At last… Buried Secrets, the sequel to The Cavanaugh House, has arrived!…well, it will be published Oct. 3, 2016. But you can pre-order your print copy today! Just click on Amazon. The Kindle edition will be available soon.
When Jesse Graham almost runs over a “body” in the road one night, she is plunged into a labyrinth of secrets, lies and murder. All Jesse wants is a simple life teaching at St. Bart’s… and a chance at love with Joe Riley. She realizes that plan has been thwarted when puzzling occurrences at St. Bartholomew Academy for Girls get increasingly dangerous. The danger doesn’t just spring from the ghost who haunts the grounds of St. Bart’s, but from a sinister presence that is not ghostly at all. As she digs into the mystery, threats on her life and the life of her student escalate.
Which danger threatens her life the most? The ghost haunting her student or the secrets buried in the school?
I thought you might like a sneak peek at Chapter One, so here is the first scene:
Excerpt from Buried Secrets
Labor Day, Monday, September 2, 1968
Jesse Graham squinted through the windshield wipers at the rain-swept road ahead of her. In her twenty-eight years, she had never liked being out in a thunderstorm, and this one was a doozy.
“NASA plans to put a man on the moon next year, but nobody can invent windshield wipers that work in a downpour,” she grumbled.
She hadn’t meant to work until after sunset, but she’d obsessed with putting up creative bulletin boards and adding final touches to the course guides to be ready for the first day of school tomorrow. Though she had taught in Rochester for five years, no doubt her obsession stemmed from the fact that she was the newest faculty member at St. Bartholomew Academy for Girls.
Adjusting to the late-summer darkness was hard enough, but add this thunderstorm and visibility was nil. At least upstate New York didn’t suffer through tornadoes or hurricanes. She gripped the wheel, concentrating on avoiding the deep ditch carved out along the shoulder.
A flash of lightning revealed a shape sprawled in the middle of the road ahead. She leaned forward, as if that would help her see if it was a deer someone hit and left to die. Another bolt of lightning illuminated the shape again, revealing blonde hair spread out on the wet pavement. In a moment of clarity—at least she could always count on that oddity in the midst of panic—she knew it was not a deer. Downshifting, she slammed on the brakes, her 1965 Volkswagen Beetle skidding sideways. She broke out in prickles of sweat as her car thudded against the form and halted.
“Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!” she cried out.
She was pinned to her seat. Her legs shook, then her whole body. She fumbled for the door handle, unable to find it at first. Finally, she grasped it, threw open the door, and scrambled out onto the road. The sky strobed as a lightning bolt slammed into a nearby tree. Her nose stung with the acrid smell of sulfur. Her knees buckled, but she recovered, stumbling toward the immobile form. Slowing her pace, she neared the cloth-draped figure, afraid it might leap up and attack her. Afraid it might not move at all.
Have I just killed someone?
Trembling, she dropped to her knees beside the form. Bile rose in her throat at the sight of long, blonde hair streaming out from beneath the gray wool blanket that covered the shape. Pulling the blanket back, she gasped. A blonde wig was perched atop a dummy fashioned from burlap stuffed with hay. What the…? Slowly, she realized what she was looking at. She breathed with relief. But her relief was short-lived.
Son of a bitch. This prank could have sent someone flipping end over end. Storms weren’t known to improve traction.
“Who the hell would pull a rotten trick like this?”
She looked around—was the perpetrator standing just off in the trees beside the road? Rain spattered against her hair. As she brushed the clinging ringlets from her eyes, she pulled up the hood of her nylon poncho. Heart pounding, she leaned back on her heels, inhaling deeply to still her trembling. Hot breath escaped through her flared nostrils. Grabbing the dummy, she wrapped the blanket around it and lugged it to the car.
“Marty needs to see this,” she muttered. When Officer Marty D’Amato recently helped her solve the mystery surrounding Helen Cavanaugh’s death, he risked his career so she could gain access to decades-old records for her investigation. They had become good friends; he would agree that whoever was involved in the prank needed to be held accountable for its potential danger.
“This is a cruel trick played by somebody with a warped sense of humor. There must be something illegal he can arrest the jerk for.” She yanked the driver’s seat forward, wrestling the form into the back seat of her car. Uncooperative legs splayed out. She stuffed them in and slammed the seat back in place. As she straightened to climb in behind the wheel, the hair on the back of her neck stood on end.
Someone was watching her.
Peering through the rain at the side of the road, she saw a faint glow through the leaves. Shimmering like a will-o’-the-wisp, it floated along before disappearing. She slapped the hood of the Beetle—not with the immediate anger she’d just felt upon discovering the road hazard, but with an ancient, pent-up rage, urgent and demanding. And sorrow. Overwhelmed with sorrow, she crumpled forward, resting her forehead on the roof of the car. She was weak with the intensity of these emotions—where were these feelings coming from? The turmoil within dissipated.
“What the hell?” Regaining her composure, she rubbed her arms trying to stem the chill bumps as she saw the light move through the trees again. She sensed a pull—an irresistible, illogical yearning to follow the light that was at once frightening and seductive. Should she follow?
The rain slackened. The thunder subsided. Off in the trees, she heard a drumbeat, slow and mournful.
“No,” she whispered to the trees. “No. Not again.”
She shook herself to break the spell and got in the car. “It was nothing,” she said to her reflection in the rearview mirror, brushing unruly auburn curls from her eyes. “Nothing.”
She froze at the mirror’s reflection of the road. A dark shape moved along the shoulder some yards behind her. A flash of lightning illuminated a sleek black car that made a U-turn and sped away in the opposite direction. If the driver had not finally turned on its lights, she would have thought she’d imagined the car.
He was there the whole time.
Someone had watched as she discovered and moved the dummy. After starting the engine, she patted the dashboard of her VW bug. “Let’s get out of here, Bert.”
Pre-order your print version of Buried Secrets today at Amazon. The Kindle edition will be available soon!