Weekend Excerpt–Happy Halloween

They say still waters run deep.
In the little lakeside town of Midnight Cove,
still waters harbor dark secrets.

When writer Bree Blaylock rented the lakeside cottage in the small town of Midnight Cove, she didn’t count on staying in a haunted house. But she doesn’t mind sharing quarters with a restless spirit. She learned long ago that the living are always more dangerous than the dead.

She also didn’t count on falling for local lawman Jake Hanson. But life often has other ideas. Can Jake keep her safe when the past comes calling?

Read a little teaser from MIDNIGHT COVE.

Together, Bree and Jake sank into their camping chairs.  “I suppose this crowd can be a little overwhelming,” Jake said quietly, “but they’re really nice.  You’ll see.”

Bree sipped her wine and watched as people shared embraces like long-lost friends, chatting and laughing as they did. 

The whine of outboard motors announced that another couple of boats had pulled up onto the beach.  Bree recognized the cashier from the market among the new arrivals.  Despite the cool fall evening, the young woman wore denim cut-offs so short, her ass cheeks hung out.  In the thin white camisole she wore, her pronounced nipples attuned everyone to the fact that she was cold. 

Immediately, she zeroed in on Jake.  “Hey, there,” she drawled, eyes locked on his.  “I’m glad you made it.”

“Hi, Darlene,” he answered, his tone friendly.  Bree watched him carefully, but he didn’t seem impressed by Darlene’s obvious display.  “You remember Bree from the other day.”

The woman flicked her gaze in Bree’s direction, her lips pressed together in contempt.  “Oh, yeah, hi.”

“Hello.”  Bree tried for friendly, but she felt her irritation rising.  It was the second time she’d met this Darlene, and the second time the woman had both dismissed her and fawned all over Jake.  It was sickening.

“There’s plenty of beer over there,” Jake nodded toward the collection of coolers.  “Help yourself.”

“In the Publix bag, there’s everything you need for s’mores if you like,” Bree offered helpfully, smiling.

Darlene looked at Bree for a second, then returned her attention to Jake.  “I believe I will have a beer.  Talk to you later.”

During the exchange with Darlene, another boat had arrived.  Dragging their own chairs and a cooler, a ragtag assortment of people approached the others.  Bree recognized the young woman from the bookstore.

Her smile was friendly.  “Hey, how are you?  I’m April, from the Peacock.  How’s the book?”

“Yes, I recognized you.  I’m great, thanks, and I’m loving the book.”

Space around the fire was filling in, and April slid her chair into a small gap at about Bree’s three o’clock.  “It’s one of her best if you ask me,” April said.  “How do you know Jake?”

Eyes wide, Bree looked to her left at Jake.

“We’re neighbors,” Jake said quickly.  “Bree’s a writer.  She’s renting old man Meyer’s place for a couple months.”

“Wait!”  April leaned forward in her chair and squinted in Bree’s direction.  “You’re not Bree Blaylock, are you?”

Bree nodded.  “I am, actually.”

“Holy shit!” April squeaked.  “Bree Blaylock!  I should have recognized you the other day.  I mean, your red hair should have given it away.  Holy shit!  I loved your book!”

Blushing, Bree glanced over to see Jake watching her.  “Wow, thanks so much.  I’m really glad you liked it.”

“No, seriously, Nothing Much, are you kidding me?  It was life-changing.  I read it three times.”

Aware that conversation around the fire had paused as April gushed on and on, Bree felt herself blush even deeper.  “That’s really nice of you to say.”

“Oh!”  April popped up out of her chair, waving her hands expressively.  “We should do a book signing!  My bosses are always looking for ways to get more customers in the door.  A signing with Bree Blaylock!  That would be amazing.” 

Sheepishly, the young woman looked to Bree and sank back into her seat.  “If you were interested in doing it, of course.”

Bree smiled warmly.  “I’d be happy to do a book signing if the owners of the store wanted to do it.”

April grinned from ear to ear.  “They’d love it.  I’ll ask them as soon as they come back.”

“So, Bree Blaylock, what’s it like staying in a haunted house?”  The disdainful drawl came from directly across the fire ring.

“Come on, Darlene,” Jake objected softly.

Darlene dismissed him with a wave of the Budweiser in her hand.  “We’ve all heard the stories.  There’s a ghost in that cottage.  How many summer renters have come running out of that place like a bat out of hell, never even bothering to look back?”

Determined not to let the woman get the best of her, Bree leaned back in her chair and smiled.  “I’m very comfortable in Mr. Meyer’s house.  It’s nice and quiet, and I’m able to get a lot of writing done.”

Eyes wide, April leaned forward.  “Have you seen a ghost?”

“Oh, come on,” Jake objected.  “You two can’t be serious.”

“There are stories, Jake,” Rusty commented.  “Years ago, they supposedly found a dead girl out here floating near the island.  They say they never caught her killer.”

“Every summer, a handful of Meyer’s renters leave before their week is up,” someone else added.  “They tell some weird stories.”

“That’s what it is,” Darlene purred, narrowing her eyes at Bree.  “It’s the ghost of the murdered girl, looking for revenge on the one who killed her.”

Picturing Steven, Bree tried to suppress a smile.  “Again, I’m very happy at the house.  And by mid-November, I’ll be finished with my book and out of your hair.”

Determined, she held Darlene’s stare until the other girl finally dropped her gaze.  Keeping her outward expression neutral, inside, Bree rejoiced.  You’re being ridiculous, she chided herself.  You just won a staring contest with a local grocery clerk.

Still, Bree was happy when the conversation moved on to other topics.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

MIDNIGHT COVE is currently available exclusively in fall’s hottest anthology, DARK SECRETS. Available for just .99, and free with Kindle Unlimited, this boxed set includes nine brand new romantic suspense novels that make for perfect Halloween reading.

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