Ashley Dawson has a gift—she can communicate with spirits. Her life profoundly changes when she is urged and guided, by a spirit, to the house of Nathaniel Marshall—a man who doesn’t believe Ashley’s bizarre accusations and makes no attempt to hide it.
When Nathaniel discovers a cunning man who disappears as quickly as he appears is stalking Ashley, his fear for her safety consumes him. Their terror is taken to a new level when several murders throughout the city surface.
Targeted Age Group: Adult
Genre: Romantic Suspense
The Book Excerpt:
“What’s your name?” Ashley Dawson asked, in a low and encouraging tone, of the translucent figure hovering at the foot of her bed. She fought the inclination to look at the clock and see what time it was. She feared that if she did, the apparition would disappear again. She guessed it was around three a.m. Please, tell me. I need to know your name. She didn’t speak the words aloud this time because it wasn’t necessary.
Ashley watched the woman’s mouth move, but she didn’t hear the words. Instead, the words touched deep within her mind. That’s the way it’s always worked. She heard them in her head rather than aloud. She did have to admit, though, that it was hard to distinguish the difference at times. Even for her.
“Sara.” She repeated the name and felt the overwhelming peacefulness that always accompanied the spirit’s presence.
The name fit her, Ashley thought. It was sweet and simple, like everything else about her. Sara was petite, and her dark brown hair freely swirled around her shoulders as if caught in a light breeze. An unblemished drop of cream was the only way to describe her milky-white skin. Her disposition was tranquil and kind, naturally calming. Her voice Her voice was like something out of a Michelangelo painting.
In the huge, ornate, four-poster bed, Ashley pushed herself into a sitting position, never taking her eyes off the spirit. With a quick puff, she blew the lock of fox-red hair from her eyes. When it fell back into place, she raked the thick wave to the side in irritation. There was a reason why Sara was showing herself, and Ashley didn’t want the spirit to leave until she found out what that reason was.
This marked Sara’s third appearance. The first time she emerged, she’d awakened Ashley out of a dead sleep and merely stood at the foot of her bed and watched her like some angelic guardian angel. With a shy smile, Sara then disappeared, leaving Ashley completely baffled as to who she was.
Waking up to spirits had become commonplace to Ashley. Actually, she couldn’t remember a time when spirits didn’t come around. It had taken years for her to master how to block a spirit out. But even then, some refused to disconnect. When this happened, she simply chose to ignore them and fell back asleep. However, Ashley never wanted Sara to leave—something about Sara drew Ashley in. Ashley knew after her first appearance that Sara would come back. It was just a matter of when.
The second time Sara manifested herself was after Ashley spent a long night writing and editing her latest mystery novel. Exhausted, she hauled herself into the bathroom to brush her teeth. Looking into the mirror, she saw Sara standing behind her. When Ashley turned, Sara spoke her first words.
“Hello, Ashley.” Sara’s soft, lilting voice reached deep inside Ashley. “I want you to see something.”
Sara slowly faded away and a beautiful house immediately replaced her. Like Sara, the house was slightly transparent, but Ashley could make out every exquisite detail. Elegant gardens and a courtyard surrounded the handsome stucco exterior and clay tile roof. The grand house, surrounded by rolling hills of neatly planted vineyards, looked as if it should be sitting in the French countryside. Moments later, it too disappeared.
Although she hadn’t taken her eyes off Sara, Ashley had lost focus as she drifted back to their first encounters. Bringing herself back to the present, she reached for a pillow and tucked it tightly against her. “The house. Why did you show me the house?”
Her words were nothing more than a subtle whisper that danced through Ashley’s head. “I don’t think I could ever forget it. It’s magnificent.”
“It is how you will find him.”
Ashley watched the weightless form drift back and forth. She could see her dresser through Sara’s translucent shape and glanced at the clock—2:47 a.m. “I’m not sure what you want from me.”
“I need your help.”
“How could I possibly help you?”
“You’re the only one who can help me. You’re the only one who can help him.”
Ashley was quiet for a long moment and then asked, “You know you’re dead, right?” Ashley knew it was a blunt question, but she had unfortunately met spirits who had not accepted the fact that their bodies had passed on. Some referred to the spirits that were stuck in a state of limbo as ghosts. She had the feeling that Sara was well aware of her passing, but it didn’t hurt to ask.
“Yes, but he’s not dead. He is alive.”
“Who is he?” Sara slowly faded. “No, don’t go,” Ashley said quickly as she tossed the pillow to the floor and kicked her feet from the sheets. As her foot dangled from the side of the bed, she realized just how silly she was being. It wasn’t as if she could stop Sara from leaving. “I don’t even know where the house is. Please tell me more. I can’t help you unless you give me more information.”
“Ashley,” she said in a soft, calming voice. “You’ll know what to do. Please don’t forget—he needs you.”
Sara was gone.