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–JENNY’S VOICE

All Jenny could think of was to escape.
But she’s put Cole in unspeakable danger.
Is it already too late?

Young Jenny Stone has suffered unimaginable evil at the hands of the ruthless men who executed her family and took her as a trophy. When she saw her chance to excape, she took it, never looking back.

But when she hid in horse trainer Cole Caldwell’s trailer, she put them both in more danger than she realized. Can they hide out in the boondocks of Cole’s remote ranch? Or will trouble come looking for them?

Here’s a teaser from JENNY’S VOICE.

Jenny gazed unseeing out the kitchen window as she beat butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Her thoughts strayed back to Saturday when she and Cole had ridden up the ridge overlooking the ranch. Looking back, she’d known there was something going on, something he’d been holding onto. Heightened radar was a survival skill she’d mastered over the last couple of years, one that, to her way of thinking, had kept her alive.

She couldn’t have foreseen, however, that Cole knew about that day. It was her own damn fault, though. Leaving her search in his History like she had. What a stupid, careless thing to do.

Hearing him say her full name, Jennifer Stone, had been a gut-punch. Reliving the moment now, her stomach churned with shame. She liked Cole, really liked him. She hated that he knew her dark and dirty secrets.

She could have predicted the return of the nightmares. It seemed Cole had seen them coming too, because when she’d tiptoed into his room in the dead of that night, cold sweat dotting her brow, the cot was ready and waiting. His steady breathing was quietly reassuring, and she’d quickly fallen back to sleep.

For now, she was thankful that she hadn’t suffered another episode. That was really embarrassing.

Cole, for his part, had moved forward as though the truth about her didn’t phase him or cause him to view her differently. But of course, it did. It had to.

Over days of working with him in the barn and sharing meals with him in the farmhouse kitchen, she’d been foolish enough to begin entertaining notions of falling in love with the handsome rancher. But now that he knew the truth about her, there was no hope of some storybook happily-ever-after.

She beat a room temperature egg into the mixture and nodded to herself. This was how she’d get on her feet. Cole had negotiated a price for her cupcakes for the baby shower. After she repaid him for the ingredients, she’d save the rest of the money, and hopefully continue to get more orders until she had enough saved to move out on her own. That way she could leave Cole to his life. He deserved someone without her ugly past.

When the batter was ready, she scooped some into the paper-lined muffin tins and put the first batch into the oven. While it baked, Jenny wandered into the den and looked out the window. Cole had Dahlia in the round pen and he was putting her through her paces.

From what he’d told her, the horse had about another week and a half before she returned to her owner. Jenny sighed deeply. She loved that horse. She knew she’d miss her more than she cared to acknowledge.

By the time Cole returned to the farmhouse, Jenny was just starting to apply pale blue frosting to the cooled cupcakes.

“Mm-mmm, something smells good in here, doesn’t it, Blue?”

Pleased at hearing his name, the dog wagged his tail and grinned up at the humans.

“I don’t suppose you have one I could taste, do you?”

Suppressing a smile, Jenny plucked one from the end of her workspace and handed it to Cole.

He peeled back the paper and took an enormous bite, then shook his head. “Oh, that’s terrible.”

Frowning, Jenny snatched up a second cupcake and sniffed it carefully.

He shook his head. “You can’t send these over to Alida. To get rid of them, I’ll just have to eat them all myself.” He gave Jenny an exaggerated wink, and she relaxed, shoving him playfully.

Cole’s laughter rang through the house as he made his way upstairs to get cleaned up for dinner.

JENNY’S VOICE by Pandora Spocks

JENNY’S VOICE is available at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/JennysVoice