Weekend Excerpt–Happy Halloween!

“This thriller – perfect for a Halloween night – will deliver the desired chill down the spine–complete with ghosts, scary characters, dark stormy nights, and tricks and treats.”
–Amazon Review

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 spooky, you’ll love MIDNIGHT COVE!

Read this brand-new teaser.

In the cab of Meyer’s truck, Bree pressed herself as far from him as possible, searching for an opportunity to escape.  Out of the corner of her eye, she watched him drive, his eyes straight ahead, his lips pressed together in a slight curve of a smile. 

When he slowed at a turn, she grabbed the door handle and threw her weight against the door.  It didn’t budge.

Meyer slid his eyes her way.  “You can’t get out until I let you out.  Which I’ll do when we get home, darling.  There are going to be some changes around here.”

“Why are you doing this?” Bree asked.

“Doing what?”  He sounded genuinely perplexed.

“Why did you try to kill Jake?  What do you want with me?”

He shook his head.  “First of all, if I’d wanted to kill Hanson, he’d be dead.  And tell the truth, I didn’t count on having to deal with him.  I mean, he’s on duty.  He shouldn’t have been a factor.  I just had to get you away from him.  I had to make you see.”

“Make me see what?”

“Make you see that you belong with me.  Can’t you see that?”

Bree gaped at him.  “Belong together?  Romantically?  You can’t be serious.”

He stomped the brake and Bree had to put out her hands to stop from hitting the dashboard.  His eyes flashed with anger.  “You rented my house out of season.  You offered me tea, for fuck’s sake!  You mean to tell me you weren’t sending me all kinds of signals?”

Eyes wide, Bree shook her head.  “No, I was not sending you signals.  I rented your house because I needed a place to stay.  I offered you tea because I was making some for myself, and I was raised with manners.  In no way did I ever intend to give you the idea that I was interested in anything beyond renting your house.”

Meyer shook his head, his glare replaced with an eerie calm.  “That’s the beauty of it, how we know it’s meant to be.”

He resumed driving down the road toward the lake house. 

Frantically, Bree tried to think of a way to get away from him.  He’d have to let her out of the truck at the house.  If she could somehow knock him down, she could take off running along the shore of the lake.  It would eventually lead to town, but she wondered how much running she could do in the long skirt.

Her thoughts were cut short when he pulled up at the empty house next door. 

“Honey, we’re home,” he sang, laughing.  “I’ll get your door.”

Bree’s heart pounded as she watched him walk around the front of the truck to open her door.  She slid out of the truck, and as he turned to close the door, she leaned down to lower her center of gravity and launched herself at him with all her might, catching him in the chest with her shoulder.  It felt solid, like she’d hit a brick wall.

Grabbing her upper arm again, he squeezed tightly as he backhanded her across the mouth.  “Do not do that again,” he growled. 

After the shock of the blow wore off, Bree tasted the metallic tang of blood as she allowed Meyer to drag her down the slope toward the lake.  They approached the house from the back, and Bree saw that the lights she’d left on in the den were now off.

He led her up the back steps to the deck, where he opened the back door without having to unlock it.  “I was here earlier,” he grinned.

The downstairs was dimly illuminated by the fire in the fireplace and a few candles placed around the room.  The place was deadly silent.

A fresh round of panic flooded Bree.  “Where’s my dog?” she demanded.

“The mutt’s fine.  For now.  A family needs a dog.  I gave him a little sleepy medicine.”  He jerked her arm.  “But that can change.”  Closing the door behind them, he propelled her to the kitchen.  “Make me some tea.”

“What?”

“Some tea.  I want some.  It’s going to be one of the things I expect around here.”

Bree frowned.  “One of the things you expect?”

“Damn it, are you dense?  Wives do things for their husbands.  It’s how it works.”  He flapped his arm in a frustrated gesture. 

Bree gaped at him in disbelief.

“And another thing.”  He nodded toward her laptop on the desk by the window.  “That will have to go.  Won’t be any time for that.”  He shook his head piteously.  “You’re on that damn thing every time I turn around.  No, you’ll be busy taking care of me and our home.”

The more he talked, the more incredulous Bree became.  She thought of the things he’d said to Christie.  He’s replaced her with me, she realized.

Breathing deeply against the panic that threatened to rise and swallow her whole, Bree took the kettle from the stove and filled it with water, hoping to stall long enough to come up with a plan.  When she glanced back at Meyer, he’d taken a seat at the kitchen table and was watching her with an oddly pleased expression.

“See?  This is nice.  We’ll spend our evenings here drinking tea while I tell you about my day at the hardware store.”

“I thought you live over the store,” Bree commented as she set the kettle over the flame. 

“Not anymore.  That apartment isn’t fit for a family.  We’ll raise our children here.”

Bree’s mouth was in gear before she could stop herself.  “Our children?  How old are you?”

At the kitchen table, he pulled himself straighter.  “I’m sixty-three.  But I’ve kept myself fit.  I can father children.”

She shook her head incredulously.  “But I don’t love you.  A relationship, a marriage, has to be based on love.  Besides, I’m in love with someone else.”

Meyer rolled his eyes.  “Yeah, Officer Loverboy, who’s currently taking a nap on the floor of the police station.  I’ve watched you fuck him upstairs in our bed.”

Bree’s mouth fell open.  “You’ve…what?”

He gestured with his thumb.  “I’ve got cameras all over the house.  I’ve watched you.  It’s how I know that you’re meant to be mine.  And, just so you know, I forgive you.  But it stops now.”

She felt her blood run cold as she tried to absorb what he said.

“So,” he went on cheerily, “the first order of business is that you let Hanson know it’s over between the two of you.  You’ve found your soul mate.”

“No, absolutely not.”  She crossed her arms across her chest adamantly.  “I’m not going to indulge this fantasy any longer.  You and I do not belong together.  You’ve built up some crazy fantasy in your head, and it’s never going to happen.”

He launched himself from the table with surprising speed, pinning her against the kitchen cupboards and gripping her by the neck.  His face was mere inches from hers.  “Do not call me crazy,” he growled.  His breath was hot against her face.

Blindly, Bree flailed her hands behind herself, trying to find anything to use to defend herself with.  Her hand landed on a mug on the counter, and she grabbed it, swinging up her hand and clocking him in the side of the head.

Meyer let go, roaring in a mixture of pain and anger as Bree dropped to her hands and knees and crawled toward the back door.  Still on her knees, she reached up and opened the door.  Suddenly, she felt herself being jerked backward by her hair.

“We could have done this the easy way, but no,” Meyer muttered as he dragged her backward across the floor.  Holding her by the hair with one hand, he used the other to open the basement door, then he dragged her down the steps.  At the foot of the stairs, he released his grip, and Bree lay on her back, struggling to catch her breath.

“Now we have the hard way.  Get up!”

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

MIDNIGHT COVE is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/MidnightCove

Weekend Excerpt–MIDNIGHT COVE

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

I love October! One reason is that my birthday comes along about the middle of the month. But I’ve always loved Halloween. Who doesn’t love something a little spooky this time of year? Like, for example, my spooky paranormal romantic suspense book, MIDNIGHT COVE.

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?

Here’s a brand new excerpt from MIDNIGHT COVE.

Back at her desk, Bree listened to Jake’s message and smiled.  He really was very charming.  Of course, Greg had been charming too, at first anyway.  She chewed her lower lip and frowned at the thought. 

Not everyone’s like Greg, she reminded herself.  If I view with suspicion every man that comes along, he wins.  And he doesn’t get to win

She shook her head with a snap.  “Fuck Greg,” she muttered, blocking the unknown number that had called earlier.  “I’ll block every number he tries.”

Checking her word count, she decided that she’d made enough progress on the book for one day.  And although it was about half an hour early, she decided to go ahead and make Murphy’s dinner, much to the dog’s delight.

As the yellow lab scarfed down his mixture of kibble, a healthy spoonful of canned food, and an egg, Bree thought about the chair Jake had mentioned.  Making a tour of the downstairs, she checked the coat closet and the storage area beneath the stairs but came up empty.  Another door revealed a wooden set of stairs that led down to an unfinished basement. 

Grimacing slightly, Bree pulled the string that turned on a single bare lightbulb and forced her feet down the stairs.  Basements always creeped her out, a holdover, she supposed, from visits to her grandmother’s house. 

“Don’t be ridiculous,” she chided herself softly.  “You already know there’s a ghost in this house.  And he’s nice.  So just go find the stupid chair.”

But the basement was virtually empty.  All she uncovered was a coil of spring-green rubber garden hose and a heavy wood patio set, items Mr. Meyer must have stored away until next summer.  A door off the main area seemed promising, but it was locked fast, so she made her way back upstairs.

Tail wagging, Murphy met her as she returned to the kitchen.  She ruffled his ears affectionately.  “What do you think, buddy?  Should we check upstairs?”

Claws clicking on the hardwood floor, the dog followed her to the second floor.  Bypassing her own room, she wandered into the bedroom across the hall.  It was set up with a pair of twin beds, perfect, she supposed, for the families who came to stay in the summer. 

Curious, she crossed to the window that overlooked the front lawn.  By leaning close to the glass, she could just see the back of her yellow bug parked in the carport at the south end of the house.

When she turned back, she caught a flash of movement out of the corner of her eye.  As usual, her heart skipped a beat.  She looked to Murphy, who sat looking in the same direction as the movement she’d seen, his expression curious.  Shaking her head, she exhaled shakily and walked to the heavy wooden closet door.  As she swung it open, she was not surprised to find the closet completely empty.  Not a lawn chair in sight.

But it had made sense to check, she supposed.  Maybe tomorrow, she’d make a trip into town.  Undoubtedly, she would be able to find a camp chair at Meyer’s Hardware.  She’d also noticed a tiny bookstore she’d like to check out just down the street from the market. 

Feeling pleased with the prospect of finding a new book to read, she started to close the door when something caught her eye.  Squinting slightly, she stepped into the empty closet and peered at the wall on her left.  Positioned low, about the height of a child’s reach, something was scratched into the wall.  Reaching above her head, she pulled the string that turned on the closet light.

Six letters were crudely scratched into the plaster.  S-T-E-V-E-N, all caps.  Gingerly, Bree brushed her fingertips over the name, feeling the grooves and raised plaster. 

“This was your room,” she murmured. 

Feeling suddenly like she was intruding, she stepped back and closed the closet door.  She glanced around, trying to imagine the room as it might have been when a young boy lived there and wrote his name on the wall of his closet. 

The sheer white curtain shrouding the closed window ruffled slightly.  This time, Bree wasn’t startled. 

“You know you’re welcome here,” she said softly.  “You’re right.  This is your house.  I’m just a guest.  I hope you won’t mind that Murphy and I are here.  We’ll absolutely respect your space.  You matter, Steven.  We’ll try to help you figure things out.”

**

Standing in the bedroom he’d grown up in, Steven felt a lump in his throat as he watched Bree and her dog head back into the hallway.  She’d acknowledged that he existed.  For so long, he’d had a nagging sense in the back of his mind that maybe he wasn’t real at all, maybe he was merely a character in someone else’s dream. 

Meeting Bree in her dreams was one thing–by the light of day, she might convince herself that he was simply a figment of her imagination.  But she knew he was there, and accepted him without question. 

She had no way of knowing what that meant to him.  She’d said she wanted to help him. 

He shook his head sadly.  That would be great, only he didn’t even know what kind of help he needed. 

Glancing around, he had a thought.  It would be nice not to be stuck here in this house.  If there’s a world beyond this one, maybe it’s time to find it.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

MIDNIGHT COVE is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/MidnightCove

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, MIDNIGHT COVE is for you!

Read a little teaser.

A flash of lightning lit up the downstairs of the lake house like an overexposed photograph. The crack of thunder was instantaneous, and Bree ducked her head reflexively. Murphy, never a fan of a thunderstorm, cowered beside her on the sofa.

The power had blinked off nearly half an hour earlier, and now the den was lit only by the fire in the fireplace along with a few scattered candles Bree had brought down from upstairs. She’d had a productive day of writing, and now she was content to watch the storm and read her Kindle for as long as the battery held out.

She patted the dog affectionately. “You’re fine, don’t be such a baby,” she murmured. “It’s nice and cozy in here, and I’m sure they’ll get the power back soon.”

The tiny digital clock in the corner of her tablet read 10:04, and Bree wondered if the power might be off until morning. Certainly, no one would be climbing up any power poles until the storm was over.

Briefly, she considered heading upstairs to bed, but her phone rang before she could definitively decide.

“Hi,” she smiled.

“Hi yourself,” Jake said. “How are you holding up in this crazy storm?”

She glanced at Murphy and shook her head. “Oh, we’re fine. Some of us are better than others.”

“Murphy’s not digging the thunder?”

“You guessed it. I, however, am enjoying the light show over the lake. I wish the power were on, though. It feels very 19th century. I’m so spoiled,” she laughed.

There was a slight pause. “We don’t have any reports of power outages. How long has it been out?”

Bree raised her eyebrows. “Maybe half an hour?”

“Can you see if mine’s out, too? I left my dock light on.”

“Okay, hang on.” Bree slipped off the sofa and padded to the back door. Through heavy rain, she could just make out a dot of light several houses down. “Yeah, I think I can see your light. The rain is so heavy, it’s hard to tell.”

Lightning flashed again, for a microsecond illuminating a dark figure standing directly in front of Bree, mere inches away on the other side of the glass. She shrieked, scrambling backward so fast, she tripped on the rug and ended up on her behind. Her phone landed beside her.

“Bree! What’s wrong?” Jake’s tone was urgent.

She snatched up the phone. “Holy shit! I thought I saw someone on the deck.” Bree’s heart pounded.

“Is someone out there?”

She shook her head. “No, that’s crazy, nobody would be out there.” Another bolt of lightning briefly lit up the darkness, and she saw it again. Someone in a dark hood was peering in at her from the deck. She gasped and crab-crawled backward to the end of the sofa, hiding herself from view. Murphy leaped off the sofa and charged the back door, barking for all he was worth.

“Bree? Bree!”

“He’s…he’s there! Somebody’s out there! I thought maybe it was just my own reflection, but he’s out there!” Bree felt hysteria rising.

“Bree, where are you right now?”

“I’m hiding behind the sofa,” she whispered.

“Is there someplace you can go, a closet or something close by?”

With Murphy still barking, she looked wildly around the room. From her vantage point behind the sofa, she could see the hallway that led to the foyer. She knew there was a closet about halfway down.

“Yes, yes,” she hissed. “The coat closet.”

“Stay low and get there. I’m on my way. Don’t come out of the closet. I’ll call you once I know it’s safe, okay?”

Phone pressed to her ear, Bree nodded.

“Bree, did you hear me? Hide in the closet and don’t come out for anything.”

Her teeth chattered, and she nodded again. “In the closet. You’ll call me.”

“I will. Everything’s going to be alright. I’ll be there as soon as I can get there.”

*******

Jake doubted he’d ever made the trek from town as quickly as he did that night. Dan Roebuck, also on duty that rainy night, followed Jake in his own patrol car. Blue lights flashing as the storm’s fury began to subside, Jake skidded to a stop in the gravel driveway and jumped out into the steady rain that still fell.

Heavy black Maglight in one hand and service revolver in the other, he nodded to Dan. They split up, cautiously searching around opposite ends of the house and meeting at the back deck.

Jake glanced down the lake toward his house and saw the light illuminating the end of his dock, just like Bree had said.

“Hanson.”

He turned to Dan, who aimed his flashlight on the wooden steps leading up to the deck. “Muddy footprints. Somebody was out here.”

Stepping carefully to avoid ruining the tracks, the men followed the trail up the steps and all the way to the back door, where they ended. Inside the house, Murphy continued to bark.

“It’s okay, Murphy, good boy,” Jake called to him.

As soon as the dog heard Jake’s voice, the barking was replaced by tail-wagging.

The two men crouched to examine the muddy prints. Jake’s lips pressed into a grim line. “The guy stood here for a while.”

He looked up, past the yellow lab who was now whining at him, into the den where the fire still burned in the fireplace. A half-glass of wine sat on the end table beside the place Bree would have been sitting on the sofa.

Jake felt a ripple of rage. Someone had stood out here watching Bree. He shook his head abruptly. “Hey, Roebuck, want to keep looking around? I need to let her know we’re here.”

Dan nodded and moved further down the deck, shining his light as he did. Jake took out his phone and carefully headed back down the stairs.

She picked up on the first ring. “Where are you?” she whispered.

“I’m here,” he answered as he rounded the end of the house. “I’m heading to your front door now. Come let me in.”

At the front door, he tapped lightly, exhaling deliberately as he tried to tamp down his anger. That someone had been prowling around the house, had been peering in at Bree, was more than he could stand. As she tentatively opened the door, he pasted on what he hoped was a reassuring smile. When she saw him, she threw herself into his arms.

“Hey, it’s okay, everything’s okay.” She shook uncontrollably as he held her. He pressed a kiss to the top of her head. “Come on, let’s go inside. I’m getting you all wet.”

“I-I don’t c-care,” she told him. “I was so scared.”

“I know, babe, but you’re safe. I promise you’re safe now.” He walked her to the sofa where she sat. He took a seat on the coffee table across from her. “Now, tell me what you saw.”

Her eyes were wide, and she still shook. He took her icy hands between his own. “Bree, describe what you saw.”

“A-a man was just standing there. It was so dark. I only saw him for a second, when the lightning flashed. At first, I thought I had scared myself, that it was just my own reflection. Or maybe–“

She looked up at him like she was surprised to see him, and she shook her head again. “But when the lightning flashed again, he was still there. I was so scared,” she squeaked as tears began to fall.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

MIDNIGHT COVE is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/MidnightCove