Dark Passing Book Excerpt Plus Contest Reminder!

Dark Passing (The Ella Reynolds Series)

Mary Nelson’s murder shocked the small town of Jackson. The vibrant, young college student disappeared on her way home. A week later her body was found in the trunk of a burning car. No suspects. No evidence. No case.

Ella Reynolds’ life had finally turned around. With a new book released, the past safely tucked away, and a burgeoning romance, she begins to live again. Then a plea from a woman whose daughter’s murder remains unsolved ignites Ella’s curiosity—and drags her back into the dark world she fought so desperately to escape. \

Curiosity turns to obsession as Ella inches closer to the truth—and the murderer begins to claim new victims.

EXCERPT

 

You’re awfully quiet.” He took a casual sip of his water and studied me. “Did I completely freak you out?”

“No—and yes. I was watching the snow, not really thinking about anything, believe it or not.”

He looked out the window and watched winter dance through the air. “It’s peaceful, isn’t it?”

I nodded and finally perused the menu.

“Have you thought any more about selling the house?”

I decided on the chicken with balsamic glaze and root vegetables before answering. “Every day.”

“But you haven’t listed it.”

“Not yet.” Nor was I going to. For better or worse, that house had become home.

“Do you want to stay? Even with all the memories and everything that happened?”

“It’s been quiet, nothing too weird since I got back.” I didn’t feel the need to mention this afternoon, not yet. “I still get nervous any time someone’s at the door or the phone rings, but stuff like that I can deal with.”

“Ella, honestly, just get out of that house and move on with your life. What’s keeping you there?”

“Men.” I smiled at him sweetly, and the waitress came over to take our order. When she left, he cocked an eyebrow and waited for an explanation. “Danny loved that stupid house, Grant is still in that stupid house, and there’s you.”

“Setting aside the fact that you believe Grant is haunting you. How am I keeping you in the house?” The poor guy looked genuinely confused.

“If I sell, where would I go?” I shrugged. “Back to the city.”

A smile eased across his face. “You’re staying to give us a chance.”

“If you were normal, you wouldn’t want me, and my decision would be a lot less complicated.”

“I like a challenging woman.”

I shook my head. “So how was work?”

“Boring.”

“They still have you strapped to a desk?”

He gave a long-suffering sigh. “Yes.”

“How’s the arm?”

“It’s getting there.” He unconsciously flexed his fingers on the arm. It had taken multiple surgeries to get mobile again. “How was your day?”

“Fine. I had a visitor.”

He’d been about to take another drink; the glass paused halfway to his lips. “The living, breathing kind?”

Gabriel still had issues accepting that ghosts and Grant were real, but at least he didn’t tease me about it endlessly like Danny had. “Uh-huh.”

“Who was it? Is Mr. Sexton bothering you again?”

“No. He’s staying away. It was a woman who wants me to write a book about her daughter’s murder.”

Gabriel’s eyebrows knitted together. “She just showed up at your door.” His voice was flat, but the glint in his eyes made my stomach jump. “Jesus Christ, Ella. This is why you have to leave that damn house. I’m not saying leave Montgomery—I don’t want that—just get a place that’s not so identifiable as yours. You could have fans camping out in your yard or trying to break inside.”

I struggled not to roll my eyes. “You have greatly overestimated my fame.” I took a sip of water. “She said her daughter was a fan of mine, but I think she chose me because I’d understand.”

“Understand what?”

“What she’s going through. You should’ve seen her. It was like looking at myself in a mirror a year ago. The woman’s at the end of her rope.”

“What happened to her daughter?”

I gave him the rundown of what I knew, which wasn’t much.

He shook his head. “I heard about that case. It’s over in Jackson, about 60 miles west of here. It’s certainly strange, but it doesn’t concern you.”

“I know, but that doesn’t make it any less intriguing.”

Gabriel’s eyes narrowed. “You aren’t actually considering this?”

“I am.”

“No.” He shook his head emphatically. “You said yourself you’re in a good place right now. Why risk that, Ms. I-don’t-like-change?”

“She needs help. If you hadn’t helped me, I’d be dead right now. But you stayed and got me through the hardest time of my life. Maybe I could do the same for her.”

“It’s not your job to help her. Don’t get caught up in another murder, El.”

It was my turn to narrow my eyes. “So you only helped me because it was your job.”

“That was different.”

“It’s not different. I told her I’d think about it, and I will. I’m going to Jackson tomorrow to see if I can get a copy of the police file. Maybe something will click.”

Gabriel stared at the ceiling and took several deep breaths before he looked back at me with a small triumphant smile. “You can’t drive.”

As if I could be thwarted by such a small insignificant detail.

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