(Will someone please help me! I’m locked into this “–stravaganza” thing and I don’t know how to get out!)
Okay. First of all, thanks to everyone who’s entered the conest so far, I’m gotten such a lovely strong response! Remember, though, you can enter more than once! So keep tagging, listing, and blogging about the book–you get an entry (or whatever is specified) every time!
Second, I want to let you all know that the entire first chapter of this book is up on my website, here.
So here we have our first excerpt!
Megan is at dinner with Brian Stone, Hot Spot reporter, when an unwelcome guest turns up…
“Oh, I do love jokes.” Greyson Dante stood by her side.
“Hello, Mr. Dante. I’m afraid this is a private conversation, so you will, of course, be going now.”
His grin widened. Was there no way to insult the man? “Why, Dr. Chase, if I didn’t know better I’d think you didn’t want to see me.”
“What makes you think you know better?”
“I always do.”
Brian looked from one of them to the other. “Don’t you want to introduce me to your friend, Megan?”
Dante still stood there smiling, his wineglass in one hand, looking like Cary Grant on a luxurious cruise. She hadn’t been wrong in her first moonlight impression; he really was handsome, with dark hair and eyes and smooth, lightly tanned skin. She’d always liked dark-haired men, probably to contrast with her own blond paleness. Megan often thought she looked like a ghost. A dark man seemed to anchor her to earth, somehow, or perhaps it was just her obsessive childhood crush on Burt Reynolds.
Before she could disavow friendship with Dante and say no, Mr. Tall Dark Handsome and Annoying was shaking hands with the reporter.
“Dante. Greyson Dante.”
Brian smiled. “Mr. Dante, then. Sit down. I’d love to talk to some of Megan’s friends. Get some more personal information, you know?”
“I’d be glad to share what I know.” Greyson grabbed an empty chair from a nearby table—without asking the table’s occupants, Megan noticed—and pulled it to theirs.
“Which isn’t much,” she said under her breath.
Brian glanced at her. “What?”
Dante grinned. Megan wanted to stab him in the hand with her fork. Of course he was grinning. She couldn’t say anything to him. She couldn’t yell, or claim he was a crazy stranger, or be nasty to him. Brian was a reporter, a man with the power to make or break her reputation. Radio Counselor Can’t Remember Names of Casual One-Night Stands . . . Power-Mad Host Turns Her Back On Friends Now That She’s A Success . . . Fame Drives Radio Counselor Insane . . .
“And how do you two know each other?” Brian was either trying to figure out what was wrong between them or, innocently unaware, was just trying to make conversation. Megan hoped it was the latter. She opened her mouth to speak, but Greyson got there first.
“I’m a counselor, too. From out of state. We met at a conference last year.”
Megan would have bet her car that the closest Greyson ever came to counseling was recommending it for his clients in the hopes they would get larger damages in court.
If he was a lawyer. Which she had to admit she wasn’t certain about. It was just a feeling she had, but without being able to read him she couldn’t be sure.
“Our methods are very different,” Megan started, but Dante cut her off.
“But we both love helping people. I think ‘help’ is Dr. Chase’s favorite word.”
“And what’s yours? ‘Malpractice’?”
“Oh, no.” He folded his hands on the table and leaned forward. “Sin is my favorite word, Dr. Chase. Sin.”
His eyes caught hers, held. She leaned forward before she realized she was doing it, and sat back so quickly she knocked her knife onto the floor.
Dante tsked and picked it up, nodding to his pet waitress, who leapt to their table as if they were the only customers in the restaurant. Megan calmed herself and started studying the room, trying to avoid even looking at him.
Perhaps it was fallout from earlier, but the steak that had looked appetizing now made her throat close, and she made no move to use her new knife. She thought if someone made a loud noise she would jump right out of her skin, and it wasn’t just the tension of the last day or so catching up with her.
The men continued chatting, unaware of her lapse into silence. “Oh, Megan is highly respected,” Dante said. “She’s a real counselor’s counselor.”
A counselor’s counselor? Where was he getting that shit?
Trying to soothe her churning stomach, Megan reached for her Coke and took a long swallow.
Something hovered in the air over the right shoulder of the woman at the next table.
The shadowy form lacked definition but as Megan watched she caught a flash of what looked like dark green before the color disappeared. The shadow stayed, rippling at the edges but hovering in place.
The woman didn’t notice, but Megan stared transfixed. Blurry edges of darkness reached out and passed over the woman’s face, then slipped back into the semi-solid mass.
The image made her gorge rise, but she kept staring, unable to move or blink. If she looked away, would it disappear? Or would it move, leaping to one of the other diners, as if trying to gain entry to someone’s body? It felt so wrong, so . . . evil. Her skin prickled and itched.
While the woman laughed and ate her food, the blurry form twisted and darted around, staying in the same space but writhing as if trying to burst through some kind of membrane.
Megan’s stomach gave up the battle. She leapt from her chair, knocking it over in the process, and ran for the ladies’ room. She barely made it in time.
…come back next Wednesday for more!
***Pre-order the book from Amazon here!