Sunday Sampler: The Ex Who Saw a Ghost by Sally Berneathy

Ex Who Saw Ghost (Feb 16)

In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Caleb and Linda Pirtle is showcasing some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Sunday’s Sampler features an excerpt from The Ex Who Saw a Ghost, a great cozy mystery with a paranormal and romantic flair by Sally Berneathy.

As one reviewer said: I love the path that the author took with this book. Berneathy’s work is like a great combination of Criminal Minds and a romantic comedy. Enough darkness to keep the mystery interesting, but enough humor and romance to keep things from being too dark.

The Story

Five bodies in a well.

One of them is the brother of a police detective.

That man’s ghost is Charley’s new best friend.

Amanda is thrilled that Charley can see him. Perhaps this means her ex-husband’s ghost is on his way to the light, to a higher plane, to Oklahoma, to anywhere so long as it’s away from her.

But the new ghost isn’t leaving. He has an agenda, and it doesn’t involve finding his killer. Amanda, Charley, Jake, the medium Teresa, and the ghost’s brother Ross must hunt down his murderer before one of them is killed.

Charley’s not worried, but the others don’t have his immunity to death.

The Sampler

Sally Berneathy
Sally Berneathy

Amanda climbed determinedly up the stairs to her apartment on the second floor over her motorcycle repair shop. Jake held her left arm and walked beside her. Charley floated through the rail on the right side, his icy grip never leaving her elbow, his monologue rolling on incessantly.

“What do you think it means that I could see Parker? I must be doing something right. Hey! Don’t get so close to Jake! I’m right here. I can see you. That was pretty cool, being able to see another spirit. I’d like to talk to him, exchange stories. Tell Jake to take his hand off your arm!”

Early winter swept through the night and wrapped chilly air around them. Or maybe it was just a reflection of how Amanda felt inside…cold and dark.

The movie had been violent and bloody, the short walk to their cars silent and tense. She had probably experienced a more awkward occasion sometime during her life but it was hard to recall just when. Maybe the Halloween party she’d attended dressed as a hooker because her date failed to tell her it was a church social. Or the literature class when she’d had to give an oral book report after reading half the book. At least that had only lasted an hour. The current event lasted six hours and felt like sixty.

“I think your friend upset Ross,” Jake said.

Amanda flinched. “Yeah, that was obvious. He didn’t like hearing that his brother’s dead.”

“Dead men don’t answer phones and send text messages.”

“I could if I wanted to.” Charley’s tone was sullen.

“She really does see spirits of people who’ve died,” Amanda said. “She saw my grandfather.” And Charley. “Maybe Ross’ brother’s spirit somehow disconnected for a few minutes. Maybe he was doing meditation or something and his spirit left his body briefly.”

“Meditating in a bar? Ross really likes Teresa, but that whole thing about seeing ghosts may be a problem.”

Will it be a problem for you if I tell you I see my dead husband’s ghost? Amanda swallowed the question. This was only their third date. Too soon for confessions. I eat tortilla chips in bed, I have cold feet, I burp after my first Coke of the day, and my ex-husband’s ghost lives with me.

They reached the first landing, turned and started up the final steps to her front door.

What would she do when they got to the door? At the end of the evening of the first two dates, she’d invited Jake in for a glass of wine. They sat and talked then shared long, delicious good night kisses. But those evenings Charley had been across town with Teresa, held hostage by the connection she’d accidentally forged with him while trying to cross him to the other side.

Tonight Teresa was with Ross, and Charley was with Amanda.

She shivered.

Jake wrapped his arm around her waist. “That breeze is cold. I think we’re in for an early winter.”

“Tell him to take his hands off you right now,” Charley ordered. “If he doesn’t, I’m going to be forced to do something.”

What did Charley think he was going to do other than yell at her and make Jake shiver?

The three of them reached the top landing. Amanda took her keys from her purse.

Charley darted forward and stood in front of the door, arms outspread, attempting to block their entrance. “He’s not coming in here.”

Amanda stepped forward, reached through Charley and slid her key into the door then stopped. “It’s unlocked. I could swear I locked it when we left.”

Jake put his hands on her shoulders and moved her aside. “You did. I remember you doing it.” His deep voice had changed from warm and sensual to grim and dangerous. He slid a gun from inside his jacket. He was in full cop mode. “Stay back.”

Her breath caught in her throat. This wasn’t Highland Park where she grew up. This was near Harry Hines Boulevard, a mixed bag of residences and businesses like the noisy bar down the street that catered to a rough crowd.

“I’ll check the entire place while this dirt bag is wasting time playing Mr. Macho.” Charley disappeared through the door.

Maybe the intruder would have a special bullet that could slay a ghost. If silver killed werewolves, surely some kind of metal could kill a ghost. Did they make bullets out of pyrite, fool’s gold? That would be appropriate.

Jake eased the knob then kicked the door open. “Police!”

A high-pitched scream came from inside Amanda’s apartment.

Charley rushed back through the door, a horrified expression on his face.

What terrible creature could horrify a ghost?

 

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