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, you’ll love MIDNIGHT COVE!

Read the Prologue:

He wasn’t sure just when he’d known that he was dead. 

That realization had taken a while, although the precise concept of time was now rather nebulous in his conscious thought, more a collection of seasonal impressions than an actual awareness of the passing of days and months and years. 

But the knowledge that he had somehow slipped his mortal coil had been an adjustment, to say the least.  He had no idea how he’d arrived at this state.  He’d been going along living his life and then he simply…wasn’t

His current existence seemed to be limited to the house in which he’d grown up, although there were times when he wasn’t anywhere at all.  He wasn’t sure which situation he preferred. 

On the one hand, he’d been happy to be near his family, at least at first.  But they couldn’t see him or hear him.  Not even when he screamed in their faces. 

That was when he’d known.  He’d loved his parents and his brother dearly. Seeing them, being near them, but being unable to connect with them had been frustrating as hell.

 Always nagging him was the question of what had happened.  He’d been a healthy, strong 23-year-old man, one with no bad habits like smoking or drugs.  Okay, yeah, the occasional beer, maybe, but nothing that should have led to his death. 

It seemed odd, too.  Although he was stuck in his family home, he was almost certain he remembered living on his own in an apartment, maybe.  That part of his before was foggy to him.

At first, knowing he was dead was terrifying.  But after a while, he’d settled into a sort of non-routine.  He’d watched as his family moved on, his parents and his brother, all eventually abandoning the family home.  Maybe they were dead too, his parents anyway, but if they were, he hadn’t seen them.  Apparently, the afterlife didn’t work like that.

After his family was gone, it seemed to him that the house sat empty for a long time, and he’d enjoyed the solitude. The way he saw it, if he was going to be alone, he might as well actually be alone.

But then he’d watched as one day, a slightly stooped white-haired man had arrived.  The man had thrown the doors and windows wide open, carried out piles of useless old things, and spruced up the place, top to bottom. 

The next thing he knew, the house was overrun with strangers.  They just came tromping in with their suitcases and their inflatable rafts and their bathing suits.

Summer folk.  He’d have recognized them anywhere. 

While he and his family had been permanent lakeside residents, most of the other houses were used as summer rentals, vacation retreats for families who spent the rest of their year somewhere in busy cities like Columbia or Greenville or Charlotte.  The kind of people whose idea of a perfect vacation was a week or two spent in a cottage by the lake.

He hadn’t been happy to share his space, and he’d made his position known.  And he’d sent more than one family scrambling back to wherever they’d come from, dropping snorkels and beach towels in their hurry to leave.

Of course, there had also been the ones who’d been too absorbed with themselves to notice they were shacked up for the week with an unhappy spirit.  That was annoying.  During those times, he did his best to just stay out of the way.  Because eventually, the seasons would turn, and he’d be alone again.

Gazing out the attic window at oak leaves that were just beginning to take on a kaleidoscope of fall colors, he sighed with satisfaction.  If he couldn’t be happy about his existence, he could at least be content.  

The crunching of gravel caught his attention, and he watched a work-worn white pickup truck pull up the long drive and stop in front of the house.  An older man, the one he’d seen before, got out of the truck and stood staring down the driveway. 

A minute later, a pale-yellow Volkswagen beetle puttered up to the house, pulling alongside the pickup.  The driver’s door swung open, and a pretty redhead stepped out, pulling a dark green hooded sweatshirt more tightly around herself against the cool of the fall afternoon.

She moved her sunglasses to the top of her head and glanced up in his direction.  For a moment, he’d have sworn she saw him.  Alarmed, he stepped away from the window.

What was this?  Another renter?  It wasn’t summer.  Cautiously, he peered out the window, checking to see if the seasons had switched on him again without notice.  No, the trees were still just beginning to shift into their fall hues.

Now he heard voices downstairs.  This was an unforeseen circumstance.  What now? 

He shrugged to himself and smiled.  A woman alone?  He would have her out by nightfall.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

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