Weekend Excerpt–MIDNIGHT COVE

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

When writer Bree Blaylock fled an abusive relationship in Florida, she found a lake cottage to rent in a quiet South Carolina town. All she wants to do is to finish writing her new book and figure out what comes next.

From the moment she arrived in Midnight Cove, she realized she wasn’t alone in the old house. But she learned long ago that the living are more dangerous than the dead.

She didn’t count on falling for her handsome neighbor, sexy local lawman Jake Hanson. But everything happens for a reason. Maybe it’s time to take another chance on love.

Can he keep her safe when the past comes calling?

Here’s a snippet from MIDNIGHT COVE.

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 waters’ edge, Bree glanced down the shoreline in both directions.

“Murphy!”

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 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 exclusively available at Amazon.
Read it FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Pandora Spocks!

💘 ONE DAY ONLY! 💘
MIDNIGHT COVE is FREE for Valentine’s Day!
Happy Valentine’s Day from me to you!
Grab your copy before this promotion ends.
https://amzn.to/3azsj1O

MIDNIGHT COVE is Out!

✨✨ FINALLY! ✨✨
MIDNIGHT COVE is out exclusively on Kindle.
Now with Bonus Content!
Read FREE with KU!

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

One-Click your copy today!
https://amzn.to/3azsj1O

Weekend Excerpt–MIDNIGHT COVE Comes Out This Week!

I’m so excited about my new book coming out Tuesday, February 4th! MIDNIGHT COVE is the spooky, steamy contemporary romance novel I’ve always wanted to write. The idea has been swirling around in my mind for years and I recently had the opportunity to make it a reality when I was invited to join a romantic suspense anthology, Dark Secrets.

Now, MIDNIGHT COVE is going to be available as a stand-alone book, and I’m thrilled that it’s finally what I intended it to be. With the anthology, I was limited in terms of the extras I could include. Now, I’ve added Bonus Content, so even if you read the anthology, there is material that you haven’t seen before.

The inspiration for this story grew out of some weird things I’ve experienced, and I’ve added those stories to this book, including a few personal photos that may just make you believe in the paranormal.

So what is MIDNIGHT COVE all about?

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.  But 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 𝘦𝘯𝘫𝘰𝘺 𝘢 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘨𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘵 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺, 𝘺𝘰𝘶’𝘭𝘭 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘯𝘦𝘸 𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘰𝘬𝘺 𝘳𝘰𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘶𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘳 𝘰𝘧 𝘙𝘈𝘕𝘕𝘐𝘎𝘈𝘕’𝘚 𝘙𝘌𝘋𝘌𝘔𝘗𝘛𝘐𝘖𝘕 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘋𝘙𝘌𝘈𝘔 𝘋𝘖𝘔𝘐𝘕𝘈𝘕𝘛 𝘊𝘖𝘓𝘓𝘌𝘊𝘛𝘐𝘖𝘕.

Here’s a little teaser…

Sand feels cool beneath her bare feet, and a light breeze ruffles her long red hair. Turquoise water sparkles in the sunlight as foam-edged waves rush up the sandy slope. Normally, the beach would make her nervous, but this isn’t her beach. It’s just a dream.

Bree relaxes in the knowledge that she’s tucked safely in bed. She’ll just enjoy the serenity of the imaginary shoreline. Smiling to herself, she looks down past her flowing white dress to the footprints she’s leaving in the soft wet sand. She wonders if this is Fiji. She’s always wanted to go there.

Further down the beach, she sees a figure and she stiffens, hoping this isn’t turning into one of those dreams. Maybe she should wake up now. She squints, raising a hand to shade her eyes.

The figure is closer now. It’s a man with light hair. Bree relaxes again. She doesn’t know who the stranger is. She simply knows who he is not.

Bree drags her toes through the shallow tide, playfully kicking up water in front of her as she approaches the stranger. To her left, a trio of dolphins leap joyously. Nevermind that the water is too shallow. That’s how it is in dreams.

She raises her hand in a wave. “Hello!”

The stranger stops a short distance away, a bemused expression on his face. He’s nice-looking, she notices. His blonde hair is a little shaggy, but his light blue eyes sparkle with intelligence. He’s dressed a bit oddly in her estimation. He’s wearing faded blue jeans that flair toward the bottom and his blue Superman T-shirt looks vintage. A strand of puka shells encircles his neck. Like Bree, his feet are bare and he’s wading along the edge of the water.

“Hello,” he returns.

“Hi.’

He grins broadly. “You said that already.”

Bree shrugs lightly and twirls in a circle, swinging her skirt around. “I know. Did you see the dolphins?”

He nods and looks toward the water. “I did. They’re cool.”

“This is a cool dream,” Bree agrees.

He smiles again. “What’s your name?”

“Bree. Bree Blaylock. What’s yours?”

“I’m Steven.”

She holds out her hand. “Nice to meet you, Steven.”

He stares at her outstretched hand and hesitates before reaching to take it. Static electricity pops slightly as their skin touches.

“It’s nice to meet you, Bree.”

“Do you think this is Fiji?” Bree asks.

Steven glances around and shrugs. “I’m not sure. Do you think it is?”

“Maybe. It’s not Clearwater, that’s for sure.” Bree wraps her arms across herself and shudders.

“Is Clearwater bad?” he asks.

“This is a happy dream. Let’s not talk about Clearwater.”

Steven shrugs. “Fine by me. We can just enjoy the beach.”

Bree nods happily and slips her arm through his. Together, they wander along the shoreline, stopping occasionally to examine a shell or two. Steven stoops, picks up something, and hands it to her. “Here, this is for you.”

It’s a tiger cowry. She knows this because as a child, she had a book of shells and she’s seen the picture.

“It’s beautiful. Thank you.”

He nods, looking pleased. “Keep it so you can remember this beach. So you can remember me.”

Bree turns to him frowning. “Will I see you again?”

Steven shrugs. “I don’t know.”

“I hope so,” she says fervently. “This is the nicest dream I’ve had in a long time.”

“I’ve liked it, too.” There’s a hint of sadness in his eyes.
***
Sniffing loudly, Bree rolled onto her right side and curled around her extra pillow. Her eyes fluttered briefly before she was fast asleep once again.

From the corner of the bedroom, Steven watched her in wonder. He had no idea how he’d ended up in this woman’s dream. But for the first time in a very long time, he hadn’t been alone.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

MIDNIGHT COVE is out Feb. 4 exclusively at Amazon,
and it’s FREE with Kindle Unlimited.
One-Click to reserve your copy!

Weekend Excerpt–MIDNIGHT COVE: Chapter One

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

When writer Bree Blaylock rented a rustic lakeside cottage, all she wanted was a quiet place to finish writing her new novel. And to get away from the abusive boyfriend she just left.

She didn’t count on the house being haunted, but a living with a ghost is better than what she just left.

She also didn’t count on falling for Jake Hanson, the handsome neighbor down the lake. Maybe it’s time to take another chance on love.

But can Jake keep her safe when the past comes callng?

Here’s a peek at the first chapter of MIDNIGHT COVE.

When the battered white pickup disappeared around a bend in the long gravel drive, Bree Blaylock kept her foot steady on the gas pedal of her 1975 Beetle. Mr. Meyer would wait.

After her long drive, she wanted to take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the ancient live oaks that lined the way from the highway to the house she planned to rent for the next two months.

Grey-green tendrils of Spanish moss dripped from the broad branches that arched over the gravel driveway. Though the September air was crisp, brilliant sunlight filtered through the moss-hung trees and dappled the ground in patches of gold.

Beside her on the passenger seat, Murphy whined. Bree glanced at him and smiled. “It’s okay, boy. We’re almost there.”

While for her the 8½ hour drive from Tampa to western South Carolina had seemed long, for her three-year-old yellow lab, it must have seemed interminable. Although for his first big road trip, Murphy had done remarkably well.

As the yellow VW curved around the next bend, the house came into view. It was the 1920s Craftsman-style house she’d discovered online, a charming vintage structure of pale-green clapboard, two stories high with an additional narrow attic perched in the center at the top.

The covered front porch ran beyond the width of the house to form a carport on the left side. Wide front steps led up to the porch, its arched supports perched on cream-painted columns that were wider at the bottom than they were at the top.Ahead, Mr. Meyer had parked his truck and stood waiting for her. She pulled up beside him and opened her door. Before she could get out, Murphy scrambled across her and ran happily snuffling around the front lawn.

“This is the house,” the man said, hooking a thumb over his shoulder.

Bree nodded. “It looks exactly like it did online.” She glanced up at the front of the house. A hint of movement in the attic window caught her eye, and she frowned slightly.

“I took the pictures myself,” Mr. Meyer informed her. “My rental’s on the up and up.”

“I didn’t mean to imply that it wasn’t, I just meant that it looked familiar.” Bree flicked a glance back up to the attic, then followed the man up the front steps.

As he unlocked the heavy front door, Bree noted the beveled glass panes in the top third of the wood panels. She loved everything about the vintage home. It was exactly what she’d been looking for when she’d decided to leave Florida.

The door swung open, and Mr. Meyer preceded her inside. While Bree took in the high ceilings and dark wood trim in the living room, he launched into his tour narrative.

“You can see the parlor,” he commented over his shoulder as he continued toward the back of the house. “Back here’s the kitchen and the den. ‘Course, you’ve got lake views from any room on the back of the house.”

Mesmerized by the tranquil sight of the lake, Bree approached the bank of windows that ran along the back wall of the open-concept kitchen and den. She sighed deeply.

This. This was exactly what she needed.

He led her upstairs, showing her four bedrooms in total, two overlooking the front of the house, and two, including the master, overlooking the lake. A large bathroom featured vintage tile and an antique clawfoot bathtub. Off the master bedroom, a terrace doubled the deck downstairs off the den. A door in the hallway led up a narrow flight of stairs to a small attic that ran front to back like a spine across the top of the house.

Mr. Meyer led the way back down to the first floor. Bree couldn’t resist returning to the windows overlooking the lake.

“What was it you say you do?” he asked.

She turned and smiled softly. “I’m a writer.”

Hands shoved in the pockets of his jeans, he nodded. “It’s unusual, is all, you wanting to rent the cabin this late in the year.” He nodded toward the lake. “Folks like to come in the summer to swim and fish and that. In the fall now, it’s quiet. Only a handful of people live on the lake year-around. Most people live in town.”

“Quiet sounds perfect to me. I have a deadline, and I need to get busy writing.”

The man nodded again, pursing his lips. “And we agreed on a price?”

Bree rummaged through her leather shoulder bag and produced a white envelope. She held it up. “We did. And you accepted my cash offer.”

He shrugged slightly. “I don’t usually discount my cabin…” He let his comment hang.

“Like you said, it’s late in the year.” Bree straightened her five-foot-four frame and looked him square in the eye. “And I’m paying you cash, in advance, for two months’ rent.”

After a moment, the old man nodded. “Cash, in advance.” He accepted the envelope, briefly peering inside. Then he handed her the key and headed toward the front door.

Out on the lawn, Murphy was still exploring along the edge of the woods. Mr. Meyer stopped at the driver’s side door of his pickup. “You need anything, you can call. And I’m at the hardware store every day.”

Bree pictured Meyer Hardware on the main street of Midnight Cove. It was where they’d arranged to meet when she’d called to make her reservation two days earlier.

“I live up over the store,” he continued. “So if anything breaks, you can let me know right away. If I can’t fix it, I’ll find someone who can.”

“Thanks, I appreciate it,” she murmured.

Meyer glanced up at the house, then looked at Bree. “Just so we’re clear, though.” He held up the envelope. “No refunds. You decide you’re not staying, you can’t get your money back.”

Bree drew a ragged breath, thinking about where she’d just left. “I’ll be staying,” she said firmly.

The old man nodded. “Alright, then. I suppose I’ll see you in town. Not too many redheads living in Midnight Cove.”

With that, he climbed into his truck, backed around, and headed down the driveway.

When he was out of sight, Bree called Murphy. “Come on, boy. Let’s go get settled.”

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

MIDNIGHT COVE comes out February 4, exclusively at Amazon.
You can read it FREE with Kindle Unlimited.
Reserve your copy now!

This Just In!

MIDNIGHT COVE IS COMING ON FEBRUARY 4!

Originally part of romantic suspense anthology Dark Secrets, I’m about to release my spooky, steamy paranormal romance novel MIDNIGHT COVE all by itself.

Here’s the official blurb:

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?

When I submitted MIDNIGHT COVE to the anthology, I was restricted in terms of what I could include beyond the story itself. So in this newly re-edited edition that includes bonus content, I’ve made it what I intended it to be.

Although I normally write contemporary steamy romance, I’ve had an idea in mind for something with a more paranormal flavor. Several strange personal experiences have instilled in me a curiousity about ghosts, and this anthology gave me the excuse to explore that topic.

In this new version of the book, I’ve included a few of those experiences and added a handful of my own photos to go along with them. I can’t wait to see what you think!

MIDNIGHT COVE
is available for pre-order exclusively at Amazon,
and you can read it FREE with Kindle Unlimited.
Reserve your copy today!

Weekend Excerpt–MIDNIGHT COVE

A few months ago, I was invited to join an anthology of fall romantic suspense novels. I jumped at the chance to write a story that has been swirling around in my brain for a while. Here’s the official blurb for 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?

MIDNIGHT COVE was a chance to stretch my writing into contemporary romance with a paranormal twist. How about a teaser?

When the battered white pickup disappeared around a bend in the long gravel drive, Bree Blaylock kept her foot steady on the gas pedal of her 1975 Beetle.  Mr. Meyer would wait. 

After her long drive, she wanted to take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the ancient live oaks that lined the way from the highway to the house she planned to rent for the next two months. 

Grey-green tendrils of Spanish moss dripped from the broad branches that arched over the gravel driveway.  Though the September air was crisp, brilliant sunlight filtered through the moss-hung trees and dappled the ground in patches of gold.

Beside her on the passenger seat, Murphy whined.  Bree glanced at him and smiled.  “It’s okay, boy.  We’re almost there.”

While for her the 8½ hour drive from Tampa to western South Carolina had seemed long, for her three-year-old yellow lab, it must have seemed interminable.  Although for his first big road trip, Murphy had done remarkably well. 

As the yellow VW curved around the next bend, the house came into view.  It was the 1920s Craftsman-style house she’d discovered online, a charming vintage structure of pale-green clapboard, two stories high with an additional narrow attic perched in the center at the top. 

The covered front porch ran beyond the width of the house to form a carport on the left side.  Wide front steps led up to the porch, its arched supports perched on cream-painted columns that were wider at the bottom than they were at the top. 

Ahead, Mr. Meyer had parked his truck and stood waiting for her.  She pulled up beside him and opened her door.  Before she could get out, Murphy scrambled across her and ran happily snuffling around the front lawn.

“This is the house,” the man said, hooking a thumb over his shoulder.

Bree nodded.  “It looks exactly like it did online.”  She glanced up at the front of the house.  A hint of movement in the attic window caught her eye, and she frowned slightly.

“I took the pictures myself,” Mr. Meyer informed her.  “My rental’s on the up and up.”

“I didn’t mean to imply that it wasn’t, I just meant that it looked familiar.”  Bree flicked a glance back up to the attic, then followed the man up the front steps.

As he unlocked the heavy front door, Bree noted the beveled glass panes in the top third of the wood panels.  She loved everything about the vintage home.  It was exactly what she’d been looking for when she’d decided to leave Florida.

The door swung open, and Mr. Meyer preceded her inside.  While Bree took in the high ceilings and dark wood trim in the living room, he launched into his tour narrative. 

“You can see the parlor,” he commented over his shoulder as he continued toward the back of the house.  “Back here’s the kitchen and the den.  ‘Course, you’ve got lake views from any room on the back of the house.”

Mesmerized by the tranquil sight of the lake, Bree approached the bank of windows that ran along the back wall of the open-concept kitchen and den.  She sighed deeply. 

This.  This was exactly what she needed.

He led her upstairs, showing her four bedrooms in total, two overlooking the front of the house, and two, including the master, overlooking the lake.  A large bathroom featured vintage tile and an antique clawfoot bathtub.  Off the master bedroom, a terrace doubled the deck downstairs off the den.  A door in the hallway led up a narrow flight of stairs to a small attic that ran front to back like a spine across the top of the house.

Mr. Meyer led the way back down to the first floor.  Bree couldn’t resist returning to the windows overlooking the lake. 

“What was it you say you do?” he asked.

She turned and smiled softly.  “I’m a writer.”

Hands shoved in the pockets of his jeans, he nodded.  “It’s unusual, is all, you wanting to rent the cabin this late in the year.”  He nodded toward the lake.  “Folks like to come in the summer to swim and fish and that.  In the fall now, it’s quiet.  Only a handful of people live on the lake year-around.  Most people live in town.”

“Quiet sounds perfect to me.  I have a deadline, and I need to get busy writing.”

The man nodded again, pursing his lips.  “And we agreed on a price?”

Bree rummaged through her leather shoulder bag and produced a white envelope.  She held it up.  “We did.  And you accepted my cash offer.”

He shrugged slightly.  “I don’t usually discount my cabin…”  He let his comment hang.

“Like you said, it’s late in the year.”  Bree straightened her five-foot-four frame and looked him square in the eye.  “And I’m paying you cash, in advance, for two months’ rent.”

After a moment, the old man nodded.  “Cash, in advance.”  He accepted the envelope, briefly peering inside.  Then he handed her the key and headed toward the front door.

Out on the lawn, Murphy was still exploring along the edge of the woods.  Mr. Meyer stopped at the driver’s side door of his pickup.  “You need anything, you can call.  And I’m at the hardware store every day.”

Bree pictured Meyer Hardware on the main street of Midnight Cove.  It was where they’d arranged to meet when she’d called to make her reservation two days earlier.

“I live up over the store,” he continued.  “So if anything breaks, you can let me know right away.  If I can’t fix it, I’ll find someone who can.”

“Thanks, I appreciate it,” she murmured.

Meyer glanced up at the house, then looked at Bree.  “Just so we’re clear, though.”  He held up the envelope.  “No refunds.  You decide you’re not staying, you can’t get your money back.”

Bree drew a ragged breath, thinking about where she’d just left.  “I’ll be staying,” she said firmly.

The old man nodded.  “Alright, then.  I suppose I’ll see you in town.  Not too many redheads living in Midnight Cove.”

With that, he climbed into his truck, backed around, and headed down the driveway.

When he was out of sight, Bree called Murphy.  “Come on, boy.  Let’s go get settled.”
 
**
 
From the attic window, he watched as the old man drove away, leaving the redhead and her dog standing on the driveway.  A dog.  That was a development.  Might be good, could be bad, he considered. 

On the one hand, animals usually seemed to see him, or at least be aware of his presence.  The family dog or a cat staring into a seemingly empty corner was sometimes enough to freak out its owners.  The dog’s attention could, however, make it difficult for him to move about undetected. 

Didn’t matter, he shook his head.  He’d concentrate his energy, knock over a few things, and send the woman and her dog skittering back to wherever they’d come from.

Out on the driveway, the woman retrieved a pair of black bags from the front of the yellow Beetle and carried them inside.  From the corner of the master bedroom, he watched as she unpacked some clothes and hung them in the closet. 

Another trip to the car produced a big blue dog bed and a large tan leather shoulder bag.  When she returned inside, to his surprise, she rearranged the den, placing a small table against one of the back windows then adding a chair.  From her bag, she removed a thin electronic gadget and placed it on the table. 

Although in life, he’d never known anything like it, he’d seen other summer folk with the same kind of thing.  It was like a typewriter, but you didn’t put paper in it.  He couldn’t figure out the purpose of the gizmo, but it really didn’t matter. 

She put the dog bed in the corner beside the newly created workspace, and the dog happily launched himself onto it, burrowing into the soft cushion and lolling gleefully.  The woman smiled at the dog.  “Who’s my good boy?” she asked softly.

She squatted to briefly rub the dog’s belly, then crossed to the French doors that opened onto the back deck.  As she stood gazing out over the lake, he glanced around the room, assessing what might give him the biggest bang for his buck. 

An empty rocking chair moving on its own accord was always a good bet.  If he could slam shut her typing gadget, that might be a nice touch as well.  As he made his way across the room to the rocking chair, the dog let out a low growl. 

Good, he thought.  Now she’ll be paying attention.

Concentrating intensely, he reached for the back of the rocking chair.  With effort, he managed to push it forward once.  It rocked forward and back a handful of times before slowing to a stop. 

The dog woofed once, then whined.  The woman watched as the chair settled.  Then she covered her face with her hands.

Unsure, he wavered for a moment before he made his way to the desk.  He was just reaching out to slam shut the device when she spoke.

“You should know that I’m not going anywhere.  I just gave the owner all the money I have in the world.  I don’t have anywhere else to go.  You’re stuck with me until the middle of November.”

Shocked, he froze.  No one had ever addressed him before.  But his surprise was quickly replaced by determination.  This was his house.  Where she went was her problem.  Forget closing the lid of her electronic device.  He’d shove the damn thing right off the table.

He was just gathering his strength when he heard a sound.  Turning, he saw that she’d sunk into the rocking chair, the very object that should have sent her running.  Holding her face in her hands, she sobbed like her heart was breaking. 

Immediately, he felt his resolve melting away.  He didn’t mind scaring people.  It was just good, clean fun, really.  But causing her to cry made him feel like a shit. 

He sighed to himself and watched her for a moment.  It looked like he might be stuck with the redhead and her dog for a bit longer than he’d thought.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

Although eventually I plan to publish it under my own Bratty Ginger Books imprint, MIDNIGHT COVE is currently part of DARK SECRETS, an anthology of 9 steamy, suspense romance novels you’re going to love.

DARK SECRETS comes out October 11,
just in time for your Halloween reading pleasure.
It’s only 99¢, and it’s FREE with Kindle Unlimited.
Reserve your copy today!
https://amzn.to/2kppsTN

Weekend Excerpt–New WIP–Midnight Cove

Still waters harbor dark secrets.

After the release of HUNTER’S PRIDE, I’m taking a brief break from cowboys before I go back to finishing ANNA’S HEART, Redheads & Ranchers Book 3.

I’m working on a spooky, steamy new novella that will be part of a top-secret anthology coming out just in time for Halloween. For this weekend’s excerpt, I’m giving you a sneak peek at MIDNIGHT COVE.

Here’s the blurb:

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?

Read the (unedited) Prologue of MIDNIGHT COVE.

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.  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 brother dearly. Seeing them, being near them, but being unable to connect with them was 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 like 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 man with white hair 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 recognize them anywhere.  While 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 the 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 saw 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. The man reminded him a bit of his grandfather, he mused. 

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 just beginning to shift into their fall hues. Days were getting shorter, and before long, the whole lake would be a riot of color.

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

Keep watching right here for details about the upcoming anthology.

While you wait, why not catch up on the Redheads & Ranchers Series?
JENNY’S VOICE and HUNTER’S PRIDE are available now.
ANNA’S HEART is due out by the end of the year.

Watch This Space–Just In Time For Halloween

Author Linda Fausnet has re-released her GETTYSBURG GHOST SERIES boxed set.  Get ready for paranormal romance set in historic Gettysburg.

There’s no passion like the love of a soldier. The Gettysburg Ghost series is comprised of three individual yet interconnected stories of eternal love between ghosts of Civil War soldiers and modern-day women who live and work in the historic town of Gettysburg.

The first book concerns Confederate soldier Jesse Spenser, who died in the battle of Gettysburg more than a century ago. He’s in love with Lucy, a waitress who works in a tavern in town. He aches to approach her and tell her how he feels, but she’s terrified of ghosts.

The second book concerns Theresa, a psychology student who counsels the weary spirits of Civil War soldiers to help guide them to Heaven. She was supposed to help Sean cross over. She wasn’t supposed to fall in love.

The third book concerns Remy, a young woman who runs ghost tours but doesn’t believe in ghosts. Little does she know, she has a ghostly secret admirer. Private Avery O’Rorke frequently joins Remy on her nightly ghost tours, and has fallen in love with her.

The Gettysburg Ghost Series is a three-book paranormal romance series with adult content and is intended for mature audiences only. Download the series now and get lost in a world of romance where history and modern times collide.

If you love paranormal romance, don’t miss the GETTYSBURG GHOST SERIES!
It’s even FREE with Kindle Unlimited.