by: Ally Shields
Series: Maggie York Paranormal Mystery
Genre: Paranormal Mystery Romance
Release Date: October 19, 2016
Publisher: Etopia Press
Too many ghosts is never a good thing…
Detectives Maggie York and Josh Brandt's latest murder case comes at the wrong moment. She just moved out on him and wants to "cool it." But complications throw them together more than usual. Even for New Orleans, the case is unique—with way too many suspects and creepy things—ghosts, snakes, curses, not to mention the witches.
Maggie and Josh try to make sense of it all and resist finding consolation in each other's arms. Then Josh's ex-fiancee, a curvy blonde, arrives from Boston, making a touchy situation impossible.
But this killer won't wait for them to sort out their personal lives, and the situation spins out of control…
Maggie Answers Her Toughest Question:
Maggie York stood on the New Orleans' riverbank not far from Jackson Square and gazed across the quiet water. This morning was one of those dreaded moments in life. Most homicide cops disliked press conferences, but she hated them. In the back of her mind, the possibility lurked that a hotshot reporter would reveal her secret and ask a fatal question, such as—what is it like to come back from the dead and deal with ghosts?
What in the world would she say?
That it was terrifying? Oh, God, yes. When she woke up in the hospital and first saw them, she thought the sniper's bullet had done its job and she was in purgatory. Or maybe it was a hallucinatory nightmare. Once she was certain she was alive and awake, Maggie wavered between absolute denial and fear for her sanity.
Over the next several months, the frequency of ghostly appearances lessened, and Maggie discovered the human mind—or hers, at least—was incredibly adaptable. She developed a strange form of acceptance that ghostly images were part of her new reality but not quite believing it wasn't all in her head.
Then Bobby Hurst appeared—the spirit of a murder victim, more distinct and persistent than the others. And he seemed to want something from her. She tried to run away, and she ordered him to leave her alone. She even struck out with her fist when he got too close, recoiling as her hand went right through that frigid cold.
Eventually she realized he wanted her to solve his murder so that he could move on. He didn't try to harm her, in fact, warned her of danger a time or two. And his presence seemed to keep the other ghosts away. That was a good thing.
It wasn't easy, but Maggie and Hurt developed a primitive communication—somewhat like Charades on her part—and her new boyfriend Josh, another cop, offered a different perspective, to treat the ghosts as her own unique brand of confidential informants.
If pressed, Maggie still wasn't sure she believed in magic or ghosts, although she believed in something.
But then...Maggie watched the flight of a gull overhead…she wouldn't be forced to reveal any of that. Not today. Only three friends and a couple of quirky relatives (who mistakenly thought she was a witch) knew about her ghostly visitors.
Maggie straightened, shaking off the last vestiges of tension, and turned toward her car. A confident smile tugged at her lips. She would have heard if her secret had leaked. No one would be asking about ghosts. She lifted her chin, ready to face the microphones and cameras.
“Valerie Preston, age sixty-one,” said the older of the two patrol cops who’d found the body. He checked his palm-sized notebook. “Lived alone. Widow of real estate businessman, Clive Preston, who’s been dead five years or more. Neighbor last saw her yesterday afternoon about five bringing home groceries.” He put his notes in his shirt pocket. “Looks like the snake killed her.”
“Maybe.” Josh learned forward to inspect the bite marks, and a shock of dark hair fell over his forehead. Maggie’s attention drifted to his strong profile, the sculpted cheekbones, the full black lashes. He hadn’t shaved this morning, and she imagined the dark bristles scraping softly across her skin. Whoa, girl. Another example of why they needed to step back from their relationship. They’d grown too close, too intense, placing their on-the-job partnership at risk.
A week ago, Josh had played the alpha male, stepping into a situation she could have handled, and it had nearly gotten him killed. They’d argued for days, and yesterday—after living with him the past four months—she’d moved back to her own apartment. Ostensibly to think it over, reassess. But Maggie wasn’t sure what would happen to them next. In spite of their casual, matter-of-fact conversation since he’d picked her up at her apartment a half hour ago, raw tension simmered under the surface.
The tightening of Josh’s jaw muscle, as it did when he held back strong emotion, sharpened her focus back to the scene…where it belonged. He looked up at the two patrolmen. “Hard way to die. Who shot the snake?”
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Ally Shields grew up in the Midwest along the Mississippi River, still considers herself "a river rat," and currently resides near Des Moines. After a career in law and juvenile justice, she turned to full-time fiction writing in 2009. Her first urban fantasy, Awakening the Fire (Guardian Witch #1) was published in 2012, and she currently has twelve published novels. She loves to travel in the US and abroad and incorporates many of those settings into her books. Ms. Shields welcomes reader contact through her website and can frequently be found on Twitter.
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