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

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?

In this teaser from MIDNIGHT COVE, Bree learns that she’s not the first to notice something paranormal in the cottage by the lake.

Glancing around, Bree saw that the island was larger than it looked from her place. The pair of oak trees were much larger and much older than she’d realized, and both were strewn with Spanish moss just like the oaks that lined her drive and dotted her front lawn. Scrubby low shrubs clustered here and there, but the rest of the ground was a mix of soil and sand, and Bree wondered if the summer traffic simply trampled any other vegetation that might have the temerity to spring up.

At the crest of the island, the ground leveled off. A half-dozen chairs similar to hers stood scattered around a giant stone fire ring, their owners opting to stand around in small groups for the time being. The large fire crackled and popped, its light augmenting the fading sunset.

Jake set his cooler beside two others, then returned to Bree, handing her the red chair. He set up his own blue chair, then placed hers beside it.

“Everybody, this is Bree. She’s renting old man Meyer’s cottage for a while. Bree, this is everybody.”

Conversations stopped and Bree felt every eye on her as waved shyly. “Hi, everyone.”

She was greeted with smiles and friendly welcomes, but she suddenly felt out of place. She wondered if it was too soon to ask Jake to take her back.

When she looked up, Jake was watching her, his bright blue eyes filled with understanding. “How about a drink?” he asked.

She nodded. “Yes, please.” Following him to the cooler, she handed him the corkscrew from her bag. Deftly he popped open the wine and poured some into a plastic cup. Then he replaced the wine in the cooler, pausing to grab a brown bottle of beer for himself before he closed the lid again.

Jake gently placed his hand on the small of her back. “Want to take a little tour of the island while it’s still light enough to see?”

“Sure,” she laughed, deciding that it couldn’t possibly take very long. The tiny spit of land was so small, it would be like taking a tour of a studio apartment. Still, wine in hand, she followed him away from the fire. A trio of dogs brushed past them with Murphy trailing along behind, tail wagging happily.

“He’s having a good time,” Jake observed.

Bree laughed softly. “He’ll sleep like a log tonight.”

They came to the water’s edge on the opposite side of the island. “Here on the west side,” Jake explained, “the water’s deeper. A few feet out, the bottom just drops off and in those reeds over there, you can catch some serious bass.” He glanced at Bree. “Do you like to fish?”

She shrugged slightly. “I like to hold the fishing rod. I don’t like to mess with bait, or heaven forbid, I catch something, I don’t want to have to take it off the hook.”

He laughed lightly, his eyes sparkling. “Fishing is kind of my therapy. I love to stand still and watch the water and just listen to the quiet.”

Imagining the peace he described, Bree sighed. “That does sound nice.”

Jake quirked a dark eyebrow. “You could come over sometime and give it a try. I promise, I’ll take care of all the messy parts. You can just hold the rod. Of course, you’d need a license. Wouldn’t want to get in trouble with the police.” He winked and she felt herself blush.

“Pro tip: Get the annual license. It’s $20. The license for a week is $25.”

“Uh! Why is that?”

He laughed. “Because tourists on vacation for the week don’t question it. They just go back home and show everyone photos of the lunkers they caught.”

“Wow!” Bree shook her head and sipped her wine.

“How long until you go back home?” he wondered softly.

Rolling her eyes slightly, she took a large swig of wine. “I’m renting the cabin until the middle of November, but I’m not going back.”

Brow knitted in the fading light, Jake watched her expectantly.

Bree huffled softly. “I came here from Clearwater, Florida, but I’m not going back there.” She shook her head dismissively. “Suffice it to say, it’s a bad situation. But I’m not sure where I’m going when I leave here. I write,” she shrugged, “so I can do it anywhere. I was thinking maybe I’d go to New York. My publisher is there, so…”

She trailed off and glanced up to find him watching her intently.

“I’m sorry about the bad situation.” His eyes radiated sincerity. “Would you like to sit?” he asked quietly.

Smiling gratefully, Bree nodded, and they made their way back around to the campfire, where clusters of people, beer in hand, stood talking together. A young couple stood near the fire roasting marshmallows.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eyes wide, Bree looked to her left at Jake.

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

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

Bree nodded. “I am, actually.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Come on, Darlene,” Jake objected softly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

Read a teaser from MIDNIGHT COVE. And after the excerpt, you can watch the official book trailer. Just don’t watch it with the lights off.

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 available at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/MidnightCove

Weekend Excerpt–Happy Halloween!

…the living are always more dangerous than the dead…

Happy Halloween!
If you’re in the mood for a ‘dark and stormy night in a haunted house‘ kind of romance novel, MIDNIGHT COVE is the book for you.

Writer Bree Blaylock leaves Florida and an abusive fiance for a quiet cabin on the lake in a small South Carolina town. The fact that the cabin is haunted doesn’t bother her in the least. In her experience, the living are always more dangerous than the dead.

When she meets her handsome new neighbor, local lawman Jake Hanson, she wonders if it might be time to take another chance on love.

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

Here’s a brand-new teaser from MIDNIGHT COVE.

With Main Street blocked off, Rusty parked the truck in a designated area, and the pair set off on foot, joining dozens of other costumed townspeople as they made their way toward the center of the action. 

Midnight Cove had been transformed into a black and orange fairyland that would have made Tim Burton proud.  Orange lights were strung back and forth in zig-zag patterns across Main Street, and carved jack o’ lanterns of varying temperaments grinned in front of every business. 

The nostalgic aroma of fried dough and onions and fresh popcorn filled the air as Bree spied a row of food kiosks down the center of the street.  An area at one end of the street featured Halloween-themed carnival games for children, and residents had begun to arrange their chairs along the sidewalks, huge containers of candy at the ready for the trick-or-treating to begin.

At the opposite end of Main Street from the games, several stands offered adult beverages, and that’s where Rusty led Bree.  “I told her to meet us at the Dew Drop Inn tent,” he explained.  It’s right in front of the bookstore.

Just as they arrived at the orange and black canopy, the door of the Plucky Peacock opened, and a familiar figure emerged.  She locked the door and walked toward them.

“Hey, y’all!  Ooh, Bree, you look fantastic!  I love your makeup.”  She rose on her tiptoes and gave Rusty a kiss.

Bree shrugged lightly.  “It’s not too much, is it?”

“Girl, it’s Halloween.  Let it all hang out, that’s what I say.  Speaking of which,” she lowered her voice, “great cleavage!  Jake’s gonna love it.”

Beneath the heavy makeup, Bree blushed profusely.  “So, what’s this all about?”  She waved toward April, hoping to change the subject.

April held her hands out to her side and slowly rotated in a circle.  “Get it?” she grinned happily.

Bree scanned her friend up and down.  April was covered from her shoulders to her knees in a shaggy brown faux fur tube.  Her arms and legs stuck out from holes in the sides, and the whole thing narrowed to an elongated point that dragged on the ground several feet behind her.  A round fur hat completed the ensemble.

“What are you supposed to be?” Bree wondered.

April rolled her eyes good-naturedly.  “I’m a tail.”  She tucked her arm through Rusty’s.  “He’s a fairy.  Together, we’re a fairy tale.”  She gestured between herself and Rusty.

“Oh, for Pete’s sake,” Bree laughed lightly.  “Listen, have you seen Jake?”

“I don’t know.  He was down here earlier, but they may have sent him to the kids’ area.  We’ll find him later.  Let’s go get us some Witches Brew.”

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

Find MIDNIGHT COVE 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 picked the town of Midnight Cove, South Carolina by closing her eyes and pointing to a random spot on the map. She doesn’t care where she goes as long as it’s away from her abusive former fiance. All she wants is a quiet place to finish writing her new novel and to live in peace.

As soon as she drives up to the cottage she’s renting for the next couple of months, she knows she’s not alone. But she learned long ago not to be afraid of things that go bump in the night.

What she didn’t count on was falling for the handsome local lawman who lives a few doors down. Jake Hanson is giving her hope that finding real love is actually possible. But can he keep her safe when the past comes calling?

If I’m being honest, I have to say that I LOVE October. First of all, it’s my birthday month. Add to that the cooler temps, the beautiful fall colors…it’s an irresistible season.

But in October, suddenly I’m in the mood for a ‘dark and stormy night in a haunted house’ kind of book. If you’re like me, MIDNIGHT COVE is just what you’re looking for.

Here’s a scary little snippet.

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

Weekend Excerpt–MIDNIGHT COVE

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

Doesn’t September put you in the mood to read something suspenseful and romantic? You know, a steamy ghost story with a happily-ever-after ending?

Take a creepy lakeside town, add an eclectic cast of characters with secrets and a haunted house, and you have MIDNIGHT COVE, my spooky, sexy Halloween romance novel.

In 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 teaser from MIDNIGHT COVE.

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 now available in wide release
at your favorite online bookseller!
books2read.com/MidnightCove

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!

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