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–Better Than Staring at His Package

He’s just a guest, like any other visitor to Sweetwater Ranch.
No way will Anna fall for the famous Angus McGregor.

There was a buzz of excitement when world-famous actor Angus McGregor made a month-long reservation at Anna Graves’ family business, the Sweetwater Guest Ranch in Wyoming. Her sister-in-law can barely contain herself.

But Anna’s heart was broken years before, and she’s not about to let the handsome red-haired Scottish actor turn her head. She’ll just go about her business, and soon enough, he’ll go back to his.

Angus McGregor is taking on the challenge of his career. He’s risking everything to produce, direct, and star in a western film that will either establish him as a major force in Hollywood, or reduce him to a laughing stock. But first, he needs to learn to ride a horse.

Anna intrigues him from the moment they meet, but he’s fresh off heels of his own romantic disaster. He’s determined to keep his head down and focus on putting together the best film he can. Too bad he can’t stop thinking about Anna…

Here’s a little (unedited) teaser from ANNA’S HEART.

As the last of the stragglers left the dining room, Anna left her mother and Simone to finish breakfast cleanup. A huge stockpot of hearty beef stew simmering on the stove would be ready for lunch in a few hours. Simone and Mrs. Graves would eventually make their way upstairs to join Lana in freshening up the handful of guestrooms located in the main lodge.

Anna would see to the cabins by herself, a job she’d insisted on as Simone and her baby bump had grown more and more unwieldy. Sweetwater Ranch wasn’t a hotel, really, so the day-to-day housekeeping was fairly light. While fresh sheets were available upon request, staff didn’t make beds or change the sheets on a daily basis.

On the other hand, between riding horses, working with cattle, and practicing outdoors skills, guests tended to get grubby as they participated in ranch activities, so daily fresh towels were a must. Anna also preferred to spot-clean the bathrooms and kitchens, straighten anything out of place, and remove the trash each day.

It was definitely easier when she split the duties with Simone, but over the past few months, Anna had worked out a routine that allowed her to finish her housekeeping duties in about an hour. And that left her plenty of time to make sure she was ready for her afternoon riding session before she headed back to the kitchen to help with lunch.

As usual, she started with Cabin 1 and worked her way back. The first five cabins, the newest of the bunch, were nearly always occupied for every session, summer and winter alike. When they had a larger-than-normal group of guests, the older cabins were used, beginning with number 6.

She herself occupied number 7, then numbers 8 and 9 were available to guests. Ross lived alone in Cabin 10. Andy and Simone had an apartment on the top floor of the main lodge, while Anna’s parents remained in the family quarters just off the lodge kitchen. It was where Anna and her brothers had grown up, and their father before them.

The newer cabins had been built when Anna was in high school. They were nicer than the older ones, but they were smaller. As she drove the golf cart from Cabin 5 to Cabin 6, she wondered what movie star Angus McGregor thought of his rustic accommodations. On the one hand, his cabin was larger than the others. But on the other hand, it was older. The amenities weren’t as new and the bathroom and kitchen hadn’t been updated.

Fresh towels folded over her arm, Anna snorted as she walked up the front steps of Cabin 6. Angus McGregor, cooking for himself in the little cabin kitchen!

Right! I’m still surprised he deigns to show up at mealtime, she thought to herself. Figured he’d call the front desk expecting room service.

Pausing at the door, she knocked lightly. “Housekeeping!”

She knew that at that time of the morning, he was in Andy’s riding group. It was why she did these chores right after breakfast. Everyone had someplace to be, and it was a rare instance when someone was actually in their cabin.

Still, it was better to be on the safe side. She knocked again, then unlocked the door and let herself in. A quick scan showed the open living room/kitchen combination to be neat and tidy, save for a bunch of index cards spread all over the kitchen table.

She craned her neck to look at them briefly as she made her way to the kitchen trash can. Quickly, she removed the bag and replaced it with a fresh one, placing the old bag beside the front door. Everything else in the kitchen looked in order so she carried the fresh towels down the short hallway to the bathroom. Still envisioning the famous actor trying to cook something on the older-model gas stove, she smirked as she opened the bathroom door.

Clouds of steam rolled over her as a very naked Angus McGregor, towel in hand, froze stock-still.

“Anna?” Eyes wide, he moved the towel down to his waist, but not before Anna got an eyeful of a most impressive cock.

“Holy shit!” she gasped, stumbling backward into the hallway wall.

As she turned and rushed down the hallway, she heard his bare feet padding along behind her.

“I’m so sorry,” she offered without bothering to turn around. “You’re supposed to be riding right now.”

“Aye, about that,” he answered, “I switched to a different session.”

“I knocked, I swear I did.” Clutching the towels, she still faced the door. “I didn’t mean to just barge in on you.”

“I’m just back from a run. I didn’t hear ye over the shower. Anna?” His tone was soft.

Slowly, she turned around, willing her eyes to stay away from the bulge beneath the towel around his waist. She allowed her gaze to skim up his rippled abs to his muscular chest and wide shoulders. Water still dripped from his hair and he swiped a hand across his face.

Oh, yeah, that’s definitely better than staring at his package.

“It’s okay, really. Just a miscommunication is all. No worries.”

Utterly humiliated, Anna nodded mutely and turned back toward the door.

“Anna? Can I have the fresh towels?”

She rolled her eyes and turned back, handing over the towels. “Oh, yeah, of course. I just…well, I usually exchange them for the old towels.”

“Do ye want this one?” His grin was wry.

“No! Holy shit, no keep that on,” she squeezed her eyes shut and waved her hand. “I’ll get it tomorrow.”

She opened the door and let herself out onto the cabin’s covered porch, then stopped.

“Wait a second! You switched to what different riding session?” Turning back around, she placed her hands on her hips.

Lips pursed as though he were suppressing another grin, he leaned his shoulder on the doorway. “I’ve never ridden a horse before. I requested tae be placed in the Beginners’ group.”

“But that’s my group.”

“So I was told. I didn’t think ye’d mind.”

Anna worked her mouth, unable to come up with the proper words.

Blue eyes sparkling, he watched as though to see what she’d come up with.

Finally, her articulation skills gained traction. “But it’s a kids’ group. They’re all kids.”

He nodded. “Aye, I was told that, too. And they’re beginners, just like me.” He tilted his head thoughtfully. “If ye don’t want me in the group, just say so.”

“No, it’s not that, it’s just…” Anna’s heart pounded and she felt her head spinning. She willed herself to be anywhere except where she was. “Fine. It’s just fine. If you don’t mind riding with the kids, I’m sure they won’t mind.”

She hurried down the steps and got into the golf cart. “Well, again, sorry for…” She trailed off, feeling sheepish. The amusement sparkling in his eyes didn’t help at all.

“I’ll see ye at lunch,” Angus said, chuckling.

“See you,” Anna nodded, pressing the accelerator and speeding off down the trail.

ANNA’S HEART by Pandora Spocks

ANNA’S HEART is due out in early 2020.
Until then, why not get acquainted with the first two
Redheads & Ranchers books?
JENNY’S VOICE and HUNTER’S PRIDE
are available at your favorite online bookseller.

Weekend Excerpt–HUNTER’S PRIDE

Chivalry is alive and well…

Widowed rancher Hunter McFall had no intention of ever falling in love again.
But then, he never counted on prissy city lawyer Poppy Chastain
and her fancy little ‘cow poo’ shoes.
If he’s not careful, he’ll be hooked. Is she everything she seems?
Or does she have darker intentions?

Here’s an excerpt from HUNTER’S PRIDE, the second book in the Redheads & Ranchers series.

By the time they finished eating and paid their tabs, Hunter was positive Poppy had to be feeling the effects of the alcohol. But she seemed determined to press forward independently.
Together, they made their way to the door of the bar. With all the noise and music inside, they had been blissfully unaware that a spring storm had rolled in. Rain pouring down in buckets was punctuated by jagged flashes of lightning and the percussion of thunder rolling through the valley.

He’d already decided that he’d be making sure she got back to her room safely. The storm just clinched the deal. He could barely make out the lighted walkway of the motel through the torrents blowing across the highway in waves.

Beside him, she stared out into the storm. “Well, shit!”

He rested a hand on the small of her back. “Don’t worry. I’ll take you back to the motel.” He took a couple of steps. “Stay right here. I’ll get the truck.” With that, he dashed out into the deluge.

When he pulled the huge black Expedition to the front door, he leaned over and pushed open the passenger door. Poppy launched herself into the truck and slipped, falling headfirst over the center console, her face landing smack in his lap.

“Whoa, now!” he laughed.

She scrambled backward, nearly falling out of the truck. “Um, sorry about that,” she gasped as she swung the door closed.

“It’s okay, just…get yourself settled.”

Sheepishly, she buckled herself in and clasped her hands in her lap. “Okay, I’m settled.”

Suppressing a grin and mentally shaking his head, Hunter turned the truck and headed toward the highway.

At this time of night in a town like McFall, there was no traffic to speak of. Anyone not already home was currently parked in the lot in front of the North Star. He paused anyway, peering through the rain in both directions before cutting across to the motel.

“Which room is yours?”

She pointed with an unsteady hand. “Lucky number 7.”

He pulled into the space beside the Range Rover she’d driven out to the ranch. “Hang on.”

Ducking, he hurried around and opened her door. She accepted his hand and slid down, clutching her shoulder bag with the other hand. Together, they dashed the ten feet to the covered walkway.

For a moment, they stood dripping, looking out into the rainy night. Poppy fished the room key out of her bag.

“Well, thanks for the ride.” She leaned down and closed one eye, her right hand weaving a bit as she aimed for the lock.

“Can I help?” he asked.

He took the key from her and unlocked the door, swinging it open.

“Thanks. I would have gotten it.”

He tried to stop the smile. “I know you would have.”

She peered up at him, red hair drenched from the rain. He stepped closer, and she reached around his neck, pulling him to her, pressing her red lips to his. Her intensity surprised him, but he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her closer, giving in to her passion.

Gradually, she loosened her hold, and he released her. Gingerly, she touched her fingers to her lips. “Sorry about that. I’m a little drunk.”

“Not a problem. But you should go inside now.”

She nodded slowly. “Yeah. Thanks for everything, Hunter.”

“You’re welcome. Go on now. We’ll talk tomorrow.”

She headed into the room and peeled off the cardigan, dropping it on the floor. Then she gripped the bottom of the camisole and lifted it. Hunter realized that with the drapes open, she was about to put on a show for the entire North Star Bar & Grill, assuming they could see through the rain.

“Hold up there,” he said, hurrying inside to draw the curtains.

Giving up on the camisole for the moment, Poppy sank onto the edge of the bed. He squatted in front of her, taking her hands in his.

“I’m going to go now,” he said softly, “and I need you to lock the door behind me. Okay?”

She blinked as she tried to focus on his face. “Okay.”

“Okay, come with me,” he said, guiding her to the door. “After I go out, you lock the door.” Unable to resist, he pressed a light kiss to her forehead. “I’ll call you tomorrow.”

He stepped out onto the sidewalk and pulled the door closed behind him, then stood listening. “Poppy?” He knocked lightly. “Lock the door, hon.”

From the other side, he heard the click of the lock, then the rattle of the chain. “Good girl. Okay, we’ll talk tomorrow. Goodnight.”

HUNTER’S PRIDE by Pandora Spocks

HUNTER’S PRIDE is available at your favorite online bookseller:
https://books2read.com/HuntersPride

Weekend Excerpt–Happy Halloween

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

When writer Bree Blaylock rented the lakeside cottage in the small town of Midnight Cove, she didn’t count on staying in a haunted house. But she doesn’t mind sharing quarters with a restless spirit. She learned long ago that the living are always more dangerous than the dead.

She also didn’t count on falling for local lawman Jake Hanson. But life often has other ideas. Can Jake keep her safe when the past comes calling?

Read a little teaser from MIDNIGHT COVE.

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 April, 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 April slid her chair into a small gap at about Bree’s three o’clock.  “It’s one of her best if you ask me,” April 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!”  April 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!” April 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 April gushed on and on, Bree felt herself blush even deeper.  “That’s really nice of you to say.”

“Oh!”  April 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.”

April 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 in 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, April 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.

Still, Bree was happy when the conversation moved on to other topics.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

MIDNIGHT COVE is currently available exclusively in fall’s hottest anthology, DARK SECRETS. Available for just .99, and free with Kindle Unlimited, this boxed set includes nine brand new romantic suspense novels that make for perfect Halloween reading.

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Weekend Excerpt–CHASING ORDINARY

Because who doesn’t love a modern-day adult fairytale?

When Montana sculptor Petey Cavanaugh returned to New York City for an exhibit of her work, she didn’t plan on meeting the man of her dreams. Too bad she doesn’t realize that the handsome businessman is actually Europe’s most eligible prince.

Petey is everything Nik ever wanted. He’ll have to tell her the truth eventually. But for now, he’s enjoying his first-ever taste of ordinary. What will happen when she learns his true identity?

Here’s a snippet from CHASING ORDINARY.

Petey stared into the dressing room mirror.  “Oh, my God, I look like Alice Cooper on a three-day bender!”

“And we’re getting a picture of it, too,” Colin said, snapping a photo with his phone before she could protest.  “Because this is going to be a hell of a ‘before and after.’”

Colin clapped his hands loudly.  “Okay, people, we have an extreme makeover.  STAT.  Let’s see…”  He circled Petey, brow knit in concentration.  “First, we ditch this horrid dress.  Honey, I don’t know what you were thinking.”

“Unh, this was my friend Jules’ idea,” Petey snapped back.

“Well, what did you do to make her hate you because this thing is a nightmare.  Arms up,” he directed. 

“This from a guy in orange pants,” Petey snarked, as she raised her arms.  Two female assistants gripped the hem of the dress and pulled it over her head. 

“These are harvest rust, and they’re Prada.”

“Dude, they’re orange.”  Uncomfortably, she clutched her arms in front of herself in a vain attempt to cover her panties and bra. 

Colin barked with laughter.  “I like you.  You’re feisty.”  He continued to peruse her closely.  “And you have great tits.” 

He reached to cup one of her breasts and she batted his hand away.  “Hey!  Watch it!”

He just rolled his eyes.  “Honey, please!  Tits are not my thing, except the way they fill out couture.” 

To one of the assistants, he snapped, “Elaine, go to the stash of Agent Provocateur and find something in a, what?  34D?”  Petey nodded mutely. 

“And Zoe?  I’m seeing her in that pink Solace London.  The one with the mock turtleneck?”  The two women hurried off, presumably to find what they’d been sent to get.

Colin turned back to Petey.  “Get out of your wet undies and slip on a robe.  We’ll get you cleaned up, and then we’ll polish you until you sparkle.  Don’t worry about a thing.”  He winked at her and sent her on her way. 

For the next twenty minutes, an entire team worked to put Petey back together.  Her hair was washed and her face was cleaned.  While someone worked on her makeup, another person gave her a pedicure, while a third did her nails.  Finally, her hair was blown out. 

Colin returned to inspect their handiwork.  Nodding approvingly, he smiled at Petey.  “Okay red, in the dressing room, you’ll find new lingerie, a dress, and a pair of shoes.  Get dressed and come on out.”

Petey stepped into the dressing room and closed the door.  The mirror was covered with paper, and she’d only seen a maddeningly brief glimpse of herself in the makeup chair.  A plush chair held a cardboard box lined with tissue paper.  Inside were a pretty bra and panty set.  A pink dress hung on a hook on the wall, and she saw a shoe box on the floor. 

Lifting the bra from the box, she admired the sheer burgundy fabric, embroidered with peach and deep pink flowers.  The tag still hanging from the garment announced its price–$215.  Petey gaped.  The matching panties turned out to be a thong, priced at $130. 

Her most extravagant lingerie purchases had been a few bras from the Victoria’s Secret semi-annual sale.  It had taken over an hour to find something she liked, and she’d had a sneaking suspicion they’d made a stack of ugly bras just so they could discount them.

Shaking off her reservations, she dressed quickly, careful to pull the dress over her head without looking at the tag.  It seemed better not to know. 

The shoebox held a pretty pair of mauve velvet ankle-strap stilettos.  She sank onto the chair and fastened them on her feet.  God, what I wouldn’t give for a mirror right now

Glancing at her watch, she saw that it was exactly twenty-five minutes since he’d left her to go upstairs.  He.  She had no idea of his name.  In all the chaos, she hadn’t thought to ask. 

When she opened the dressing room door, a crowd was waiting, with Colin smack in the middle.  There was a collective gasp as he snapped a photo.  The group burst into applause, and Colin took a bow.  “That, ladies and ladies, is why they call me the ‘miracle worker’.

He took Petey by the hand.  “Come look,” he said.  He led her to a tri-fold mirror at the top of a small dais.  “Go ahead,” he nodded.

Petey carefully climbed the three steps to the top and stopped short.  Gazing back at her was the most beautiful self ever to greet her from a mirror.  Her long red hair was blown out silky and smooth, her makeup, including false eyelashes, expertly applied.  The pastel pink dress fit her like it was made for her, the mock turtle collar hugging her neck, leaving her shoulders and arms bare.  The clingy knit hugged her curves, and the hem hit just below her knees.  The color complimented her hair and skin flawlessly. 

Colin stepped up behind her.  “Naturally, the dress is meant to be shorter.  But because you’re such a shorty, it hangs longer on you.  If we had the time, I’d have it taken up.”

Petey turned to him, eyes shining.  “Thank you so much.  I can’t possibly afford these things.  I’ll take them to the one-hour cleaner first thing tomorrow and return them.”

The man gave a friendly chuckle.  “Don’t worry about it, sweetie.”

“Hello?  Is she ready?” a male voice called.

Petey turned around.  Her rescuer had returned.  For the first time, she noticed his British accent.  Their eyes met and she gasped lightly.  He was the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen.  His dark blond hair was neatly trimmed, a thin scruff of beard defining the contours of his chiseled square jaw.  Deep blue eyes gazed back at her, wide with apparent surprise. 

Certainly, she’d looked different when last he’d seen her.  As had he, to be honest.  He was now dry, his hair neatly back in place.  While the suit he’d worn earlier had been blue, the current one was a deep charcoal. 

They stared across the room for what felt like an eternity.  Finally, she broke the ice.  “Hi.”

“Hello,” he replied softly.  “Are you ready?”

Petey looked to Colin, then back at him.  “Yes, I think so.”

“Before I send you back out into the monsoon, I’m putting a coat on you.  No more getting drenched.”  An assistant appeared with a trench coat in a black and white chevron pattern.  Colin helped her into it.

She threw her arms around him.  “Thank you!  Thank you for everything.”

“My pleasure, red.  You come back and see me anytime.  I mean that.”  He kissed both her cheeks.  “Have fun.”

She headed to the doorway where he waited.  He called across to Colin.  “Thank you.  You’re a lifesaver.”

Colin laughed and waved.  As the pair left, he shook his head. 

“Well, kids, I think we just witnessed history.”

CHASING ORDINARY by Pandora Spocks

CHASING ORDINARY is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/ChasingOrdinary