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Friday, October 10, 2008

Phone Calls from the Dead

I have a new release out this week. I'm so excited...this is the first "sequel" I've written and it was a new and interesting experience. One that I hope to repeat next year with a spooky little tale called Photographs from the Dead...but I digress.

Last year, I wrote Postcards from the Dead. It was the story of Cassie and Drew and how they both dispelled the ghosts in their lives to find love together. Cassie's sister Rosalie and her fiance, Kyle, played small secondary parts. But I loved Rosalie and was determined to give her a story this year. The problem was, I couldn't come up with a plot involving Kyle. Yeah, I know...that sounds silly...but sometimes the characters just won't cooperate.

So, I did what many authors have done before me. I killed him off. Sad but true...
The resulting tale turned out spookier and much darker than Postcards from the Dead. In fact, I can proudly say that I gave Sable Grey goosebumps! Squeee!

Here's a bit of a sneak preview:


Phone Calls from the Dead by Ericka Scott


Available today at Cobblestone Press 


Can the new man in her life help her find love again?


After being left standing at the altar, Rosalie Hopkins is just beginning to put her life back together. A mysterious phone call makes her realize she needs to find her ex-fiance in order to forget him. So she hires the oh-so-sexy private investigator, Tavon Williams to help her.


Tavon Williams  was investigating Rosalie's ex-fiance. After tailing the man for months, Tavon discovered two things. One, the man was cheating on her. And two, Tavon was in love with Rosalie. So, when she hires him to solve her cold case, things really heat up!



Excerpt:


"So?"


Rosalie sipped her drink and pretended she hadn't heard. With an exasperated sigh, Cassie leaned forward in her chair and shouted to be heard over the noise of the crowd in Dino's, a local night spot. "Did you get the job?"


At five o'clock on Wednesday, hump day happy hour was in full swing. Halloween decorations announced the season. Bales of hay stood along one wall, displaying elaborately carved pumpkins, and in the center of the dance floor, the disco ball had been replaced by a large skull with glowing eyeballs. Local newscast commentary from the widescreen televisions perched over the bar vied with the strains of a local Salsa band playing a south of the border rendition of Monster Mash.


"As if you didn't know?" Rosalie rolled her eyes.


"I get postcards from dead people. I'm not psychic." Cassie waggled her eyebrows and repeated, "So?"


Rosalie grinned. The job interview for a position at the ticket counter of the local airport had gone stunningly. So well, in fact, that she started work the next morning. After months of scraping by on savings, it would be fabulous to have a steady paycheck again.


"I start tomorrow!" Rosalie did a little happy dance in her chair. She'd forgotten how much fun having drinks with her sister could be.


"Yippee!" Cassie lifted her margarita glass as if in a toast.


"Are congratulations in order?" Drew, Cassie's husband, asked as he slid into an empty seat.


"Rosalie got the job," Cassie said as she leaned in to kiss him.


They made such a cute couple. Tall, blond and buff, Drew wore his hair in a buzz cut and had started wearing black-framed glasses. Cassie called it his Clark Kent look; while Drew insisted he only wore the glasses to chase other women away. Just for a second, the pang of jealousy almost undid Rosalie. She averted her eyes and straightened the candle holder, a large plastic spider, in the middle of the table. Cassie and Drew looked so happy together. Without Kyle, they would never have met. Thinking about her ex-fiancé evaporated her good mood, but she fixed a smile on her face to help convince herself that she was so over him.


"Well, this calls for a celebration," Drew said. "How about I take the two prettiest women in San Josue, California, out to dinner?"


"On a reporter's budget?" Rosalie teased. "I'm not sure I want to eat at McDonald's tonight."


"Hey!" Drew's blue eyes lit up as he laughed. He stood up and pulled out his wallet to pay for their drinks.


"Good one, sis." Cassie tapped Rosalie's glass with her own. "It's been a while since you…"


"Yeah, I know," Rosalie cut in. "But get used to it, I'm back." She hoped her voice and body language spoke with more confidence than she felt.


As they stood, Cassie put her arm around Rosalie's shoulders and gave her a brief squeeze before following Drew through the crush of bodies. Rosalie had almost forgotten how crowded Dino's could get on a Wednesday when they served bottles of various beers in a bucket. Tables were in short supply, and quite a crowd had gathered around the bar. A smattering of couples gyrated on the dance floor while the band played Thriller, salsa style. She glanced around. No one even looked her way, not like they used to when she stood beside…


No, she was not going to dwell on the past tonight. She wasn't going to let the bastard spoil any more of her life. Then, as she started forward, she saw him–a tall, black man standing at the bar. He towered head and shoulders above everyone else and had on a local team's football jersey.


Without thinking, she turned and strode in his direction. What would she say? Confront him? Ask him why he'd left her standing at the altar and then just disappeared? Despite her thoughts, anger carried her forward. Then, he turned and her footsteps faltered. The man in front of her was only a young college kid. It wasn't him–it wasn't Kyle.


Without breaking her stride, she turned and headed blindly toward the door. She collided with a hard body and was enveloped by warmth and the scent of expensive cologne.


"Whoa!" a deep voice said.


Rosalie looked up through tear-filled eyes.


"Hey, aren't you Kyle's wife?" the man asked.


"Um, no." Heat seeped up her neck and into her face. "We didn't…I mean…well…" she stammered. Jesus, she sounded half-witted. Why hadn't she just said yes and moved on?


"You know, I saw him that day." The man's soft hazel eyes, framed by impossibly long curly lashes, bored into hers.


"What?"


"Yeah, he lived on Stetson Drive, right? Well, I'm a huge fan of his and just as I drove by the house, he came out the front door. I stopped, but by the time I pulled over to the curb, he was already in the car and pulling out."


Rosalie blinked, trying desperately to come to grips with the information. Right after Kyle's disappearance, there had been hundreds of leads, most of them from crackpots angling for a few moments of fame. But this man's story seemed plausible. After Kyle's knee injury had sidelined his basketball career, he'd become a popular sports commentator; people frequently stopped him on the street to say hello.


And the man standing in front of her certainly didn't look like a crackpot. Skin the color of café au lait, he wore his black hair short and his face clean-shaven. His dark slacks, white oxford shirt, and sports jacket all looked neat and orderly.


But then, most serial killers probably looked like someone's next door neighbor, too.


However, she certainly hoped serial killers didn't elicit the response from his victims that this man incited in her. For the first time since Kyle's disappearance, her heart beat faster, and a slow burning heat coiled low in her belly. She was disconcerted to feel this level of attraction for a stranger, no matter how gorgeous he was. Perhaps her body was finally waking up and taking notice of men–men who weren't Kyle.


Although she would have liked to indulge in a carnal fantasy, one with her naked and wanton in the stranger's arms, she directed her attention back to the conversation. No one had told her there were any witnesses to Kyle's departure. "Did you tell the police?"


"Oh, yeah, I told that horrible detective Manny what's-his-name." The man shrugged. "However, he didn't seem to think much of it. I called a couple of times to see if he'd discovered anything, but he never called me back."


Typical. Rosalie knew what it felt like to receive a brush-off from the officer. "Well, thank you for letting me know." Rosalie tried to smile and hoped it looked more pleasant than a grimace.


"Sure. It was nice meeting you…" the man trailed off and held out his hand for her to shake.


"Rosalie Hopkins."


"I'm Tavon Michaels."


The name struck a familiar chord, but she couldn't remember where or when she'd heard it before. She took his hand and felt a zing of desire with his touch. Even though she'd just met this man, her hormones screamed for her to pull him closer so that she could feel the heat of his body warm hers. Her nipples hardened and pressed against the fabric of her blouse as she looked up into Tavon's eyes.


What would Kyle think?


The thought came unbidden, and it was as if a bucket of cold water had been poured over her head. Pulling her libido into check, she said a hasty good-bye, turned away, and tried to make an unobtrusive exit.


When she careened into her sister, she realized tears were pouring down her face.


"What?" Cassie gasped. Then, in the intuitive way sisters have, Cassie stood on tiptoe and scanned the crowd. She, too, must have spotted the tall man at the bar, for she exclaimed, "Oh my God, is that Kyle?" She pulled away from Rosalie, heading in the man's direction.


"It's not him. Cassie!" Rosalie called after her sister's retreating back.


Cassie turned around. "Are you sure?"


"Yes, I'm sure." Rosalie took a shuddering breath. "Let's just get out of here."


"Do you want to go home?" Cassie asked.


Oh, did she! Rosalie wanted to do nothing more than to curl up on the couch, wrap herself in an afghan, and cry. But she'd spent far too much of the last three months doing that. She shook her head. "No, I want tabloid-boy to buy me dinner."


"That's my girl." The words were whispered in an oh-so-familiar voice. Rosalie started and looked around; goose pimples danced up her arms. Kyle?


"Did you hear that?" she asked Cassie.


But her sister was already headed for the white truck illegally parked at the curb. Rosalie trailed along behind her, casting a glance over her shoulder. It simply had to have been her imagination.


***********************************


Or was it???


 


:-)


Ericka Scott


www.erickascott.com


 

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