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In The Spirit

Author(s): Linda Rettstatt

Author Jessica Windsor is suffering a severe case of writer's block.
Hoping a change of scenery will get the words flowing again, she retreats to a mountain cabin where she soon discovers she is not alone. A ghost with unfinished business enlists her help and Jessica finds herself on a madman's hit list.
 
Ben Gearing has been something of a recluse since he destroyed his marriage and lost his family. But there’s something about Jessica Windsor that makes him want to smile again, makes him feel more like his old self. Could he be ready to finally get on with his life?

Excerpt


Jessica sat up abruptly and gasped, then listened. At the foot of the bed, Binky crouched and hissed. “Shhh,” Jessica whispered.
 
The noise that roused her sounded like a scrape followed by a loud thump. She listened again, hearing nothing. The curtains rustled from a cool breeze blowing through the screened windows. Moonlight cast shadows across the wall.
She dropped back onto the pillow and stared at the dancing forms, willing her racing heart to slow. The cat burrowed under the blankets folded at the foot of the bed. Maybe it had been a mistake to come to this isolated cabin alone. Every noise unnerved her—and there were lots of unexplained noises. Not like living in the city, where silence occasionally punctuated the sounds.
 
The hoot of an owl echoed in the distance. At the plaintive sound, Jessica tugged the sheet up closer to her chin. She glanced down at the mound of cat beneath the covers at her feet and, for just a moment, wished she owned a Doberman. The unfamiliar creaks and groans of the old cabin would not permit sleep. After half an hour of tossing and tangling in the sheet, she gave up and turned on the dim bedside lamp. “I’m awake. I may as well do something productive.”
 
She pulled a pair of sweatpants over her short pajama bottoms and padded down the stairs to the living room. Soft beams of light shone through the front windows, slashing the darkness, guiding her to one of the table lamps. Behind her, the cat planted herself by the wall beneath the stairs, fur raised on her back, tail thumping wildly.
 
Jessica shook her head. “Binky, don’t start or I’ll lock you in the bedroom.” She scooped up the agitated feline and deposited her in the pet bed she had placed beside the desk. “Come on. Settle down.” Jessica turned on the laptop and opened her files. She read the first paragraph, then switched to checking email and her Facebook page. This had been her problem for the past few months—procrastination. She began to wonder if she’d ever write another book.
 
She leaned forward, elbows on the desk, face in her hands. You have got to get your head together. Outside, a pale golden glow announced the beginnings of sunrise. Jessica stood and reached for her jacket. “Maybe if I clear my mind, I’ll get on track.”
 
A gentle breeze rustled through the trees as morning broke on the mountain. The sweet, earthy scent of the forest wafted around her. Birds fluttered overhead and chipmunks rustled through brush searching for breakfast. She watched a squirrel race up and down a tree trunk, seemingly undecided as to whether to hide in the branches or venture out in spite of her presence.
 
She smiled, knowing that dance all too well. She had raced into her marriage to Ethan Windsor and, with equal speed, into her relationship with Jay. The problem was, the men were the ones who turned and ran the other way eventually. What was it about her that sent men running in the opposite direction? She was smart, reasonably talented, and still attractive for her age. Ethan had said he wasn’t ready to be settled with a wife and child. He decided this two years after the child came along. More recently, Jay told her he’d gotten a job offer on the West Coast. He broke their engagement, claiming he knew she would never relocate with Elliot, so far from her parents and from her publishing world in New York. What bothered her most was that he hadn’t asked. He had simply decided.
 
Jessica sat on a fallen log and dragged the back of her hand across her cheek to catch a runaway tear. “Men are full of shit,” she muttered. Then she froze at the sound of rustling that could only be human footsteps.

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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 978-1-77155-076-5
Genre: Paranormal
Date Published: 11/04/2013
Publisher: Champagne Books

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