmas had always been her favorite time of year despite the fiasco last Christmas Eve when her boyfriend had broken their engagement and had given the ring she’d picked out to another girl. This holiday season was a new beginning. She turned on the stereo and soft instrumental carols filled the air.
In the kitchen she put away the groceries, dumped the lasagna onto a plate, grabbed a fork and canned soda and then took her dinner into the living room. Kicking off her shoes, Tara curled up in the corner of the overstuffed leather couch. She rested the plate on her legs and turned the television to the local news with the volume down.
The lasagna smelled delicious. The flavors seemed to drift with the aromatic scent. She cut a corner off with her fork and slipped it into her mouth, savoring the rich tomato sauce and creamy cheeses. She closed her eyes, letting the texture of the flattened noodles tantalize her taste buds.
Ummm, better than sex.
She opened her eyes and looked at the television. A couple kissed in a vacation commercial. She couldn’t even remember what good sex was like. A year of celibacy would do that to you. She watched the man slide his hand down the woman’s back. Tara sighed. If nothing else, she was determined to step out of her self-imposed hibernation and involve herself with a man. What better time to start dating again than on the year anniversary of her failed engagement? With Christmas only a few days away she knew that finding someone she’d like to go out with would be hard but she was determined to keep looking.
The lasagna probably tastes so good because I missed lunch, she reasoned.
Goldstein and Powers International Bank was the most prestigious financial institution on Brickell Avenue. Every day was filled with interesting people. She loved the hustle and bustle of customers coming and going. But today had been torture. Four tellers called in sick with the flu which left the branch severely shorthanded.
I hope I don’t catch it. The last thing she needed was the flu during her vacation next week.
She placed another bite of lasagna in her mouth and glanced at the television. A live shot of her building was on the screen with the caption “Haunted High-Rise”.
What the hell?