Happy Halloween! The final post of 10 Days of Halloween and a look into Knight’s Academy Book Three

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Thank you all so much for hanging with us these 10 Days of Halloween! I hope you’ve found a book you want to pick up and read that will give you the creeps! And I want to thank all of our guests these past ten days for hanging out with us and sharing their scariest works! It’s been a pleasure.

If you missed them, be sure to find the 10 Days of Halloween category on the sidebar and check out the posts!

Though I don’t write, read, or watch anything scary, I do write about vampires and werewolves, and even demons in my Christian fiction.

But today, I’m going to talk about my vampires and werewolves in the Knight’s Academy series!

In honor of The Chosen, book three, coming out in January (if all goes well), I wanted to share some fun information about book three!

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  • Life as Myka knows it will forever be changed because of the way book two ended. What she thought she had time to prepare for suddenly falls in her lap. And she doesn’t feel prepared at all for what life holds for her. I can’t divulge anymore info if you haven’t read book two. My lips are sealed. shh
  • Myka finds herself in a strange predicament, another love triangle. Just kidding, she loves one man but is forced be with another. But who is who and what is what? You’ll have to find out in book three!it isn't fair
  • Dragon, a vampire and Myka’s guard, is my favorite character, and he was honestly never supposed to be in the book to start with. #minorcharacterschangetheworldi love you
  • There’s a werewolf/vampire hybrid. shocked
  • Milo has moved on from the Brent/Myka drama.moving on.gif
  • There is some betrayal!traitor
  • And another death. time to die
  • And it all ends on the brink of war…

if you don't fight

That’s all I can say. I’ve probably said too much, but y’all, I’m so excited about book three! I’m even more excited about book four, which I’m currently writing.

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What are you most excited to see in the Knight’s Academy series?

 

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10 Days of Halloween with Carol Riggs

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Today, Carol Riggs is joining us for the 9th day of 10 Days of Halloween! She’s sharing a little bit about her book Junction 2020 and the boogeyman! Ooooo….

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Hello! I’m Carol Riggs, and I like to read and write books with a twist of weird.

Most of my YA novels have a sense of mystery, maybe because I grew up reading Nancy Drew books. I also enjoy science fiction and fantasy elements, so I throw those in there too. THE LYING PLANET, my third published book, was born one night in 2010 as I was lying in bed trying to go to sleep…and I thought I heard a noise out in the living room. Nothing was really there, but my mind started spinning scenarios about What If. I figured this could be the initial pivotal moment of a YA novel, the story about a teen lying in the darkness of his room, and hearing…something.

More recently, my JUNCTION 2020 series involves portal travel to a dimension built by my 5 main characters’ sweetest dreams and worst nightmares. It’s been loads of fun! From magical music rooms to awesome lighthouses, and vampire spiders to street gangs, the alternate-dimension landscapes challenge my characters like nothing else. Each book in the 5-part series is written from the viewpoint of one of the characters. Book 3 of JUNCTION 2020 is Lauren’s book, and is called SILENT SCREAM. Interestingly enough, it also involves a character lying in bed and hearing something creepy (do I detect a pattern here?).  

EXCERPT from Silent Scream, Chapter 3:  

Stray thoughts tumble through my head, blurring with images of me blowing on my steaming mug of hot chocolate and swinging my arm to throw snowballs. I’m drifting off into serious drowsiness, when I hear a distinct and prolonged metallic creak.

Blinking, I lift my head. What was that?

I heard it loud and clear. Is someone walking around, maybe Stefanie in the outer hall as she heads to the bathroom? Except the creak didn’t quite sound like a floorboard, and it didn’t sound like the noise came from the hall.

It sounded like it came from inside my room.

I sit up, breaking into a clammy sweat. Impossible. There’s no one in here except me. I’ve got to be imagining things.

Squinting around the moonlit semi-darkness of the room, I see the tall, solid-wood dresser against the wall, the motionless, thin curtains over the window. Across the room the closet is silent, but its door stands ajar a few inches.

Crap. Wasn’t that door shut before I got into bed?

Creak.

That’s the metallic noise I heard earlier, I’m sure of it. It’s the rasp of a squeaky hinge. And right as I’m watching, the closet door opens wider. Slowly, inching its way outward.

Creak. Creeeaaaak.

The gap is now a spooky wedge of blackness that makes an instant lump form in the pit of my stomach.

Creak. The gap widens further yet. A foot and a half of sheer terror.

A hoarse breathing begins—and it’s not mine.

I clutch the quilt to my chest, paralyzed on the bed. My lungs forget how to work. Only my mind is whirling. It’s been nine long years, but I know exactly what’s behind that door. In this landscape, my nightmares have caught up with me at last.

It’s the Boogeyman.

He’s real. And he’s coming to get me.

More about Junction 2020:

It all started on New Year’s Eve, 2019. Despite being hearing impaired, Lauren Carnes was determined to go to Stefanie Anders’ party and celebrate the holiday like everyone else. But instead, she and four others got blasted through a portal into another dimension. They ended up with strange triangular marks branded on their forearms.

Worse yet, the whole thing happened again ten days later. Instead of a creepy landscape built by her new friend Mari’s dreams and nightmares, they fought to survive in a world built by Tony Rodriguez. In both of these alternate realities, ruthless black-cloaked Shifters tried to capture and exploit them as Mainworlders.

The third time is not a charm. Because on this journey, it’s Lauren’s fascinating—and dangerously silent—landscape everyone is stuck in.

Purchase your copy of Junction 2020!

For anyone who comments on this post, there will be a drawing for a giveaway. The winner will get the choice of an ebook or (if a U.S. winner) a signed paperback of THE LYING PLANET or a JUNCTION 2020 series book.

Carol Riggs author photo_head

About Carol Riggs:

Carol Riggs is an author of young adult fiction who lives in the beautiful green state of Oregon, USA. She enjoys reading, drawing and painting, writing conferences, walking with her husband, and enjoying music and dance of all kinds. You will usually find her in her writing cave, surrounded by her dragon collection and the characters in her head.

 

 

Follow Carol Riggs:

EMAIL: carolriggsauthor@gmail.com

WEBSITE:  http://www.carolriggs.com/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/CRiggsAuthor

FACEBOOK:  https://www.facebook.com/CarolRiggsAuthor?sk=wall

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8055261.Carol_Riggs

BOOKBUB: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/carol-riggs

 

10 Days of Halloween with Tabitha Caplinger

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Let’s all give a warm welcome to someone who isn’t a stranger on this blog and who is a dear friend, a talented author, my online pastor, and did I mention a talented author? Tabitha writes one of my all time favorite series, The Chronicle of the Three, and I’m sad it’s over. But, such is life. All good things must come to an end! 😉 The TCO3 series is pretty much the cousin to my Entertaining Angels series (just kidding, sort of), and I think you guys would so love it!

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From Tabitha:

Hi!! In honor of all things creepy and spooky I thought I’d share with you lovelies one of my favorite scenes from the final installment of The Chronicle of the Three Trilogy, Eden Sword.

In this little snippet, Zoe, Daniel and Maggie are doing one of their regular night patrols for demons who are ravaging their small town of Torch Creek. In the dead of a winter night the local playground takes on a darker visage.

 

***

Things seemed strange at night. During the daylight hours, even in winter, there was always some activity here. Joggers would be pounding the pavement of the small track that circled the perimeter. People walked their dogs. Children played on the colorful playground. Under this blanket of darkness, it was much more eerie. The wind rustled through dead branches, replacing the summer song of tree frogs and mockingbirds, and the rays of the moon created shadows of each limb as cracked lines along the ground. In the daytime, this place was nothing but life, but in the dark of December, it seemed like only death.

Zoe clenched her fists and squared her shoulders.  The smoldering battleground of her nightmares flashed like a slideshow through her mind. The shadowy grass of the park a reminder of that horrid landscape she couldn’t shake free of. She bit the inside of her cheek trying to regain her grip on reality.

“Is it windy enough for that to be happening?” Maggie asked, pointing toward a red and blue see-saw that was beginning to teeter back and forth, its hinges squeaking with the movement.

“No, it isn’t,” Daniel answered. Zoe saw that he already had a knife in his hand.

The low whistle of a slowly turning merry-go-round and the creaking of movement of the swing set created a creepy chorus which filled the silent night. The melody of customary hissing joined the arrangement, swirling in on an icy wind that drew goosebumps up Zoe’s arms and down her spine. She squatted to retrieve her dagger from its keep, rising back up with it gripped tightly, ready as the demons glared from their perches all over the small playground.

Zoe felt an arm brush hers as Maggie leaned close to her to ask, “When would be a good time to shoot one?”

“I’d prefer that you go right to rock formation.” Zoe’s eyes never left the ensemble that was now drooling ash from its many barred fangs. “Daniel, you take the swings on the left, I’ll take everything to the right. Maggie stay back and shoot anything that looks at you.” Zoe ordered then took the first step toward the see-saw but paused to give one last glance over her shoulder. “Oh, and Mags, don’t miss.”

To her relief, Maggie lifted her bow with steady hands. “Yeah. Got it chief.”

Zoe gave a nod to Daniel and the two charged at the shadows before them. Sulfur stung Zoe’s cold nose. The rustling of chains at the swing set and shrill shrieks signaled each demon’s demise. But Zoe didn’t dare turn to verify Daniel’s triumphs. She was focused on her own task. There were at least five shadows that she could see, and she was sure more had to be waiting in the darkness of nearby branches.  “Maggie keep your eyes open!” she yelled.

“I’d be afraid to close them!” came Maggie’s comforting response.

Zoe lunged at the first two shadows that had perched themselves on the teeter-totter. She stabbed her dagger into the first while drawing one of Lucas’s throwing knives and flung it at the other. As they dissolved, she turned toward the three that had dug their claws into the old wooden merry-go-round. She ran and leapt onto the turning wheel, tossing another knife into one’s forehead, and then thrust her lion blade into a second. The third reached out, planting its nails in her shoulder. She could feel the burn through her jacket but bit back the pain with a low growl. She spun around and drove her dagger into its hollow chest.

“Zoe!” She heard Maggie cry out as the shadow in front of her turned to ash and another jumped onto her back.

Zoe was pushed forward, falling onto the wood underneath her. She kicked and squirmed until she was able to roll. She shoved the demon off of her and onto the ground just as an arrow struck its abdomen. Relief was short lived as another shadow dropped from a high branch and landed on top of Zoe, pinning her shoulders down. The force of it knocked the dagger out of her hand. She strained her fingers but couldn’t quite reach it so she grabbed the demon’s wrists and pulled instead. She tore loose from its grip and then bucked up so that she could roll it off of her and switched positions so that she was now straddling the creature. She gripped its neck with her bare hands and it writhed underneath her, scratching at her arms and legs trying to break free.

“Zoe!” she heard Daniel yell.

“Zoe stop!” Maggie’s panicked scream got louder as she got closer.

Zoe felt pain seer through the skin of her hands where they choked the demon under her. Blood was trickling down her arms and soaked into her sleeves. She could feel the cotton material clinging to her and only then realized that there was no power flowing along with the blood in her veins. There was no light nor warmth emanating from her to kill the unholy vermin that still struggled against her. Zoe’s face pinched together and she quickly searched for her dagger with pained eyes. She reached one hand to grab it, wincing when her tender skin gripped its handle. Her muscles quivered as she plunged the blade into the shadow with a frustrated roar. She stabbed it again and again and again, oblivious to the fact that her knife was only hitting ash and wood until Daniel stopped her hand.

 

***

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The Chronicle of the Three Trilogy follows Zoe Andrews as she learns demons are real, the people she loves are at risk, and she is chosen to defeat a great evil. But fighting with swords might be a little easier than fighting the demons that begin to plague her mind and heart. Can she find the strength to withstand the darkness trying to destroy her before it destroys her world?

Buy the complete series today!

FullSizeRenderTabitha Caplinger is a wife, mom, youth pastor and author. She loves coffee, chocolate and takes her tv addiction very seriously. Besides writing about girls who slay demons she seeks to help all young women who struggle with who they are and what they are worth. She wants them to discover their identity and learn to live for their purpose on purpose (#LiveChosen). Above everything she uses her writing to show them that, like her characters, they are powerful, chosen, loved and never alone.

 

 

Follow Tabitha:

facebook.com/TabCaplinger

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instagram.com/Tab_Caplinger

 

5 Day Kick Start to Living Chosen

 

If you’re interested in more #LiveChosen content from Tabitha be sure to go to her website, tabithacaplinger.com, and subscribe to her monthly newsletter. As a bonus you will get a FREE sample of The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline as well as be one of the first to receive her “5-day Kick Start to Living Chosen.”

 

10 Days of Halloween with Lee Roberts (again)

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Let’s welcome back Lee Roberts! If you remember, he was just here on Friday, but he’s sharing another book with us, Trouble Rising, and it has characters from his Elvis Blue book in it! (I hope you emailed him to get your free copy of Elvis Blue!) Check out this excerpt of Trouble Rising!

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Chapter 36

Elvis and Monk walked slowly along the thick stone walls of the basement, both of them engrossed in studying their instruments. Elvis paused at one point, and then moved on again with a sigh of frustration. It was difficult to tell in the semi-darkness, but Monk’s face wore the same dismal expression. He turned and looked at his partner on the other side of the room.

“What is going on here, Elvis? We were getting readings all over the place last week, and they seemed to be growing, like something really big was going to happen. But now it looks like everything is getting quiet again. It’s like all the energy is draining out of here, kind of fading away or something.”

“I know what you mean. I’m seeing the same thing.”

“So what’s going on? You think all of the new construction is shredding the electromagnetic fields or reducing them somehow? It’s like the energy that was here before is evaporating.”

“Who knows, man? That could be it. Or maybe it could be something simpler.”

“Like what?”

“Like maybe whatever paranormal thing was going on is over now or going away. Maybe the spirits are going dormant or moving on to somewhere else.”

“But we didn’t do anything. All we did was record stuff. We haven’t even made contact with any entities or done anything to eliminate them.”

Elvis shrugged.

“Maybe whatever was provoking them is gone now for some other reason. There are still a few more hot spots down here, especially back in that far corner of the basement. We should probably go check that area again.”

Suddenly, they froze in their tracks as several loud pops erupted from the casino above them. Elvis and Monk looked at each other. As they turned toward the stairs and listened, now they could hear the roaring wave of noises spreading upstairs. They heard people yelling and screaming, running in various directions away from something in widespread panic.

“There’s some heavy stuff going on up there, man,” Monk whispered. “What do you think it is?”

“Sounded like gun shots to me.”

“Gun shots? Do you think somebody is trying to rob the casino?”

Elvis shrugged. “Who knows? Do you want to go up there and find out?”

“Not me,” said Monk. “That’s where the hired help comes in. I’m calling Maria.”

He pulled out his walkie-talkie and keyed the mike.

“Maria? This is Monk and Elvis. You guys still in the van?”

A brief pause, and then two seconds later a garbled reply came back.

“We’re all still here, Monk. You want us to come down and relieve you guys on the investigation? Send in another team?”

Monk shook his head, but of course Maria could not see that over the radio. He keyed the button to respond.

“Just tell us what is going on up there. We’re hearing all kinds of loud noises from the casino. Elvis says he thought there were gun shots.”

“Gun shots? Dios mio! Let me look outside. We can’t see much sitting here in the van, you know. I’ll be right back.”

Elvis and Monk stared at each other. A minute later, Maria was back.

“Hey! It looks like there was some kind of big fight right outside the casino doors. Mr. Crockett is standing out there with some other people. And there are a whole bunch of security guys running around with pistols in their hands. We didn’t see what happened, but it looks pretty serious from here.”

“Okay. Tell Isaac and Derek to go in the casino and check it out. Me and Elvis are coming up there.”

“Roger that.”

Elvis and Monk grabbed their gear and started for the wide staircase leading up to the casino level. The boys were almost halfway up the steps when they saw Simon Cruz coming down in a rush dragging Candi by her hair. They flattened themselves against the wall to get out of the way. Cruz brushed past them with hardly a glance and continued on to the basement.

“That was something you don’t see every day,” said Elvis.

Monk keyed the walkie-talkie again.

“Maria? We have an update on the situation.”

“Too late, Isaac and Derek are already on their way inside.”

“Then you need to handle this yourself. Find Crockett or someone who looks like they are in charge and tell them we just saw Simon Cruz going down the basement stairs. And it looked like he was holding Candi Rios hostage.”

“Oh crap! I mean, roger that.”

Maria dropped her headphones and quickly jumped out of the van. Her body wasn’t really built for speed, but she ran as fast as she could toward the knot of people gathered near the front door. One of the guards turned and pointed his gun at her.

“Wait! Wait! I’m one of the good guys!” she yelled.

Rico stepped forward and intercepted her.

“You need to stay back out of the way, so you don’t get hurt. There are some bad people running around here.”

“But I need to tell Mr. Crockett something!”

“You can tell me, sweetheart. I’ll make sure that he gets the message.”

Maria looked at Rico, her eyes wide with fear.

“Tell him that Simon Cruz is in the basement, and he’s got Candi with him.”

Rico’s heart skipped a beat.

“Okay, then you wait here next to these guys with the guns. You’ll be safe here. I’ll take care of that problem myself.”

He spun around and ran for the front door. Candi was in trouble, and he was determined to rescue her, with or without a gun. Rico didn’t care if Cruz shot him a couple of times as long as he could get Candi away from him first. Then he would kill Simon with his bare hands.

But Simon had other plans.

Cruz had passed Rafael Perez and Benito Rivera coming through the bar. They would be hard on his heels. But he thought he could lose them down in the huge maze of partially finished construction. Maybe he could hide for a while or find some way to slip out a side door unseen. There was always a chance.

He pulled Candi along by her long hair as they twisted and weaved through the giant maze of material and debris. He could feel his heartbeat pounding in his chest. He needed to stop for a minute and think.

They moved deeper into the blackness of the catacombs, way back into the far corner of the subterranean level. Candi was getting really tired of Simon pulling her hair. She was already mad as a hornet and itching for a fight. She finally decided that she had had enough of this bullshit.

With a grunt of effort, Candi turned and yanked her long hair free. Simon looked at his empty hand in surprise, as if it had somehow betrayed him. He hesitated for a second and then lunged toward her again. She lashed out with both hands, punching and cursing in his face.

But Cruz ignored her. He managed to get his hands around Candi’s neck and began to tighten his grip, slowly cutting off her air and strangling her. She started to gasp for every breath, fighting for each molecule of precious oxygen. Simon was bigger and stronger, and she could not overcome that disadvantage.

The light began to fade from Candi’s eyes as life ebbed out of her body. Her few attempts to stop him now were too feeble to make any difference. It looked like this was the end.

Slowly, she reached up and touched the little necklace of yellow and aquamarine stones around her neck. Candi whispered a silent prayer and prepared herself to accept what was soon to come.

Suddenly, Simon screamed and jumped back like he had just been electrocuted. He stared at his open palms in disbelief. Candi collapsed on the floor in a heap, panting weakly, barely conscious.

A dark, swirling mist began to form in the air, taking shape out of the darkness. The cloud of mist surrounded Cruz and then seemed to come together in a big, massive shape. A huge black bear materialized right in front of Simon and reared up on its hind legs, spreading two giant paws that gleamed with long, razor-sharp claws.

Simon screamed again and snatched up the gun he had dropped. He began firing wildly at the image, terrified by what he saw. He continued to yell obscenities and move farther back into the corner until all the bullets were gone. Cruz staggered into the wall and then slid down to the ground, the gun now clicking on empty chambers.

Rico heard the shots and ran down the dark hallway hoping desperately for some miracle. He rounded the last corner and saw Candi lying on the floor. Instantly, he was at her side, checking her pulse. It was still there, but very faint.

He scooped Candi up in his arms and ran back toward the stairway, leaving Cruz sitting in the corner staring vacantly into space.

“Hang on,” he whispered. “Please hang on, babe. I’m going to get you out of here. Everything’s going to be all right.”

Rico hurried up the stairs carrying Candi’s limp body cradled in his arms. There were two men at the top of the stairs, and they stepped out of the way to let him pass by. Rico moved on. Rafael Perez and Benito Rivera glanced at each other and then descended slowly into the basement to find Simon Cruz.

About Trouble Rising:

New passions awaken old evils, and the construction of a modern hotel and casino on old tribal land has stirred up the restless spirit of a massacred Indian maiden. Candi Rios is a magnet for trouble and sensitivity to the supernatural compels her to seek out the answers to the perplexing mysteries that plague the new venture. As a smart young accountant, Candi struggles to sort out the complexities of the business while caught up in the emotional turmoil of the unseen forces at work. With Rico and her quirky friends, she investigates the strange deaths and disappearances in the area, uncovering evidence of money laundering, embezzlement, and murder. Others cross her path and make things difficult, including a psychotic personnel manager, Colombian drug dealers, Elvis Blue and the ghost hunters, and even Godzilla. Candi must figure it all out in order to put an end to the madness and avoid becoming the next victim.

Purchase your copy of Trouble Rising.

 

10 Days of Halloween- The Road to Morning, a Short Story by Emerald Barnes

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Well, it’s finally my turn to share with you guys! I wrote the short story I’m going to share with you guys when I was in college, about nine years ago. I’ve edited it since because it really needed work!

Anyway, here is The Road to Morning. Enjoy!

The Road to Morning

 

A heavy fog has settled after the evening rain, and I can barely see ten feet in front of me. The shadows of trees loom in the darkness, taunting me. I try to keep my mind off of the perfect horror movie setting that surrounds me. Even the man in the moon refuses to show his face on this night.

I have a difficult time keeping my car on the road, the wet gravel hard to drive on. Going down the back road is a mistake, but I want to get home fast, back to my fiancé.  It has been a long day at school with night classes.

I come upon a car parked on the side of the road. I can’t tell what is wrong it, but I figure that someone’s car broke down. The fog is concealing the truth, but from what I can tell, no one is in or around it, so I continue home.

I slam on my brakes as something runs in front of my car, causing it to fishtail on the gravel. I barely miss hitting this thing. My body is shaking, and I can hardly breathe. With shaking hands, I turn my hazard lights on on the off chance that someone comes up behind me while I take a moment to compose myself before continuing home.

The longer I sit there, the more uneasy I grow, but I can’t explain the feeling. I lock the doors, but the normally comforting click of the locks doesn’t make me feel any better.

I search my surroundings to make sure that no one or no thing is watching me. It doesn’t do any good because the deep fog and the walls of trees conceal anything from eyesight.

I try to convince myself that what ran in front me had to have been a deer or some other wild animal, but I know that isn’t the case. It was on two legs, not four. And it was so pale that in my headlights, it looked green. Green. That isn’t even possible! Surely it was just my imagination. But I know it isn’t. I had seen it.

I can no longer be a sitting duck. I’m terrified, and I just want to get back home to my fiancé, John. At first, I’m afraid my vehicle died, leaving me stranded in the middle of nowhere or some other clichéd horror movie moment has occurred. Luckily, I was just being paranoid, and this isn’t the case.

Even though I’m in a hurry, I’m not going to risk wrecking out here, so I drive carefully. Despite my eyes being on the road, my mind is nowhere near thinking about the road ahead of me. I’m more afraid of what I’ve seen. I continue to try and convince myself that what ran in front of me had to be some sort of animal. It just had to be, but I can’t force myself to believe it. What I saw resembled neither a deer nor any other animal that I’d ever seen. It is hunched over, so that means it is on two legs. There has to be an explanation for what I saw, but I can’t think of one that comforts me.

I survey the land around me, wondering whether or not it’s following alongside my car. Is it dangerous? Will it kill me? My breathing becomes ragged, my chest tightens, and I’m nauseous at the thought. I can’t die. Not this way.

I accelerate my speed despite the iffy road conditions. I just know that monster is dangerous, and that I’m not safe. Something is watching me, and I can’t shake the feeling that I’m going to die. I have my whole life ahead of me. I’m about to get married and graduate college.

Tears fill my eyes, and I blink them away. I can’t lose focus, and my focus is home.

I’m only five miles away from a more populated area. If I can get there, I’ll be safe, and for a moment, I have a sense of hope.

Something else runs out in front of me, and once again, I slam on my brakes. This time it’s a human. A woman. I barely miss hitting her. My heart rate accelerates, but I can see that something horrible has happened. She’s covered in scratches and blood.

“Help me!” she yells. “You have to help me! It killed my husband, and now it’s after me!”

She runs to the car and beats on it. I unlock the door, and she gets in. She locks the doors again, and I don’t know what to do. I don’t know this lady. For all I know, she’s the one who killed her husband, but something tells me that’s not the case, that she’s telling the truth.

“What happened?” I ask.

“I don’t know. This thing attacked my husband as he was fixing the flat tire.”

That explains the car.

“What did it look like?” I ask, needing answers. I want to know if what I saw is real.

“Just drive,” she says. “We’ve got to get out of here. It’s coming!”

I don’t wait. I drive. The woman is in tears, on the verge of hysteria as her body convulses with sobs. I’d be the same way if I lost John and, by the looks of it, barely escaped alive.

The sobs come faster and harder, and my heart breaks for her. The poor woman has just lost someone important to her.

I push it out of my mind. I have to keep my mind clear. I need to be able to focus. Once my judgment is clouded, I can die. I’d seen enough horror films to know that. I have to focus on getting out alive. In situations like this, it’s best to look out for number one.

The woman did a pretty good job of keeping herself alive. I feel a little guilty by wanting to look out for myself, but could I risk my life for the sake of someone I didn’t even know? The only answer I can come up with is no. It isn’t worth it.

“Faster!” the woman yells.

My heart almost leaps out of my chest, and my foot slips off of the gas pedal.

“Not slower. Faster! It’s here!”

“What’s here?”

“Just go!”

The tires slide all over the place as I speed toward safety. I can just see us wrecking and dying, so I slow the car down a bit.

“What’re you doing?”

“Slowing down!”

“Don’t!’

“Do you want us to die?”

“Of course not!”

“Then shut up and let me drive. My car isn’t handling this road well.”

The woman quietens. The tires are swerving on the loose gravel, and I’m secretly cussing my fiancé for not having these stupid tires changed. With every curve, which are many, my car almost fishtails if I’m driving fast. It is imperative that I slow down, but I know that I have to get us out of here.

“Please drive faster. It’s following us,” she pleads.

I can’t see anything, but frankly, I don’t want to. I know that it’s following alongside the car because I can see the bushes on the side of the road moving like someone or something is running through them. I move my eyes back to the road, focusing on getting us to civilization.

It’s time to get a bit reckless.

My dreams of getting home in one piece come crashing down when the monster slams into my car. Both of us yell. This thing is now standing on the hood of the vehicle, and I hit the brakes, praying it flies off, but it holds on, sharp, toothy, menacing smile shows just how much it’s enjoying this game of cat-and-mouse.

My windshield shatters, and the woman in the passenger seat somehow composes herself enough to fight back, beating it with one my textbooks.  The monster takes each blow as if it’s not feeling a thing. Its pale skin glows from the headlights reflecting off of it, and its red, beady eyes stare straight into our souls.

It makes its way into my car, and I put it in park, unbuckle, and run.

I’ve never run as fast I am running now. The woman is still fighting the monster, and everything I know and understand is telling me to save myself, but I can’t leave her to die.

“What’re you doing?” she yells when she seems me coming back for her. “Get out of here!”

“I’m not leaving you behind!”

I grab a large branch lying on the side of the road. With all the force I can muster, I hit in in the back of the head, and it turns its horrible gaze on me. It stands over six feet tall when it’s not hunched, and it has pale, smooth skin. It resembles a human, but it isn’t. I don’t know what it is. Chills run down my spine, and I hit it again in the face, a blood-curdling screech coming from it. Birds take off in flight. Them, too, screeching eerily. I take it as a bad omen, but the thing stumbles back. Apparently I catch it off-guard.

“Run!” I yell to the woman, and she does.

I hit it in the knees, hoping to knock it down. Nothing happens. Again, I hit it with all the force that I have and continue to beat it, just praying it goes down.

Tired of the beating, it lunges at me, grabbing me by the throat before I fully comprehend what’s happening. Its four-fingers grasp my throat tight, cutting off the oxygen and any way for me to cry for help.

I kick and swing at it, but nothing is affecting it. It’s laughing at my sad attempt at a struggle. At least that’s the way it seems to me. I’m not sure that this thing can laugh or feel any emotion. More than anything, though, I have the sudden urge to kill it. I try and try to get free but…nothing.

Everything around me fades, but I see the woman has turned around and is coming back. My eyes begin to close, and the world around me becomes darker.

Whack. The woman hits the monster in the back, and it lets go of me. Air rushes into my lungs, and I eagerly gasp, trying to fill my lungs as quickly as I can. The woman beats the monster with the branch I dropped. She’s taking out all of her frustration and anger on it. I’m not going to stop her either. It has to die, but nothing is working. It just stands there, allowing her to hit it.

“What is it doing?” I yell.

“I don’t know!”

I have no idea what to do, and neither does the woman. She stops hitting it, and it lunges at her. She screams, and I run to the car.

I have to do something to save her, but I don’t know what. If I can distract it somehow while still in the car, I can hopefully get us both out alive. I rev my engine, and it looks in my direction. The woman crawls away, and I honk the horn, still distracting it. I drive closer to her, and she jumps in through the open door. She shuts it and yells, “Go!”

I don’t wait. I punch it. Dirt and gravel fly as I speed away. I drive straight in to it; its body causing my car to bounce. I don’t look behind me. I hope I killed it or at least maimed it. I’m just not certain that this thing won’t die without help from divine powers.

I try to get us off the road as soon as possible. I never want to see a back road again.

“Thanks,” the woman says with a shaking voice.

I glance at her; she’s bloody and bruised. Her hair is a mess, but we’re alive. That’s all that matters.

“For what?”

“Saving my life.”

“Well, you saved mine. Call us even.”

She fell quiet a moment before asking, “What’s your name?”

“Chelsea.”

“Chelsea what?”

“Morgan.”

“I’m Marion Booker.”

“Do you have a daughter?”

“Yes. Rachel. Do you know her?”

“I work with a Rachel Booker at the convenience store at…”

“The end of Oak Drive?”

“That’s the one.”

“That’s my Rachel. She’s mentioned you a couple of times.”

I feel bad for them. Rachel has just lost her father, Marion her husband.  I’m not sure how I can face Rachel at work later, knowing exactly what happened. But at least her mother is alive.

Marion is crying, but I have to know. My curiosity has the best of me.

“Why were you and your husband on this road?”

“We were on our way home from celebrating our twenty-fifth anniversary. It was a shortcut.”

A loud thud comes from the trunk, and we scream. The monster’s menacing smile reflected back at me in the rear view mirror. A shiver runs down my spine. The fiend is only out to kill, and it won’t stop until we’re dead.

It starts to bust out my back windshield.

“What are we going to do?” I ask frantically.

Marion jumps out of the moving vehicle before I know what is happening. I stop the car, but the monster heads toward her—and fast. I don’t know what to do.

I put the car in park and try to find something to use as a weapon. I have to save Marion. I’m terrified. I can barely control my weeping and shaking. What am I gonna do?!

The monster stops and stares at her. She knows what’s coming. I can see it in her slack body. She’s given up.

“Get outta here!” Marion yells.

“I’m not going to let you die!”

“Go! Both of us aren’t going to make it out alive.”

I can’t leave her. Marion saved my life earlier. I’m not just going to leave her here to die by the hand of this monster.

“Go!” she yells again.

I don’t know what to do, but the monster is at her before I can think of anything. The thing is already killing her, and Marion doesn’t even fight back. I have no other choice but to jump in the car and drive. Marion, a woman I don’t even know, saves my life. I speed off, hoping and praying that it won’t follow me, and I can’t stop thinking that I am the cause of Rachel being an orphan.

Lights in the distance give me hope. I’m nearing civilization, but behind me, the sad truth of this night will forever haunt me.

The road to morning isn’t something I’ll ever forget.

 

 

10 Days of Halloween with Lee Roberts

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We’re on day five of our 10 Days of Halloween event, and today, we’re welcoming author Lee Roberts! He’s sharing an excerpt of his YA book, Elvis Blue! Be sure to read through to the end. There just might, there definitely will be, a giveaway at the end!

Elvis Blue

***

Elvis enjoyed a relaxing Sunday dinner with his family, the first one he could remember. It had been years since all of the Blue family had sat around the table together talking and eating and chatting about things. It was nice. He was hoping it was the start of a new routine.

His mother and father had shared a few knowing glances and off-hand smiles. It was obvious they had reconnected again. Everyone could feel the new sense of love and support that had been missing for a long time. Even Sherlock showed a boundless energy and enthusiasm that revealed itself in typical puppy antics. Everyone in the Blue family seemed happy for a change.

The early afternoon meal finally came to an end and they each went their separate ways. Gary and Giselle cleaned up the kitchen together and flirted with each other. Elvis could hear them talking and laughing like teenagers even after he left the room. He could hear C.J. in her bedroom listening to music and dancing by herself. It was a wonderful new beginning for all of them.

Elvis took Sherlock into the living room for a while. They surfed the television channels but didn’t find anything interesting to watch. He laid on the sofa and wondered what Maria was doing. He decided to go and find out.

Elvis went out the back door and dashed over to the old van – his old van now. Sherlock trotted along behind and hopped up into the passenger seat beside him. He put the keys into the ignition and cranked it up. The engine was a bit reluctant to start, but it sounded like music to his ears when it finally did turn over.

The rain was still coming down so Elvis switched on the windshield wipers and eased carefully into the road. He drove the short distance to the Palmero house, and he pulled in the driveway. Maria must have been looking out the window and saw him arrive. She came running out of the house and squeezed into the passenger seat with Sherlock. The puppy licked her face and plopped contentedly onto her lap.

“Hey there,” Elvis said cheerfully.

“Hey yourself,” Maria replied. “Are you going someplace in particular or just out joyriding in your new van?”

“No place in particular, just riding around.”

“Cool! Let’s go then.”

They glanced at the house and saw Maria’s father peering through window. He didn’t look happy. Maria smiled and waved at him.

“Quick! Get moving before my father comes out here and stops us.”

Elvis shifted into reverse and backed out of the driveway. Then he turned around and started down the road. They glanced back and saw Maria’s father come out onto the front porch. He watched them drive away.

“So where are we going?” she asked.

Elvis shrugged. “I don’t know. You got any ideas?”

They both thought about it for a minute.

“How about the Simmons place?” Maria suggested.

Elvis looked surprised. “The Simmons place? Right now?”

“Sure, why not? It’s still daylight outside, and we don’t have anything else to do.”

“Yeah, but your father told us to stay away from there.”

“He was talking to the whole group. It’s only the two of us today, so it’s not the same thing. We won’t tell the others. Let’s just stop by for a few minutes.”

“Well . . . okay.” Elvis was not going to refuse. He would take her anywhere she wanted to go. He would have taken Maria to the moon if she had asked.

They drove there in less than twenty minutes. Elvis guided the van down the ruts of the old driveway and then slowly around to the back of the house. Even though it was late afternoon, the gloomy weather and dreary atmosphere made the house seem dark and depressing. He started having second thoughts.

“Are you sure that you want to go inside?” Elvis asked.

“Yeah, we might as well go in and look around a little,” said Maria. “Do you have any equipment with you?”

Elvis glanced in the back of the van and nodded.

“Yep, I had already loaded most of it in case we went out with the other guys this week. I hadn’t planned on coming here again so soon though.”

Maria climbed out of the front seat and began scrounging around in the back of the truck. She came up with a couple of things.

“Let’s take some flashlights and a recorder. Maybe we’ll hear something.”

“How about the video camera, too? As long as we’re going in, we may as well set it up to film while we’re walking around.”

“Okay.”

They grabbed the equipment and carried it to the back door. Sherlock trotted at their heels. The pane of glass that Derek had broken had still not been replaced, so Elvis reached in and unlocked the door. They tromped through the kitchen and made their way slowly to the big central room in the middle of the house. The hardwood floor was now surprisingly clean and swept. It was apparent that someone else had been there recently and tidied up the place.

“Look,” Maria observed. “No footprints.”

Elvis shrugged. “Who knows? Maybe a building inspector or appraiser? I guess somebody is interested in this place. Maybe they finally found the owners, or they are going to sell it.”

Maria helped Elvis set up the video camera in one corner of the room and get it rolling. Then they switched on the digital recorder and started wandering around. A few minutes of that yielded nothing. The little puppy explored, sniffing all of the unfamiliar scents, but he quickly got bored as well. Elvis nodded toward the cellar door.

“You want to go downstairs for a while?”

“Sure.”

Maria followed him down to the basement, moving slowly and cautiously down the rickety wooden stairs. Sherlock sat at the top of the steps and refused to come down. They reached the bottom and panned their flashlights around. Several holes were dug in the dirt floor, but they couldn’t remember which ones had been there before.

Despite the summer heat outside and the humidity of the rain storm, the air in the basement remained cool and dank.  Elvis checked the recorder again to make sure it was working. Then he placed his flashlight on the ground, switched it off, and backed away a few steps. He glanced over at Maria.

“If anyone is here with us, we’re sorry to disturb you and mean you no harm. We only want to communicate with you and help you if we can. Please switch on the light to let us know you are here.”

After a few seconds, the flashlight came on. Maria gasped and grabbed Elvis by the arm. He could feel her trembling with excitement. He tried to stay calm.

“Thank you. Can you switch it off again?”

The flashlight on the ground went dark. Elvis could feel Maria’s body pressing up closer against him, but he tried to focus on the task at hand.

“We would like to know who we are talking to. If you can speak or make some kind of sound, maybe we can capture it on this recorder.”

Elvis placed the electronic device on the ground next to the flashlight. They both waited a few minutes but didn’t hear anything.

“Are you Josiah Simmons or a member of his family?” said Elvis. “If you are, please switch on the light again.”

Nothing happened.

“Are you one of the people who died here?” Maria asked timidly.

The flashlight came on.

“Oh my goodness!” Maria exclaimed. She turned and darted up the steps. Elvis scooped up the flashlight and recorder and scrambled up the stairs behind her. Sherlock started barking and running around in small circles. They stopped in the big central room again to catch their breath.

Maria hugged Elvis and buried her face in his chest. He put his arms around her and held her close. Standing in the middle of the room didn’t feel safe, so Elvis guided them over to one side and put his back up against the wall. The large staircase leading upstairs was immediately behind him, so he could see the entire room from there.

“It’s okay,” he whispered. “Don’t be scared. I won’t let anything hurt you. I’m right here. It’s nothing but electrical energy.”

She relaxed a little. “That was spooky. Did you hear anything?”

“No, but we might have caught something on the recorder.”

Elvis pushed a couple of buttons to replay the last few minutes. Both of them listened closely. They could just barely hear a faint whisper.

“What do you think it says?” Maria whispered.

“I don’t know. It’s not very clear. Under the stars maybe? Something like that?”

She nodded. “That’s what I hear, too. Under the stars. I wonder what it means.”

He shrugged. “Who knows?”

Maria looked into his eyes and time seemed to stand still for a moment. Elvis had one arm still wrapped around her. He could feel her chest pressed tightly against his. She inched a little closer and leaned forward to kiss him.

Elvis wasn’t sure if it was adrenaline or hormones, but some kind of hot chemical reaction seemed to take place deep inside them both. Maria pushed forward even harder, slamming her body into his and pressing their lips together. He held her tighter and then let himself fall back hard against the wall.

Suddenly there was a sound of splintering wood and the wall cracked open behind him. They both tumbled through the narrow opening and onto the dirty floor of a hidden closet. A cloud of dust swirled all around them making them cough and rub their eyes. When the swirling dust finally cleared, they found themselves sitting on top of some old wooden planks.

“Wow, that was weird,” Elvis remarked. “I think we broke something.”

“On you or the house?” asked Maria, brushing off her jeans.

“The house,” he said. “I’m fine. Looks like we found an old closet. You okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

They both looked around. Maria found one of the flashlights and shined it around the tiny space. It appeared to be a small storage room built right under the stairs.

“I wonder why we never noticed this before?” she asked.

“It was probably a hidden door or sealed shut,” said Elvis. “We only found it by accident. We may be the first ones in here for forty years.”

She shined her flashlight down on the floor.

“What are these planks? There are big gaps between them, and they’re all loose. I can feel air coming up from underneath.”

They scooted over to one side and Elvis began lifting the boards up and moving them over. Maria shined the light down into the opening beneath.

“It looks like a tunnel!” she said excitedly. “Let’s see where it goes!”

About Elvis Blue:

Elvis Blue just turned sixteen and struggles with the challenges of becoming a man. In the small town of Hillsborough, North Carolina, there aren’t a lot of opportunities for young kids who come from the wrong side of the tracks. He is also dealing with the unfamiliar emotions that go with finding his first love in neighborhood girl Maria. Together with his best friend Monk and loyal puppy Sherlock, Elvis decides to embark on a ghost-hunting adventure to find his fame and fortune.

Purchase your copy of Elvis Blue today!

The first 10 people to email Author Lee Roberts will receive a FREE PDF of Elvis Blue! Email him today!

About Lee Roberts:

616EiJzjXzLI was born and raised in the southern United States, but I have traveled to many other places in the world. I find the different people and cultures fascinating. My education and work experience began with accounting and finance. But as with everything else, it has gradually evolved more and more to computers and information technology. Our lives today are centered on talking with each other through the flows of bits and bytes.

More than twenty years ago, I started writing stories to capture all of the interesting thoughts and impressions lurking in my imagination. These stories became an important part of my life and I decided to share this by creating fictitious people and places in my mind. These people could say and do anything that I had ever seen or thought about. They are all very real to me with their own unique personalities, motivations, and quirks. They live in my head every day, and through the magic of books, I can share all of it with you.

Today, I am the luckiest man on the planet. I am married to a beautiful lady from Colombia and I’m the proud father of some wonderful children. I love animals, mysteries, and salsa music. Life is a very precious thing. Take time to ride a Harley, smoke a pipe, eat a taco, cuddle with a cat, or drink a cup of tea. Enjoy every moment of it with me.

Check out Lee’s website and Amazon Author page!

10 Days of Halloween with J.L. Salter

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Fellow Clean Reads Author, J.L. Salter, is joining the blog today! I recently found out that Mr. Salter lived in Mississippi at some point, so that practically makes us neighbors! Let’s give a warm welcome to Mr. Salter as he shares an scary excerpt from his book The Ghostess & Mister Muir.

Honestly, I may have to grab this book because listen to this tagline!

No self-respecting Southern girl takes second place to a spook.

Y’all! How perfect is that? Here’s the excerpt. Oh, and stay tuned for a giveaway at the end of the post!

***

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Chapter One

“Aren’t you the new teacher who lives in the spooky old downtown hotel?” asked the female voice behind Levi Muir. Lurching into the flimsy cart against the faculty lounge wall almost caused him to spill his freshly poured coffee.

Turning, Muir realized the speaker was his attractive young colleague with lovely tanned legs. “I’ll be at the Whitecliff Apartments. Don’t know anything about a hotel.”

She moved closer and extended her sun-bronzed hand. “I’m Lucy Tierney, science department. Starting my sixth year.”

Nice to know there were some five year survivors at Magnolia High. “Levi Muir, English department. Rookie.”

“I know, Levi. We can all spot a newbie. Have you been assigned a mentor yet?”

“Uh, don’t think so. Don’t recall it coming up.” His eyebrows lifted. “Are you…?”

“Oh, heavens no. Not me. I won’t serve as a mentor until my seventh year, at the earliest.” Then she lowered her voice. “So what do you think of your apartment in the legendary old Majestic Hotel?”

It was the final day of orientation and professional development training; Monday would be D-Day… when the students began classes. “Haven’t really stayed there yet, Miss Tierney. Tonight’s my first night.”

“Lucy. You’ve been here every day this whole week. Where have you been staying?”

“An aunt lives in Magnolia. My apartment wasn’t ready yet. In fact, all I got was a nickel tour from a shrimpy manager who kept looking over his shoulder.”

Lucy nodded like she knew the man. Her nicely-toned arm tensed as she reached for an empty cup, but she frowned and put it back down. “The coffee’s awful here.”

Already noted.

“Have you seen those old hotel furnishings?”

“Didn’t really notice, except to be sure I had a bed and a chair.”

“What about table and stove for cooking your meals? Plus couch and extra chair… for all your visitors?” Her warm smile suggested she’d be willing to be among them.

And attractive company she’d be. “Don’t really cook, at least not worth mentioning. And not expecting many visitors, since I really don’t know anybody here except Aunt Martha.”

“Well, now you know me.” Lucy’s lovely smile hinted that she probably expected a particular reply, but Levi couldn’t guess what, so he just eyed the half-full cup in his hand.

“Not a big talker, are you?”

“Guess not.” It sounded terse. “Sorry. Must be the rookie jitters.”

Lucy nodded thoughtfully. “So tonight is your first night in the old Majestic…”

“The Whitecliff Apartments.”

“Well, everybody here knows it as the old hotel, so you might as well get used to it.” Her tone was lighter than the words she’d selected. “And you probably already know that everybody says it’s…”

Swooshing suddenly into the lounge, Principal Gull interrupted as she jostled directly between them. “Now hush, Miss Tierney. We don’t want to scare away any more of our first year teachers.” Mrs. Gull squinted as though she were adjusting to contact lenses. “It’s difficult enough to recruit good people to small towns like ours, so don’t run them off before classes even start.”

Lucy appeared mildly embarrassed. “I thought he already knew.”

“Knew what?” Muir faced the principal again.

Mrs. Gull took an elbow of each and steered both teachers out of the lounge. “All in good time. For now, let’s head into the cafeteria for final briefings and to review our battle plans for Monday.”

Lucy said no more but took a seat next to Muir at an otherwise empty table.

Over the next ten minutes, he paid considerably less attention to the briefings than to his intriguing tablemate. Though Muir and a few other rookies had received orientation on Monday and Tuesday, the veterans didn’t appear until Wednesday for the professional development training aimed at all instructors. He’d immediately noticed Lucy and had observed her frequently… without actually communicating. Leaning closely, he whispered, “What was Gull talking about?”

No immediate reply. But after a new speaker took the microphone, Lucy tapped his thigh, sending electricity all over his body. Only her business card, however. On the back was a hastily scribbled note, “Tell you later.

The principal was staring when Muir raised his head and he felt like a kid caught passing notes in study hall. Which was pretty much the situation.

As the session finally ended, Muir tried to catch up to Lucy — already exiting the cafeteria — but was called back by the principal’s authoritative voice. “Mr. Muir, could I see you for a moment, please?”

“Of course, Mrs. Gull.” He watched for a clue whether this would be some sort of reproach or merely a final word.

Gull’s expression offered no hint, but it seemed she mulled over her words before speaking. “I wouldn’t be worried about whatever Miss Tierney told you concerning the hotel.”

“She hasn’t told me anything.” Yet.

Gull continued anyway. “Seasoned Alabama buildings develop reputations and in an older small town like Magnolia, legends die hard, especially…” She made a show of checking her watch. “Well, anyway, like I say, don’t fret over what you hear.”

“Okay, Mrs. Gull, I won’t.” He nodded deferentially. “Thanks.”

The principal seemed satisfied they’d held their little chat, although Muir still had no clue what they’d been talking about. So far, all he knew was the structure was old, had once been a hotel, and presently featured offices on first floor and apartments on second. Plus, whenever people mentioned the place, they usually had an odd expression and lowered their voices.

About The Ghostess and Mister Muir:

Though he doesn’t even believe in spirits, it takes only one haunting for Levi Muir to become entranced with the beautiful ghostess.

A young veteran recovering from a wrecked relationship, Muir moves to Magnolia for his first year teaching high school English and resides in the renovated old hotel, which everyone knows is haunted.

Despite his skepticism, Muir senses a presence, then smells a unique perfume. Later, he locates an old portrait of beautiful Danielle Gregg, who lived in that suite a century ago, but experienced a tragic death.

His lovely new colleague, Lucy – science teacher and dedicated Spirit-Chaser – tries to convince Muir that the supernatural is real… and not to be taken lightly. Though Muir has been attracted to Lucy since the first day he spotted her, something begins to jam his thoughts whenever she enters his mind.

Intrigued by the beauty and sensuality of the mysterious woman in the portrait, Muir tries to learn more about the ghostess and her untimely demise. Though still skeptical of ghosts and hauntings, Muir can’t shake the feeling there could be more to Danielle’s mysterious 1914 death than the locals believe.

The more Muir encounters the lovely ghostess, the stronger his desire for even more contact! But Lucy’s willing to fight for Levi’s heart, because no self-respecting Southern girl takes second place to a spook.

Purchase your copy of The Ghostess and Mister Muir on Amazon.

Be sure to leave a comment below telling us if you believe in ghosts in order to win a Kindle copy of The Ghostess and Mister Muir!

About J.L. Salter:

6B2B0212 (2)Romantic comedy and romantic suspense are among sixteen fiction titles released through three royalty publishers. A new title is expected soon.

Also co-author of two non-fiction monographs plus signed entries in other books. I’ve also published articles, book reviews, and over 120 poems; my writing has won nearly 40 awards. As a newspaper photo-journalist, I published about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos.

decorated veteran of the U.S. Air Force, I also worked nearly 30 years in the field of librarianship. I’m the married parent of two and grandparent of six.

Stay up to date with J.L. Salter:

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http://tinyurl.com/AuthorJeff

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