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First pages

Chapter One

As Myra walked down the sidewalk, she was jolted out of her reverie by a gigantic dog bounding up to the nearby fence. A sudden giggle slipped from her lips. Myra’s foul mood was abruptly ended by two hundred pounds of wiggling body and licking tongue. It’s impossible to be depressed when a gigantic dog is doing its best to lick your entire face.

“Hi, Tadashi,” she managed between licks. “Yes, hi, hi, hi! You’re right. It’s all very exciting.”

Laughing again, Myra reached over the sturdy picket fence to pet the grinning dog and scratch his ears. Tadashi stopped his frantic licking to enjoy the caress. With his giant paws on the top of the fence, the short-haired, russet dog stood taller than Myra’s five foot eight inches. If Myra wasn’t who she was, Tadashi might have frightened her with his giant head and powerful jaws. Tadashi was a Japanese mastiff whose owner had acquired him both for a companion and as a guard dog. Towards strangers, Tadashi was normally aggressive and protective of his yard. Myra, however, was a stranger to no animal.

“Did hims have a good day? Yes, is hims a good boy?” Myra asked, in the sing-song tone known by mothers and puppy owners everywhere.

Behind Tadashi, the front door of the two-story, Victorian house opened as the dog’s owner appeared. The man was tall. Myra thought he was over six feet, though she’d never been close enough to him to be certain. He was black-haired and fit, which Myra might have found attractive. That is, if he wasn’t such an ass.

“Uh oh,” Myra whispered to the dog. “Cheese it, Dashi. It’s the cops.”

“Braf,” Dashi replied. Looking over his shoulder, the dog wagged his whole lower body as he caught sight of his owner. “Braf.” Dashi said again, and then returned to trying to lick Myra’s face.

“Miss,” Dashi’s owner began, his tone of voice already sounding curt and annoyed, “as I have told you repeatedly, my dog is a guard dog and it just isn’t safe to treat him as you do. I put those signs up for a reason.”

Rolling her eyes at the nearest “Beware of Dog” sign, Myra returned her attention to Dashi. “Yes, hims is just the fiercest beastie. Yes, hims is. Is the bad old doggie gonna eat me up?”

“Miss,” the man continued, sounding even more irritated, “I’m very serious about this. Tadashi has been a one-person dog since I bought him. He barely tolerated my ex-girlfriend. I don’t know why he acts like this with you, and for all I know he could stop being friendly at any moment. So, I’ll have to ask you again to stop molesting my dog.”

“Oh! Did you hear him, Dashi? Now I’m a dog molester. Nice daddy you got there.”

“Braf.”

“Tadashi, inside,” the man ordered, his words coming out hard and clipped.

Myra got in one last pat before Tadashi looked at her almost apologetically and dashed to where his owner held the front door open.

“You’re being ridiculous,” she shouted to the man’s back as he went inside with Tadashi. “I hope you realize that.”

Her miserable mood was entrenched again; all joy of the dog ruined by the rudeness and idiocy of his owner. Turning back to the sidewalk, Myra plodded to the house next door.

The “Pink Palace” is a large, three-story, Victorian house at one end of St. James Court in a neighborhood called Old Louisville. Built in 1891, the house has a steep roof with many gables and a turret on one side. Even in the fading sunlight, Myra could see the pink gleam of its walls and the sparkle of the sunset on its many windows. She loved this house. It was as beautiful on the inside as it was on the outside, with parquet floors, original woodwork, and old fashioned charm. Never in her life had she thought she would live in a house with a grand staircase made of elegantly carved wood, but live in it she did.

The Palace was owned by her landlady, Erin Jones. Erin lived in the house as well, and had the master bedroom on the main floor. A seventy-two year old widow, she was an animated and engaging woman, often mistaken for being at least a decade younger than she was. A mid-level psychic, Erin rented the other four bedrooms in the large house to a variety of people who had special gifts themselves. The city of Louisville might call the place Myra lived in “The Pink Palace,” but to the odd group of people in residence it was affectionately named “Wyrd House.”

Unlocking the front door, Myra walked into her home of the last three months and felt her spirits lift as soon as she stepped through the doorway. Wyrd House was a peaceful place, not only because of the people who lived there, but because the house itself seemed infused with an atmosphere of content. Myra was sensitive to places, and she had never before lived anywhere with such a calm and happy aura. She assumed it was because of Erin’s long residence. Erin was the calmest and most cheerful person of Myra’s acquaintance. Setting her things in the hall closet, she followed her nose into the kitchen, where the other denizens of Wyrd House were just sitting down to dinner.

“Something smells delicious,” Myra said in lieu of greeting.

“Myra! We thought you were going to miss dinner, you’re so late,” Nancy said.

Nancy was the youngest resident of Wyrd House by far. At nineteen, she was a gentle young woman who was content to remain in the house. A high level empath, Nancy was unable to turn off or ignore the ability which caused her to experience the emotions of others. She found it difficult to be around too many people. Having visited Erin as often as possible since she was sixteen, Nancy waited only until she was legally able to leave her alcoholic parents before moving into Wyrd House. Inside the pink walls of the Palace, amongst a handful of people she knew and trusted, she was flourishing for the first time in her life.

“The interview took longer than I thought,” Myra said, sitting down to a table laden with fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, and green beans. As she began filling her plate, she continued, “Then the ignoramus next door ruined my Tadashi time.”

“You had better stop calling him names, young lady, seeing how you’re going to marry him,” Erin chimed in, grinning.

“Stop it.” Myra blurted around a mouth full of chicken. “There is nothing that could possibly convince me to marry such an insufferable grump.”

“I see what I see,” Erin said, eyes twinkling with mirth, as her roommates laughed.

“You always tell me the future isn’t set in stone.”

“True. And you could decide to jilt him at the altar just to spite me.”

“Don’t worry, darling,” Dean chimed in. “If you can’t get Tadashi’s daddy shaped up by the time you’re forty, you can marry me.”

“Somehow,” Myra said, “I don’t think your boyfriend would approve.”

The group laughed again as Myra grinned at her best friend at the house, Dean Teeter. Dean was in his early forties, tall, skinny, and always dressed with style. Though meals at Wyrd House were casual, he was wearing vintage slacks from the 1950’s and a short-sleeved, Hugo Boss dress shirt.

“Speaking of your boyfriend,” Myra began, “Where is Chris?”

“Winging his way to Vancouver. He said he would bring you some more maple syrup, Erin.”

“Bless his heart. That boy is such a dear.” Erin said with obvious affection.

Chris was a flight attendant in his mid-thirties, and dedicated to Dean. When their dating had become serious, Chris had asked Dean to move in with him. Dean had been torn. Having lived at Wyrd House for over a decade, he adored Erin, and did most of the manual labor involved with keeping up such a large home. Though he loved Chris, he couldn’t imagine leaving Erin to fend for herself. When Dean had mentioned his worries to the two people he loved the most, Erin had offered a simple solution by inviting Chris to move into the Palace. Chris had readily accepted. Due to his flight schedule, Chris was only in residence a couple of nights a week. Erin would accept no rent from him, so Chris helped the household by bringing in food and treats from his many trips.

“He has a flight to Portland next week,” Dean said. “He’s already talking to a fish house about packing some lobsters on dry ice for us.”

“Oh, I love lobster.” Paige chimed in. The bubbly, red-haired young woman was twenty eight years old, and had lived with Erin for the past five years. “If you marry Myra,” Paige said to Dean, “then can I marry Chris?”

“He’d never have you,” Dean said drolly. “He knows you only want him for his seafood procuring abilities.”

As the table dissolved into laughter again, Myra realized she could feel the remnants of her foul mood fading away. After the disaster in Indianapolis forced her move to Louisville, these kind people were exactly what she needed. Now, if she could just find a job.

As if reading her mind, Paige brought up the very subject Myra most wanted to avoid.

“So, Myra. How did the job interview go? Did you get it?”

“Well,” Myra began, embarrassed. “I guess maybe it wasn’t the right job for me.”

“Not right?” Dean asked, the tone of his voice raised an octave in surprise. “You said taking pictures for the Preservation Society and cataloging them online was your dream job. You said it beat the pants off of dealing with whiny kids for J. C. Penny.”

“Maybe we’re just hearing a little sour grapes here,” Paige added. “Maybe the interview went terribly.”

“Maybe she got nervous and spilled coffee on his lap or something,” Nancy chimed in.

“No, Nancy, I did not spill coffee in his lap.” This was it. Myra dreaded the confession she was about to make, but she couldn’t lie to the new family she had found when she most needed it. “Actually, the interview went very well. Max Carter was very impressed with my portfolio and offered me the job. I told him I’d think about it, but I plan to turn it down.”

Her comment caused a quite a ruckus, and Myra waited for it to fade before she continued. While her housemates asked an array of questions, Erin regarded her, her face passive, and seemed unsurprised by her news.

“I’m so sorry, Erin. I know I owe you for the rent and I shouldn’t be turning anything down, but—“

“Never you mind about the rent, sweetheart. I told you when you moved in not to worry about it until you were on your feet. Besides, I had three long shots come in at the track today. Believe you me, we are not hurting for money.”

While Erin’s gift did her no good when it came to the lottery, she did quite well at the horse track, not to mention the poker rooms in the area. A wise person did not play cards with Erin.

“I’m far more interested in why you turned it down,” Erin continued. “It did seem like it was just what you were looking for.”

“I don’t know,” Myra began. “To start with, the office is in what used to be an old church. There’s something wrong with it. The building is very angry. I felt it as soon as I walked into the yard. I don’t have your talents, Paige, but I think it’s haunted.”

“What did you feel?” Paige, the resident clairvoyant, said.

“Watched. Constantly watched. And there were odd places where it was colder than it should be. I felt an all-encompassing anger which seemed to seep from the very walls. I don’t know what happened there, but the church is seriously pissed off.”

“Maybe we could take a walk by there tomorrow,” Paige offered. “I could look around and see if I see anything.”

“I was hoping you would,” Myra said with relief. “I can tell if a place is positive or negative, but I can’t always tell why.”

“Leave it to me,” Paige said. “If the problem is ghosts, I’ll get to the bottom of it.”

“That’s all well and good, darling,” Dean drawled, “but it doesn’t explain why you turned down the gig. You’re a photographer. You wouldn’t even be working in the building.”

“The one thing creepier than the building was Max Carter himself. I can’t put my finger on it. He was well spoken and had impeccable manners, but I felt like he was sucking the life out of me. Literally. I yawned three times during the interview. When I left, all I wanted to do was lie down and take a nap. I walked home instead of taking the bus, and it seemed to help.”

Nancy had perked up during this description. She sat on the edge of her seat and her eyes were wide with shock. Small and fragile, Nancy was a cheerful young woman who always had a tentative smile on her face. To see her so affected was unusual.

“Myra,” Nancy began softly, “how did the other people in the office seem to you?”

“Fine. Friendly. Tired, really. I assumed they were busting their butts to get something done, but now you mention it, they didn’t look like they were especially busy.”

“You said the man made you feel tired, like he was sucking the life out of you?” Nancy asked.

“Yes.”

“Maybe he was. I’ve met a couple of people in my life who fed on the life force of others. I call them psychic vampires. They draw energy from those around them, making them tired and sick. If you spend too much time with one, they can drain the life from you all together.”

“Hold on a minute,” Dean interjected. “Are you saying these psychic vampires can kill people?”

“Yes,” Nancy said. “People get sicker and sicker, the doctors can’t quite figure out what is wrong with them and blame it on some unknown virus, and then they die.”

“If this man is one of Nancy’s psychic vampires, then we should do something to stop him. Someone like Carter shouldn’t be allowed to run rampant,” Erin said.

“Agreed,” Dean said. “We need to find out if he is indeed dangerous, or if he’s only a run of the mill creep. How do we do it?”

“Well, there’s someone’s opinion I would like to get right now,” Myra said. “Max Carter gave me one of his business cards when I told him I’d have to think about the job.”

Taking the card from the pocket of the stylish black slacks she had worn to her interview, Myra stood up and stomped three times on the floor. After a moment, she repeated the three stomps. Soon, there was a skittering of claws on hardwood as a low, pale form came bounding out of the hallway and into the kitchen. Running up to the table, the animal stopped at Myra’s chair and stood on its hind legs, politely waiting to be picked up.

Scooping the ferret up, Myra turned him on his back in her arms and lowered her mouth to his stomach to “talk” to him.

“Is Xander the cutest boy?” she murmured into the warm fur of his tummy. “Yes he is! Xander is the cutest boy.”

For his part, Xander nuzzled at Myra’s face and licked her eyelids with his tiny, sandpaper tongue. Xander loved when Myra “talked” to him. A large, male ferret, Xander was white with grey tips on most of his fur. His head was white, and the gene which caused the coloring was the same one that had left him completely deaf. Xander didn’t seem to miss his hearing. He was a happy little fellow with a fat tummy and a penchant for stealing socks. He was also an excellent judge of character, and had been Myra’s first clue something had been very wrong when she lived in Indianapolis.

Placing the affectionate ferret back on the kitchen floor, Myra presented him with the business card Max Carter had given her. After the briefest of sniffs, Xander snatched the card from her fingers and then shook his head, as if he was trying to break a small rodent’s neck. As the people at the table watched, Xander carried the card in his mouth over to a corner of the kitchen. Placing the card on the floor, the normally fastidious ferret turned around and urinated on it.

“Xander!” Myra yelped. She hurried to the cabinet under the kitchen sink to grab paper towels and cleaner to clean up the mess. “I’m so sorry, you guys. He never has accidents.”

Her friends laughed at her, and Xander weasel-danced around her feet as she cleaned the corner of the kitchen. Back at her seat at the table with Xander curled up on her lap, Myra regarded her friends with a serious expression on her face.

“Xander is the best judge of character I know,” she began. “He didn’t react so strongly to my ex-fiancé up in Indy. I think Max Carter is going to be a problem.”

“I agree,” Erin said. “The real question is, what are we going to do about it?”

“I don’t know,” Myra said.

“Well, my dear, you’re the witch. Why don’t you take a day or two to think about it?”

Chapter Two

Still tired from the draining effect of being in a room with Max Carter, Myra went to bed early. As Xander’s short legs made the trip up the stairs difficult, she had taken to carrying him up to her third floor bedroom every night, and back down to the main floor every morning. She was lucky her housemates all enjoyed Xander’s antics. Ferrets are sociable creatures, and if Xander had to stay in her bedroom all of the time, he would be very unhappy. So the chubby ferret had a bed and several small litter boxes in secluded nooks on the main floor, and spent his days where he would find the most company.

Her pet also had made a new friend at the house. Nancy’s cat, Mystra, was as shy as Nancy was when it came to people. When it came to ferrets, however, the cat was like a different creature. Xander and Mystra had become fast friends and spent their days playing chase and hide and seek together. It cheered Myra to see the two furry friends playing together. Back in Indianapolis, she had a second ferret, Faith, who was Xander’s best buddy. Faith had gotten adrenal disease, a condition common in ferrets born in the large ferret mill which bred most of the North American pets. Faith had died during the surgery to remove one of her adrenal glands, and Xander had been grieving ever since. Having a new animal friend to play with had helped cheer the sad little guy. While Myra intended to get Xander another ferret friend, she did not feel she could manage it until she had a new job to supplement her dwindling savings account.

As Myra made the journey up the two flights of stairs to get to her bedroom, she realized how tired she was. If this was the effect of spending less than an hour in Carter’s company, then Erin was right. Something would have to be done to keep the man from harming others. She considered this as she climbed the stairs with Xander riding over her shoulder, bobbing his head to look at everything they passed.

By the time they reached the bedroom, Myra had decided some sort of protection spell was the answer she was looking for, but she was too tired to consider the matter further. After undressing and getting into bed, it was moments after her head hit the pillow Myra fell into a dreamless, exhausted sleep.

The next morning dawned bright and beautiful. Looking out of her bedroom window, Myra enjoyed the glory of a spring day in Old Louisville. May was a pretty time in the city. Everywhere one looked, there were daffodils and forsythia in bloom. The ornamental pear trees with which Louisville had lined the city streets were also in bloom, making each street bordered in blossoms. Petals fell to the ground in drifts like snow on the dingy grey pavement. Though Indianapolis was beautiful, the grace of this southern city perched on the riverfront was like a balm to Myra’s soul. After the sorrow she had found in Indy, this place and the people she had found here reminded Myra there was still joy in the world.

Taking out her expensive and massive digital camera, she took a few moments to choose the settings she needed, opened the window to the warm air of early May, and took some shots of the local architecture. Old Louisville was originally a suburb of the city and named The Southern Extension. It had once housed some of the wealthiest residents of the city. It is the largest preservation district in the country, and has the highest concentration of homes with stained glass windows as well. The homes themselves were cut up into apartments, though a few of the giants continue to be single family houses. Unlike similar homes on nearby Third Street, these homes are residential and have not become fancy office spaces. For a photographer like Myra, living in this neighborhood was like a dream come true. She had once gotten a picture book of Indiana nature published. Myra was certain she could do the same with a book of historic Louisville architecture.

Pictures taken before she was even dressed, she then went into the attached bathroom to shower and prepare for the day. The vibration of the water on the metal, claw-foot tub woke Xander, and the cheerful ferret danced around her feet as she got dressed. After a brief tug-of-war battle over her socks, she finished dressing and carried Xander downstairs in search of breakfast. Her meal consisted of toast and tea, while her ferret shared high-priced kibble with his cat friend.

While she had plans with Paige to take a look at the old church which now housed several offices, including Max Carter’s, she knew it would be early afternoon before Paige woke up. Paige made her living writing ghost stories for an online publication, and stayed up late writing most nights. A night owl by nature as well as habit, Paige had found the perfect job for herself. In fact, the only resident of Wyrd House who worked outside the home at the moment was Dean’s flight attendant boyfriend, Chris. Nancy, a reclusive young woman who loved to read, edited books for a small literary firm. Dean had no obvious paranormal gifts, but had a knack for seeing patterns which translated well into stock market investments. Even in the current unstable market, Dean was doing quite well. Erin herself came from family money, which she supplemented with her gambling, more because she enjoyed the game than because she needed the money. Perhaps Myra should take the plunge and work on selling her photographs herself rather than looking for a more traditional job. Until now, she had been to drawn to the stability of a regular paycheck and the limited benefits most employment offered these days. If her housemates could manage without that sort of crutch, perhaps she could as well.

A good start would be to compile enough photographs of the architecture in Old Louisville to send a proposal to the literary agent who handled her last photo book. With that thought in mind and breakfast finished, she went back upstairs to fetch her camera and Xander’s leash. Her ferret loved going outside to play in the grass, but the leash was imperative. Domestic ferrets are comical and charming, but they are not often bright enough to find their way home if they become lost, nor are they able to take care of themselves outside. A lost ferret wanders until it is found, or dies from starvation and exposure. Taking no such chances with her furry friend, Myra snapped the harness firmly in place before taking Xander outside.

With a ferret in her arms and a camera hung over one shoulder, Myra headed into the sunshine. The disappointment of the day before was quashed by the excitement of a new project. A polite bark from the yard next door demanded a short delay in her plans. Despite the fact Tadashi could swallow Xander in one bite without chewing, the giant dog and the diminutive ferret were best buddies. Myra held Xander up on her chest so the friends could greet each other with a flurry of sniffing. Giving Tadashi a quick pet, she left the fence before the dog’s ridiculous owner could appear to chastise her.

St. James Court is a divided drive with a well-manicured lawn between the two streets. There are majestic old trees and a large fountain on the lawn as well. The court includes working, old-fashioned gas lights on a timer so they come on only at night. Myra found the idea of having timed gaslights as ridiculous as Tadashi’s grumpy owner was, but there is no arguing the street is charming, no matter how well-planned that charm is.

Walking to a section of the central lawn which had a good view of the houses around her, Myra set Xander on the grass to play. With the end of his leash clipped to her belt buckle, she could take pictures without worrying about him getting too far away. Enchanted with the fancy pink house she lived in, she took several shots of it first. A passing cloud put half of the house in shadow, which made it look both stately and mysterious at the same time. After she took several pictures of the entire house, Myra used the considerable zoom on her camera to take some detail shots of the architecture. The third story turret room with its tall, pointed roof, a blooming branch of a sugar magnolia hanging over a stained glass window, and the reflection of the blue sky amidst the purple and yellow gingerbread around an upstairs window were all images she captured in her camera.

When she had taken all the pictures of her home she wanted, Myra turned her camera on the other houses, and then on the strip of green park itself. Xander enjoyed when she laid down on the ground to get a close up of a gigantic daffodil bloom with no background but the sky above. Climbing up on her, the ferret danced on her chest for a moment, and then licked under her chin with his rough tongue.

“Xander, stop. That tickles.” Myra said, and then laughed.

The ferret declined to comment, and continued his assault on her chin.

Standing, Myra gathered up Xander and took him over to the large fountain. The curious ferret seemed to enjoy watching the splashing water, which gave her a chance to take more pictures. She took several pictures of the fountain with a large, light colored brick house in the background. It was odd. Most of the Victorian houses she had seen in her life had been made of wood, but there were few wooden houses on St. James. The homes were built with the style and grace of the Victorian era, but were almost all made of brick and stone. Wondering why this was the case, Myra was interrupted by the growling of her stomach. When she looked at her watch, she was shocked to see she had been taking pictures for more than three hours.

Returning to the house, she unclipped Xander’s harness and the ferret ran off to find Mystra. Perhaps he wanted to tell his cat friend of his recent adventures, Myra mused. After she grabbed a sandwich for lunch, she collected her portfolio and laptop and went to the dining room. The enormous room held a long table where over twenty people could sit down to a meal together. The residents of Wyrd House rarely used it, preferring to eat at the more normal sized table in the eat-in kitchen. Erin had offered the dining room with its gigantic table as a workspace for Myra to work on her portfolio. Even now, it held her large, photo quality printer and an array of photographs which she had arranged in neat rows in order to choose the prints she would take to her interview with the Preservation Society. Hooking the laptop up to the printer, she sorted through the shots from her morning in the court, cropped them, and printed a few of the most promising.

It astonished her how many people in this modern age still preferred a traditional portfolio. She had sold digital photos to magazines and such, but the jobs she interviewed for locally still preferred hard copy prints to her website or digital portfolio. While many individuals were welcoming a less paper-dependent world with open arms, corporations were slow to change and non-profit organizations seemed the slowest of all.

By the time she had her new photos in order, Paige was awake and ready for their adventure. The old church which housed the preservation society offices was just over a mile away, and the young women took advantage of the warm spring day to walk to their destination. Myra brought her camera along, and the women paused often so she could take a picture. While they walked, they chatted about the beautiful day, Louisville, and Myra’s plan for a book of photographs of Louisville’s architecture.

“It’s a good idea,” Paige said. “It wouldn’t just appeal to the locals, but it would be great for the crowds who come to town for the Kentucky Derby. Not to mention the St. James Art Fair. More people come to town for the fair than the Derby itself.”

“Really? I’ve heard you and the others talking about the art fair, but by the way you spoke about it, I assumed it was kind of awful.”

“It’s annoying is what it is. This whole neighborhood is shut down for an entire weekend. The roads are blocked off, what seems like a thousand booths and food stands appear overnight, and so many people flock to it you can’t walk down the street without fighting your way through the crowds.”

“It sounds popular.”

“It is,” Paige agreed. “They get artists, crafters, and photographers from all over the country to come in with their work. But it’s hard on the residents of Old Louisville. There’s no parking for miles around due to the crowds, so if you leave during the day, you can’t get back home.”

“How do all of you stand it?”

“Well, Erin and Dean almost always go away for the weekend and avoid it all together. Nancy and I hole up in the house for the weekend. I venture out into the crowds and buy us tons of carnival food, and we watch movies and pig out all weekend.”

“That sounds kind of fun,” Myra admitted.

“You are welcome to join us, but it might not be too late for you to try to get a booth. It’s hard for locals to get in, but if you did, you could make a mint off of the tourists.”

“Why is it hard for locals to get in?”

“It’s a juried show, and they pride themselves on being international. So they only allow so many locals, no matter how talented the locals are. I think they take it way too far. We have some very good artists in Louisville. Last year, I saw this one booth where an old lady had pillows for sale. Pillows she had hand painted with giant Technicolor flamingos. Most god-awful things you ever saw. But she was up from Florida, so she got in.”

“Were they truly awful?” Myra asked, laughing. “Or did you just not care for them?”

“They really were. I was standing in line to get funnel cakes. I watched the woman's booth for twenty minutes. No one even paused to look at those hideous pillows; they just rolled their eyes and kept walking.”

“It sounds like I wouldn’t have much chance getting in then, if they’d rather have horrible artists from elsewhere in the country than talented people here at home.”

“Nonsense,” Paige said. “Your work is good. Sure, you might not get in, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Nearing the old church that had been converted into office spaces a year ago, the women paused their chat to observe it. While Paige looked it over, Myra took the time to take some pictures of it. It was a handsome building made of grey stone and wooden shingles. There was a castle-like quality to the roof of the building, and large, ornate stained glass windows. The heavy, wood double doors leading to what had once been the entrance to the sanctuary were painted a deep red, and ivy crept up the stone to one side. It was an easy structure to take pictures of, and Myra took many as she waited for Paige to examine the place.

“Yeah,” Paige said and then sighed. “We got trouble.”

“Ghost?” Myra asked.

“Oh, yeah. Looks like an old priest. He’s wearing vestments anyway. He’s standing on the roof, leaning over the little stone wall looking thing, and shaking his fist at us… and he looks like he’s shouting. That is one angry priest.”

“What’s he saying?”

“How should I know?” Paige asked. “I see them, I don’t hear them.”

“Sorry, I forgot.”

Paige was clairvoyant, which meant she could see ghosts and spirits. She was not, however, clairaudient, and could not hear them at all.

“Maybe he’s angry his church isn’t a church anymore?” Myra suggested.

“I doubt it,” Paige said. “A church getting decommissioned is not particularly rare these days. A priest comes and de-consecrates the land and church, and then it’s just another building. It shouldn’t upset anyone if it’s done correctly.”


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

Julianne lives in Indy with two cats, two ferrets, and one fiancé. She lived in Louisville for over twenty years, and loves setting her stories in her old hometown. She is a fan of cheap coffee and expensive chocolate.

Q. Tell us about the cover and the inspiration for it.
A.
The art on my cover was created from a photograph of a gigantic pink house in Louisville that I've always been fascinated with. In fact, that house inspired this story.
Q. When did you decide to become a writer?
A.
I've enjoyed writing all my life. Around twelve years ago I decided I wanted to write novels. I spent several years practicing and learning about novel writing, and then I wrote my first one. I'm now working on my sixth book and still in love with writing.
Q. What draws you to this genre?
A.
I love reading mysteries and I love reading paranormal. Writing a book combining the two was irresistible.

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