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