House bought for a steal online when it turns out there’s a damn good reason—check.
Malicious ghost with a body count to his name—check.
Sad, lingering female spirit pining for her still living (but currently dying) fiancé—check.
What’s a widowed medium to do when a departed soul asks to ride piggy back in her body?
To share her space and get under her skin? Juliet Bale does the only thing she can do—with her twin sister’s good counsel—she lets Lanie share her body to help her dying beloved Elijah cross over. The problem is that with all the reuniting, and sharing one body, things get seriously intimate and Juliet can’t help but see exactly why Elijah Rivers was so beloved.
It’s so wrong to sorta kinda fall for a dying man, and yet—check.
Excerpt from UNDER MY SKIN
By Sommer Marsden
It’s always in the attic, isn’t it? The Nancy Drew books taught me that. Various other old mystery movies and books and shows, too. I wasn’t sure if it was too much Murder She Wrote or just common sense, but in the morning, when my heart had stopped fibrillating from my late night visit with the man I could only assume to be the former owner of Montgomery House, I went into the attic.
“My attic, thank you very much!” I called out in case his energy had put that thought into my head. “I live here now. This is my home.”
Another twist of dark fear worked through me because it felt like the house was laughing at me. Mocking me.
“I’ve dealt with too many spirits—good, bad and ugly—for you to scare me,” I whispered, spotting an old trunk in the corner. “But trust me,” I sighed. “You take the prize for ugly.”
I snickered at my own joke, but then a lamp crashed to the unfinished wood plank floor, and I almost peed myself. I refused to acknowledge it, though. I just kept on course and stood before the trunk, blowing off about six inches of dust.
I found it amazing no one had opened the trunk while showing the house. No one had ever been tempted to—then I touched it, and my body recoiled. I felt sick and clammy and like I might throw up or die…maybe both. So this was why no one had disturbed it. It was like touching death and despair and chaos all at once. Even a layman, someone not sensitive to energy at all, could feel that. They might not recognize it for what it was, but they’d feel it and react.
“This must have been yours, then,” I said. I shut my eyes, took a few deep breaths and made myself go still inside. I pictured blazing white light all around me like I was wrapped in it, then I opened the trunk. My hands were still shaking, but I felt more in control.
Another murder mystery moment—the trunk was full. Stuffed to the gills with a man’s items. An old-fashioned shaving cup with the boar’s hairbrush, a straight razor. That made me shiver. A neatly folded pile of dark-colored trousers filled one corner. A pair of suspenders, a Bible, piles of papers that appeared to be about the house then what I’d been hoping for.
“Aha,” I sighed.
A book stuffed with newspaper clippings.
Loose women…whores…every last one.
I heard the terrible thought in my head and shut my eyes to surround myself with white light again. This guy was oily and evil and disgusting even after death. What the hell had he been like alive?
“Are you why this house has been empty and abandoned for over fifty years? Your residue is like oil smoke. Dark, dirty and intrusive.” I said it in my boldest voice but had to admit this particular sprit unnerved me.
I flipped open the book and rifled a bunch of news clippings from the fifties. The first one that caught my attention was from nineteen fifty nine. MAID OF RICH FAMILY SLAIN. POLICE HAVE NO LEADS. The pictured estate was my current home. It had happened here.
No leads, that was laughable. You only had to look as far as the owner of the house—my new house, Montgomery House—to spot the culprit.
“But you were either too tricky or threw enough money at the investigating detectives to avoid being fingered as the killer. You killed her. Because you thought she was a loose woman?” I asked aloud. More to myself than to him, but another lamp fell, and I grunted.
I had to stop talking to him; it was giving him power.
I scanned the article and finally spotted it. Chadwick Montgomery. That was his name. His father made his fortune in property, and he’d made more by investing it wisely. He looked stern and mean and just as startling in the picture as he had in my dream. Next to him stood a homely mousey woman quoted as being mistress of the house, Penelope Montgomery. Sad looking creature.
Below the brief article about the maid found dead in the garden “strangled and possibly assaulted”—their way of saying raped—was a picture of the victim. Annabel Smith. Tall, willowy, so pretty she appeared ethereal. It was a black and white picture, but in my mind I saw her with sharp blue eyes and dark auburn hair. Pretty girl. Nice girl. My internal image of her glowed showing me a good soul.
“Poor thing,” I sighed.
I heard a deep bonging and took a moment to place it—doorbell. “Saved by the bell.” I scurried out of the attic, escaping its cloying energy and hurried down to the foyer, still clutching the book.
I opened the door and something in me—something foreign to my own energy—twisted with sadness and leapt with joy, simultaneously. “Oh, hi…I wasn’t…I mean, I’m sorry, who are you?”
His smile was easy and friendly and though I found him attractive enough, I recognized the sudden urge to kiss him wasn’t mine.
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