I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, but really have no clue how. So I just decided to plunge in. I’ll change things up later, once I know more about what I’m doing. I love blogs. Millions of them are on the Internet, with so many different styles and topics. To me, they’re fascinating. And just think! Only a few years ago, nobody had ever heard of a BLOG. What a strange word.
This is my first post, so I want to post about HAUNTED MEMORIES, my latest release from Cobblestone Press. In this story, Olivia Bartlett is stunned to find her old friend, Deputy Tucker Hawkins, living in the house she has inherited, but she’s even more shocked to glimpse her cruel stepfather lurking in the shadows. Has Walter come back to haunt her, or is he really alive–and trying to kill her? To survive, she must turn to Tucker, who not only stakes his claim to the old house, but also to her heart.
Here’s an excerpt:
A covered concrete porch, shrouded by knotted oaks, spanned the front of the house. The porch’s metal railing listed to one side. Overgrown pyracantha, crepe myrtles, and renegade pines filled the once-regal flower beds. Weathered oak rockers, their seats worn smooth, stood like zombies beside the door, near a creaky swing hanging on rusty chains.
Behind the house sat the dreaded well, its gaping mouth boarded up as if to keep it from spilling family secrets. In her mind’s eye, Olivia saw Emily leaning over to attach the bucket to the hook before tumbling headfirst into the hole, her screams echoing through the air. Then…silence.
A quiver of despair rolled through Olivia. There were no bodies inside the well now. No ghosts. Only brackish water, spindly spider webs…and memories of death.
The dilapidated barn at the edge of the field had once been red, but was now a sickly brown. Olivia pictured its narrow stalls, and tears filled her eyes. She wanted to forget. Yet the smell of old hay brought back the cruel sting of Walter’s slap and the hungry glint in his eyes as he reached for her.
Clambering from the car, she slammed the door and jumped when the sound echoed off the ancient house. The area was too quiet, too still. Even the birds had stopped chirping. A peculiar, itchy feeling washed over her and she spun around, half-expecting to see her stepfather standing in the shadow of the barn. All she saw were overgrown weeds and a rusty wheelbarrow, its lone wheel hopelessly bent.
Olivia eyed the towering storm clouds building on the horizon, tucked her hands in her pockets, and walked around to the front yard, which was knee-deep in wild onions. As she crushed their swaying stems underfoot, their pungent odor burned her nose, reminding her of the stench of Walter’s sweat. Her stomach churned. Coming here alone had been a mistake.
She made a fist and turned toward her own private house of horrors. Its screens curled away from their frames, allowing insects to nest on the dirty panes.
She pulled a faded envelope from her pocket and drew out the note her mother had pinned to Olivia’s gift the morning of her twelfth birthday, the day Emily had died.
My Dear Olivia,
Keep this pink kitten close to your heart. Let it be your confidant and friend. I am proud of you, my girl. And I have another surprise! Your father, before he died, gave me a letter with a special message for you to open on this exciting day.
Love you, Mom
Tears filled Olivia’s eyes as she read her mother’s tight scrawl. She had never gotten her father’s letter. Poor Emily had stolen her mother’s attention that day—and every day until she died ten years later, after sinking into a catatonic state.
Olivia refolded the note and slid it back into her pocket. She had hours of work ahead of her if she was going to find that letter. But toil she would, because once she found it she would have the house leveled.
She edged toward the porch and was startled to see a dark brown car bearing the Polk County Sheriff’s Department logo parked beneath a spreading oak tree on the other side of the yard. She hadn’t noticed it before, probably because she had been so focused on the house. Why was it here?
Thunder grumbled, and the air grew even more still. Not a blade of grass or leaf moved. A feeling of impending doom settled over Olivia, and she picked up her pace. Her hands shaking, she dug out the house key and mounted the three steps to the porch.
Just as she inserted the key into the lock, the door swung open. She screamed and staggered backwards.
Taken by surprise, Tucker Hawkins drew his weapon.
“Who are you?” he asked gruffly, his heart thudding beneath his badge as he stared in shock at the petite redhead on his front porch. He’d been about to leave for work. And now–who the hell was she, and how did she get a key to his door?
The woman pinned him with wide, frightened-doe eyes, and recognition punched him in the gut. He lowered his pistol. “Olivia?”
She clapped a hand over her mouth. “T-Tucker?”
Tucker blinked to make sure his eyes weren’t playing tricks on him. They weren’t. The woman was Olivia Bartlett, the girl he’d loved in seventh grade. Only now, she was a woman with curves in all the right places and skin the color of alabaster. Looking at her was like tumbling over a cliff. He was flailing wildly, with nothing to break his fall.
Hope you’ll check it out!!