Weekend Excerpt–Happy Halloween!

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

Happy Halloween! In the mood for a haunted house/dark and stormy night/steamy romance kind of book? I’ve got you covered!

Writer Bree Blaylock just wants a chance to catch her breath.  Having finally escaped an abusive relationship, she’s relieved to have found a quiet place to finish writing her new book.  

From the moment she arrives, she realizes she’s not alone in her rented cottage on the lake.  But she’s okay with that. In her experience, the living are always more dangerous than the dead.

Meeting handsome local lawman Jake Hanson wasn’t even remotely on her radar.  Now that she has, maybe it’s time to take another chance on love.  

But can he keep her safe when the past comes calling?

Spoilers abound in this revealing Halloween snippet from MIDNIGHT COVE.

Bree glanced around, but Jake was nowhere to be seen.  Reluctantly, she joined April and Rusty in line.  Ten minutes later, they each held a black plastic bucket containing a fruity alcohol concoction.

“Thirty-two ounces of different kinds of rum with a tiny splash of juice.” April giggled. “Any other day, it’s called a voodoo bucket, but on Halloween, they call it Witches Brew.”

Bree sipped hers, deciding the combination of different rums and juice was an enjoyable mixture. 

“Okay, what now?” Rusty asked.

“I really need to find Jake,” Bree responded.

“I thought we could work our way over to the nachos.”  April sounded a bit disappointed.

“You guys go ahead,” Bree told her.  “I’ll catch up with you in a little while.”

April looked to Rusty and rolled her eyes comically.  “The girl has the serious hots for your best friend,” she told him.

Bree laughed with more patience than she felt.  “Really, I’ll find you again.  And thanks for the drink.  Next round is on me.”

Now you’re talking.  Okay, go find Jakey-boy,” Rusty teased.  “We’ll see you in a while.” 

Bree watched the pair make their way to one of the food tents.  Then she turned and headed back toward the other end of the street.  Her sense of unease growing, her gaze flitted around as she scanned the crowd searching for Jake. 

She finally spotted him just as he was leaving the children’s game area.  Before she could reach him, he was stopped by Darlene Bright, who was sporting a very short plaid skirt and a white blouse tied around her bare midriff.  Her long blond hair hung in pigtails, and she wore white knee socks and black stilettos. 

Nodding at something Darlene said, Jake looked up and saw Bree coming toward them.  Grinning broadly, he excused himself and met Bree in three long strides.

“Hello, beautiful!  You make just about the sexiest witch I ever saw.”  He leaned down to kiss her lightly.  “And I see you found the official Halloween libation.  Where are Rusty and April?”

Bree hooked a thumb over her shoulder.  “They went to get something to eat.  I wanted to find you, though.”

“The festival’s going really well,” he commented, looking out over the crowd.  “The weather is perfect, and everyone’s having a great time.  Are you hungry?  The onion rings are to die for.  My treat?”

Shaking her head, she put her free hand on his arm.  “I need to talk to you.”

At her urgent tone, he frowned.  “Is everything okay?”

She sighed deeply.  “It’s just…”  She looked around.  “Can we talk someplace quiet?”  She dropped her drink into a nearby trash can.

He nodded.  “Sure.  Come with me.”

Taking her hand, he led her through the crowd to the police station.  The front doors were unlocked, and he led her through a swinging wooden gate into the inner office.  Brow furrowed, he turned to face her, leaning a hip on one of the desks.  “What’s the matter, Bree?  You’re worrying me.”

She exhaled sharply and paced a few steps away.  “This is going to sound nuts.  But I need you to believe me.”

Jake crossed his arms and nodded.  “Just tell me what’s going on.”

“Mr. Meyer killed that girl all those years ago.  Christie.  And he killed his brother, Steven, too.”  She wrung her hands together, desperate for Jake to believe her.

His frown deepened, and he swiped his hand across his chin.  “What makes you think so?”

Bree chewed her lip, hesitating.  “I saw him do it.”

She watched his eyes widen.

“You saw him.”  He shook his head.  “Bree, that murder happened forty years ago.  How could you have seen it?”

“I know how this sounds, Jake.  But I saw him.  Out on the island.  I don’t think he set out to do it, but he strangled Christie, then he hit Steven in the head with a rock.  He buried Steven in the basement of the lake house.”

Pushing away from the desk, he approached her, taking her hands in his.  “Bree, I just don’t understand.  What do you mean, you saw him do these things?”

“It was a dream.”  Her voice was nearly a whisper.

Relief flooded Jake’s face.  “A dream.  Bree, you just dreamed you saw Meyer do those things.”

Frustrated tears threatened to spill down her cheeks, and she swallowed hard.  “Jake, I need you to believe me.  It’s true.  The murderer has been here the whole time.  People should know the truth.  Steven and Christie deserve justice.”

He watched her for a moment, then pulled her to himself, pressing a kiss to the top of her head.  “It’s not that I don’t believe you, babe.  But let’s say I do believe you.  I can’t act on something you saw in a dream.  I need concrete evidence, something irrefutable.  I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to–”

With a grunt, Jake went limp and slid to the floor.  Where he’d been, Eric Meyer stood glaring at her, a heavy glass paperweight in his hand.

“See what you made me do?” he said to Bree.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

MIDNIGHT COVE is available
at your favorite online bookseller.

Weekend Excerpt–A Halloween Surprise

They say desperate times call for desperate measures.
Charley Weatherly is about to realize that it’s true.

Life isn’t working out exactly the way Charley Weatherly imagined it might when she walked away from her steady paycheck as a copywriter to start her own business. But as it turns out, not everyone in town is knocking down the door of her tiny independent bookshop. She has lost money every quarter since she opened.

Now, with her grandmother in need of more care than Charley can provide, some difficult decisions have to be made. The rest of her 401k plus the proceeds from selling the bookstore might keep Nana in Pacifico Manor for about a year. That would give Charley time to figure out her next move.

But when that money is irretrievably lost, Charley is faced with an impossible decision. Being a gestational surrogate for a couple who can’t have a baby on their own will bring in the kind of cash she needs. Can she really follow through?

Between trying to keep her small business afloat and caring for her grandmother, Charley’s personal life has been nonexistent. But when she moves to the city for a few months, she finds she enjoys the freedom of her part-time gig at Bravo Java. She especially enjoys chatting up the handsome local artist who spends his mornings there. Now that her life is taking an unexpected turn, has she finally met the right man at the wrong time?

Artist Ben Campbell has had his fair share of romantic disasters. For the time being, he’s content to follow his self-imposed schedule: gym, coffee, work, repeat.

But the new barista at his favorite coffee shop piques his interest. In fact, if he’s honest with himself, she looks a lot like the elusive redhead who haunts his dreams.

She seems to be attracted to him, too. So why does Charley insist on keeping him at arm’s length?

Prefer your romance with plenty of heat and tons of heart?
You’ll love The Girl in the Guesthouse!

Read a Halloween scene from THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE.

The late-model Camry eased to a stop in front of the historic mansion at 2219 Prescott, and Ben swung open the rear passenger-side door.

“Thanks, man,” he nodded to the Uber driver as he grabbed the black tricorn hat on the seat beside him and stepped out onto the sidewalk. Straightening his deep-red brocade pirate coat, he slid the hat over the red scarf covering his head and glanced up at the house. The place was lit up like Christmas, but knowing the party would be out back, Ben headed toward the narrow driveway around the end of the house.

Gravel crunched beneath his black leather thigh-high boots as he made his way around the house. He had opted to take an Uber to the party to avoid having to scramble for a place to park his beloved VW van, something he was sure other party guests had done as well. And he had considered walking the dozen or so blocks between his loft and the Shepherd-Wang’s but Halloween or not, he’d decided that he’d rather not traipse through Pacific Heights dressed as a buccaneer of the high seas.

As he made his way down the driveway, the sound of happy conversation mixed with music grew clearer, though it was certainly not loud enough to cause the neighbors to complain.

Besides, he smiled softly to himself, if I know Drew and Alex, they’ve invited the closest neighbors, so nobody is home to complain.

He came around the corner of the house and stopped to take in the view. By his estimate, the party had been going for about an hour, and by now, costumed party guests had taken advantage of the open bar and the trays of appetizers being circulated by professionally attired servers.

The atmosphere was festive and pausing to listen, Ben realized the current song was Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of London. He shook his head and grinned. Leave it to Alex and Drew, and his money was on Alex specifically, to create an entire Halloween playlist.

Charley would have enjoyed this. He sighed to himself. Ah, well.

Scanning the crowd, he spotted the hosts themselves holding court on the far side of the patio, all decked out as characters from Hamilton, complete with wigs and all. Deciding that he’d say hello to them later, he made his way to the bar and ordered a shot of Captain Morgan, smugly pleased to match his drink to his costume.

Drink in hand, he headed back the way he’d come, pausing to say hello to a few familiar faces before claiming a spot at the edge of the crowd.

The better to people-watch, he considered. Maybe it was just him, or maybe it was artists in general, but Ben had always been more of an introvert, preferring to observe most of the action rather than be the center of it.

Between where he stood and the guesthouse at the back of the courtyard, Ben wasn’t surprised to spot Roxane, the manager of the coffee shop beneath his apartment. Instead of her usual Bravo Java attire, she shimmered in a long purple and silver sequined gown complimented by a fluffy purple feather boa, bringing to mind Donna Summer from back in the day.

Ben knew that many of tonight’s guests were in some way affiliated with Drew’s businesses or Alex’s real estate business. With their genuine kindness and generosity, the couple made friends wherever they went. It was something Ben could attest to as he flicked a nostalgic glance toward the tiny guesthouse.

As he did, the door opened, and a woman in white emerged. Her long red curls were pulled away from her face and as she turned to close the door, he saw that her hair nearly reached her waist. His fingers instinctively flexed, itching to sketch those long curls.

When she turned to face the crowd, she paused, lightly swiping both hands down her skirt before taking a few tentative steps toward the party. Suddenly, a smile broke across her face and her pace quickened.

Holy shit, it’s Charley. How had he not recognized her immediately? He sipped his rum again, privately acknowledging that he didn’t look much like himself tonight, either.

He watched as Charley approached Roxane. The pair greeted each other with a hug and Roxane gestured toward a tall man with a large afro and dressed as if he’d stepped straight out of the 70s. Charley smiled, shaking the man’s hand and saying something in greeting.

Unable to resist any longer, Ben began to make his way toward the trio.

As Charley and the other man made small talk, Roxane glanced his way and she laughed out loud. “I figured we’d see you here! How are you, Ben?”

Mid-sentence, Charley stopped, her jaw dropping as she recognized him.

He gave her a warm smile. “Hi, Charley,” he offered softly.

Mouth agape, she merely blinked.

“Hey, Ben! Long time, no see.” Roxane’s husband reached to shake his hand.

Ben grinned. “It was probably about this time last year. How are you, Daymon?”

“Can’t complain. Or I could, I suppose, but who would listen?” Both men laughed congenially.

“Listen, I’m off the clock and at a party, so I’m going to head over to that bar and find myself an adult beverage.” Roxane grasped Daymon by the elbow. “Come on, husband, buy me a drink.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he grinned. “See you all later. Charley, it was nice to meet you.”

Ben watched them for a moment, then turned back to Charley. “Hi, Charley,” he repeated, grinning.

“Um…Hi! I just…I mean…” She leaned closer peering up at him. “That’s some kind of guy-liner you’ve got going there.”

Surprised, he frowned. “Is it too much?”

She giggled nervously. “Not if you’re going for a real pirate-of-the-Caribbean kind of vibe.”

Scanning him up and down, she giggled again. “Seriously, you look like a real pirate. It’s…”

Pursing his lips in amusement, he waited to see what she would say.

“Well, it’s creepy and sexy, all at the same time.”

Ben laughed out loud. “I’m sexy?”

“And creepy. Don’t forget creepy,” she said, fidgeting with the sash around her waist.

“Well, you look amazing. This is a great costume. I’m loving all the red curls.”

“Yeah, most of them aren’t mine, though. A team of professionals put all this together.” Blushing again, Charley looked across the yard. “I’m supposed to be Christine from Phantom of the Opera. It wasn’t my idea, but I didn’t know what to choose.”

“It was Alex, am I right?” Ben nodded knowingly.

Her mouth popped open again, her eyes wide. “How did you guess?”

Ben had to laugh. “He always knows exactly what he wants. I’m going to be in big trouble tonight. Wait till he sees me in the same costume for the second year in a row. I was a pirate of the Caribbean last year. This year, I’m from Pirates of Penzance. Ten bucks says he won’t be able to resist calling me out before the night’s over.”

Charley chuckled, too. “Do you really think so?”

He nodded confidently. “One hundred percent. Wait and see.”

Remembering the drink in his hand, he gestured toward Charley. “Hey, can we get you a drink?”

She shook her head. “Thanks, I’m good right now.”

Just then, the music changed to Thriller and a happy gasp went up from the crowd. Guests scurried to the large open area in front of the stage to form a line dance.

Ben leaned closer to Charley. “You know, this is the party I invited you to.”

“I kind of wondered when I realized you were here. It makes sense. Your ‘good friends’. A Halloween party.”

“And here you are anyway. It’s kind of an interesting turn of events, isn’t it?”

Charley nodded, looking vaguely uncomfortable. “It kind of is,” she agreed.

“So how do you know Drew and Alex?”

She glanced around. “I, uh…well–“

“Oh, yay! If it isn’t two of my most favorite people on the planet! And they’re chatting together!” In his white knee-breeches and blue revolutionary-era coat, Alex looked like he’d stepped off the Broadway stage. His brown wig was immaculate. He gave Ben an affectionate hug.

“And don’t think I didn’t notice your recycled costume,” he fussed, raising an eyebrow. “Do you know Charley?”

Ben laughed and nodded. “We’ve met. I’m pretty much a regular at Bravo Java every morning.”

“What?” Alex asked in exaggerated surprise, pressing his fingertips to his chest. “I had no idea. It must be kismet, the two of you kids meeting like that.”

Suddenly certain that meeting Charley at the coffee shop had been no accident at all, Ben suppressed a smile.

“Listen, doll,” Alex said to Ben, “I need to borrow Charley for just a sec or two, okay?”

Stepping back, Ben nodded. “Sure, no problem.” His eyes met Charley’s. “See you later?”

He was sure he saw her gulp. “Yeah, see you later.”

Frowning slightly, he watched as Alex led Charley toward the stage.


is available at your favorite online bookseller.


Weekend Excerpt–MIDNIGHT COVE

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

October’s Featured Book in Pandora’s Passionista Paradise is spooky, steamy romantic suspense, MIDNIGHT COVE. What’s it all about? I’m glad you asked.

In the book writer Bree Blaylock just wants a chance to catch her breath.  Having finally escaped an abusive relationship, she’s relieved to have found a quiet place to finish writing her new novel.  

From the moment she arrives, she realizes that she’s not alone in her rented cottage on the lake.  But she’s okay with that. In her experience, the living are always more dangerous than the dead.

Meeting handsome local lawman Jake Hanson wasn’t even remotely on her radar.  Now that she has, maybe it’s time to take another chance on love.  

But can he keep her safe when the past comes calling?

In this scene, Bree’s beloved yellow lab, Murphy, plays matchmaker as Bree meets handsome local lawman Jake for the first time.

Bree stretched luxuriantly, her bare arm catching the warm sunlight that streamed in through the bay window across from the bed. Last night had been the best sleep she’d had in as long as she could recall. She stretched again, smiling to herself as she recalled vague snippets of a dream she’d had. She’d been on a peaceful, tropical beach. And there’d been a hot guy.

She pursed her lips, considering the blonde young man with sparkling blue eyes. Having dreams about hot guys? She needed a man in her life right now like she needed an extra hole in the head. She was still trying to recover from the one she’d just left.

Sighing deeply, she shook her head. He wasn’t real, the man from her dream. Steven. She frowned slightly. That was kind of specific, wasn’t it?

She had to smile at herself. He hadn’t been any more real than the dolphins she’d seen. Just a pleasant dream. And wouldn’t she love to have more of those?

Canine feet click-clacked across the wood floor, and a large yellow head appeared at the side of the bed.

“Good morning, Murph. Do you need to go potty?”

Soulful brown eyes pleaded with her as the dog whined softly.

Bree laughed. “Okay, buddy, let me put some clothes on.”

Warm sunlight or no, the room itself was cool in the fall morning. She quickly made the bed, then padded to the closet to grab a pair of faded jeans and a white v-neck T-shirt. When she was dressed, she slipped on her favorite pair of white low-topped Chucks and shrugged into a long pink cardigan.

“Come on, Murph, let’s take you outside. Then we’ll figure out the rest of our day.”

On her way out the bedroom door, something caught her eye. Frowning, she slowly approached the bay window that overlooked the lake, its stained-glass accents casting reds and browns across the wood floor. In the center of the brown velvet cushion sat a glossy shell about the size and shape of an egg. It was tan, with spots of light and dark brown.

Heart pounding, she reached to pick it up. The shell felt smooth and cool in her hand. Turning it over, she saw the opening, a narrow slit running the length of the shell, looking like a crooked, serrated grin.

Unconsciously, she gripped the shell lightly. Her dream last night. The stranger–Steven–had given her a shell. This shell.

What had he said? “Keep it so you can remember this beach. So you can remember me.”

Wide-eyed, she slowly turned, scanning the room. No one was there. She closed her eyes and tried to get a sense of a presence, but she felt nothing.

Murphy whined again, bringing her to the present. Distractedly, Bree slipped the shell into her pocket. “Come on, boy. Let’s go.”

Downstairs, she opened the back door. The yellow lab bounded across the wide back deck and down to the lawn that gently sloped to the lake. Lost in her thoughts, Bree followed along behind him.

Her dream had been just that, right? A dream. But could it be that the mystery man, Steven, was the presence she’d noticed in the house?

It was beyond ridiculous, really. She’d half convinced herself that she’d merely imagined the flutter in the attic window, the chair that rocked itself.

But how do you explain the shell? Riddle me that one.

She chewed her lip thoughtfully. Should she be alarmed? Steven had seemed nice enough. He’d almost seemed surprised that she’d spoken to him. If he was in the house, maybe he needed help moving on.

Sighing deeply, she kicked at a clump of colorful leaves on the ground. It was a lot to contemplate, and she had work to do. Rita Pearlman, her editor at Bonne Nuit House, expected the first draft of her new novel by the middle of November. So far, she had managed to write the first ten thousand words.

Not bad, she snorted, only about eighty thousand to go.

But writing with Greg around had been next to impossible, especially right there at the end.

She shook her head to dismiss the dark thoughts. Greg was a non-issue now. And she was on her second day of two months of peace and quiet in her cabin by the lake.

House, not cabin, she corrected herself. Still.

The sound of distant barking drew her back to the present. The yellow lab was nowhere to be seen. Rushing down the hill to the water’s edge, Bree glanced down the shoreline in both directions.


She heard barking again, clearly from her left. She took off in that direction, calling again. “Murphy! Come here!”

Trudging along the shoreline, Bree ignored the house next door and the one after that, intent on finding her dog. Mr. Meyer had said that most of the lake houses were closed until spring anyway. So when she spied a tall, dark-haired man fishing at the end of the third dock, she was surprised. Tail wagging furiously, Murphy stood beside the man looking out over the water.

“Murphy!” she called sharply as she headed down the dock.

The dog turned and whined sheepishly, clearly reluctant to leave his new friend.

The man reeled in his line and set the fishing rod down on the dock. As Bree approached, he grinned.

“I’m so sorry he’s bothering you,” Bree rushed, grabbing the dog by his blue web collar. “Let’s go. You’re in big trouble.”

The man laughed, revealing perfect white teeth. “Don’t be too hard on him, Mom. He just got excited when I reeled in a nice fat bass.” His deep blue eyes twinkled with humor.

Bree’s gaze slid from his wavy dark brown hair to his square jaw, nicely defined by dark stubble and zeroes in on his sensuous lips. His dark blue long-sleeved Henley clung to his muscular shoulders, and the sleeves were pushed up to reveal strong forearms lightly sprinkled with dark hair.

She felt herself blush. “Well, we just went out to go potty, and he got away from me. I didn’t realize anyone was around. I promise I’ll keep him on a leash from now on. I’m so sorry.”

The man took a step toward her and held out his hand. “Don’t keep him on a leash on my account. I love dogs. I’m Jake Hanson.”

“Oh, sorry. Bree Blaylock.”

He pursed his lips as though he were suppressing a grin. “Welcome to Midnight Cove, Bree Blaylock. Are you staying at the Meyer place? I heard Old Man Meyer had rented out his lake house.”

Bree nodded. “Yes, for the next couple of months, anyway. Mr. Meyer told me that most of the lake houses sit vacant until spring.”

Jake glanced around and nodded. “Most of them do.” He hooked a thumb toward the one-story brown craftsman-style bungalow up the slope from the dock. “But I live here year-round. It’s quieter than in town.”

He tilted his head slightly, his smile warm. “So, where are you visiting from?”

“Oh, we’re from Clearwater. Florida.” Bree patted Murphy to have something to do with her hands. She nodded and tugged on the dog’s collar. “Well, it’s nice meeting you.”

“Jake.” He grinned.

Bree felt her face heat up again. “Jake. It’s nice meeting you, Jake. I’ll see you later.”

Blue eyes sparkling, he nodded. “I expect you will. It’s a small town. And a small cove. It’s nice meeting you, Bree. See ya later, Murphy. Behave yourself and mind your mom.”

Face burning, Bree held Murphy’s collar tightly and marched him back down the dock. As they made their way back down the shoreline toward the house, she risked a look over her shoulder. Jake Hanson stood watching them, and he waved. With her free hand, Bree waved back.

“You are in so much trouble,” she hissed to the dog.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

MIDNIGHT COVE is available
at your favorite online bookseller.

Weekend Excerpt–MIDNIGHT COVE

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

Writer Bree Blaylock just wants a chance to catch her breath.  Having finally escaped an abusive relationship, she’s relieved to have found a quiet place to finish writing her new book.  

From the moment she arrives, she realizes that she’s not alone in her rented cottage on the lake.  But she’s okay with that. In her experience, the living are always more dangerous than the dead.

Meeting handsome local lawman, Jake Hanson wasn’t even remotely on her radar.  Now that she has, maybe it’s time to take another chance on love.  

But can he keep her safe when the past comes calling?

If you love your romance with a little bit of spooky, you’ll love MIDNIGHT COVE!

Read the Prologue:

He wasn’t sure just when he’d known that he was dead. 

That realization had taken a while, although the precise concept of time was now rather nebulous in his conscious thought, more a collection of seasonal impressions than an actual awareness of the passing of days and months and years. 

But the knowledge that he had somehow slipped his mortal coil had been an adjustment, to say the least.  He had no idea how he’d arrived at this state.  He’d been going along living his life and then he simply…wasn’t

His current existence seemed to be limited to the house in which he’d grown up, although there were times when he wasn’t anywhere at all.  He wasn’t sure which situation he preferred. 

On the one hand, he’d been happy to be near his family, at least at first.  But they couldn’t see him or hear him.  Not even when he screamed in their faces. 

That was when he’d known.  He’d loved his parents and his brother dearly. Seeing them, being near them, but being unable to connect with them had been frustrating as hell.

 Always nagging him was the question of what had happened.  He’d been a healthy, strong 23-year-old man, one with no bad habits like smoking or drugs.  Okay, yeah, the occasional beer, maybe, but nothing that should have led to his death. 

It seemed odd, too.  Although he was stuck in his family home, he was almost certain he remembered living on his own in an apartment, maybe.  That part of his before was foggy to him.

At first, knowing he was dead was terrifying.  But after a while, he’d settled into a sort of non-routine.  He’d watched as his family moved on, his parents and his brother, all eventually abandoning the family home.  Maybe they were dead too, his parents anyway, but if they were, he hadn’t seen them.  Apparently, the afterlife didn’t work like that.

After his family was gone, it seemed to him that the house sat empty for a long time, and he’d enjoyed the solitude. The way he saw it, if he was going to be alone, he might as well actually be alone.

But then he’d watched as one day, a slightly stooped white-haired man had arrived.  The man had thrown the doors and windows wide open, carried out piles of useless old things, and spruced up the place, top to bottom. 

The next thing he knew, the house was overrun with strangers.  They just came tromping in with their suitcases and their inflatable rafts and their bathing suits.

Summer folk.  He’d have recognized them anywhere. 

While he and his family had been permanent lakeside residents, most of the other houses were used as summer rentals, vacation retreats for families who spent the rest of their year somewhere in busy cities like Columbia or Greenville or Charlotte.  The kind of people whose idea of a perfect vacation was a week or two spent in a cottage by the lake.

He hadn’t been happy to share his space, and he’d made his position known.  And he’d sent more than one family scrambling back to wherever they’d come from, dropping snorkels and beach towels in their hurry to leave.

Of course, there had also been the ones who’d been too absorbed with themselves to notice they were shacked up for the week with an unhappy spirit.  That was annoying.  During those times, he did his best to just stay out of the way.  Because eventually, the seasons would turn, and he’d be alone again.

Gazing out the attic window at oak leaves that were just beginning to take on a kaleidoscope of fall colors, he sighed with satisfaction.  If he couldn’t be happy about his existence, he could at least be content.  

The crunching of gravel caught his attention, and he watched a work-worn white pickup truck pull up the long drive and stop in front of the house.  An older man, the one he’d seen before, got out of the truck and stood staring down the driveway. 

A minute later, a pale-yellow Volkswagen beetle puttered up to the house, pulling alongside the pickup.  The driver’s door swung open, and a pretty redhead stepped out, pulling a dark green hooded sweatshirt more tightly around herself against the cool of the fall afternoon.

She moved her sunglasses to the top of her head and glanced up in his direction.  For a moment, he’d have sworn she saw him.  Alarmed, he stepped away from the window.

What was this?  Another renter?  It wasn’t summer.  Cautiously, he peered out the window, checking to see if the seasons had switched on him again without notice.  No, the trees were still just beginning to shift into their fall hues.

Now he heard voices downstairs.  This was an unforeseen circumstance.  What now? 

He shrugged to himself and smiled.  A woman alone?  He would have her out by nightfall.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

MIDNIGHT COVE is available
at your favorite online bookseller.