Since I was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, it is one of my favorite states. I remember visiting the sights with my family, such as Seven Falls, Pikes Peak, the Garden of the Gods (where my uncle ‘balanced’ balanced rock (he put concrete around the base), and the Royal Gorge. So Colorado was a natural for the location of my most recent story, A Ride Through Time, a novella in the just released anthology, The Good, The Bad, and The Ghostly.
Ghosts. Murder. Love. P.S.I. Agent Burke Jameson traveled to Eagle Gulch, Colorado to investigate a report of ghost activity at a house where a murder had taken place in 1881. When his vehicle carrying his P.S.I. equipment dies, and a saddled but riderless mare appears, he mounts up so the horse can take him to her fallen rider. Instead, he is taken to a whole new life he could never have anticipated.
Clorinda Halstead believes she’s a widow. After all, she did shoot her husband, Horace, one violent night in 1881. He deserved it, the jury concluded. Living with the town marshal and his wife, all Clori wants is to be left alone. Then a stranger, Burke James, joins the household, and nothing is ever the same again.
How did Burke find his way through time to the year 1881, and who is haunting the lovely but distant Widow Halstead? Can Burke find the ghost of Eagle Gulch without his P.S.I.equipment? And how will he ever choose between going home to his own time and a life of love and happiness with Clorinda?
Burke’s gaze cut to the house and that eerie deja vu sensation washed over him again. Cold wafted around him like icy arms. He shivered.
Likely scared off the mare with his unprecedented howl at the moon. Nothing more.
Didn’t matter anyway.
What counted was doing his job.
He drew in a deep breath and smelled smoke.
Gray plumes curled up from the chimney, ghostly pale against the darkening sky. Someone must be inside. Why hadn’t he noticed the scent right away? And the faint candlelight behind the lace curtains? Burke prided himself on his powers of observation. Hadn’t done too well this time.
Whoever was here had likely come to check the house’s condition and do repairs. They had set a fire for warmth while they worked. Nothing spooky or dangerous about that. They must have parked in the back. He shook off the niggle of dread on his spine, stepped onto the wooden pallet that served as a porch, and raised his fist to knock.
Plain, unadorned wood.
Where was the plaque proclaiming the place a historic site? And the vinyl-protected display stand that related the Halstead story?
Had the historical society given up maintaining the property? That could explain the house’s poor condition—the peeling paint, the sagging porch roof—but not the missing deadbolt lock that had been there seventeen years ago. Who would ignore badly needed repairs, yet replace a perfectly fine door with one that had never seen a deadbolt?
Whatever was going on here, he’d get to the bottom of it. In fact, he couldn’t wait.
If only Gabe would arrive with the P.S.I. equipment. Burke’s instincts screamed paranormal, louder than ever. His nose itched with urgency. He looked at Spook. The Vizsla sniffed among the leaves; just a normal dog.
Lifting the cuff of his jacket, he checked his watch. Not an ordinary watch, but a specially fashioned piece of modern equipment that not only gave the time, date and weather but acted as a recorder as well. It contained an EDI meter, an Infrared thermal scanner, an EMF detector, and GPS. Right now, the detector showed red, indicating a disruption in the electronic field. That likely meant a ghost disrupting the frequency. The scanner also showed the temperature continued to drop.
So why had Spook's highly trained instincts gone offline?
Burke pressed the communication button and texted Gabe. While he waited for a reply, he walked the grounds searching for an injured man thrown from a horse. He found nothing and received no reply. Damn.
On his way back to the house he tried his phone again. Nothing. He would have blamed it on the multitude of trees that had surrounded the place, but they were gone.
He peered through an old, distorted glass pane, past the lace curtains. The furniture appeared much the same—what hadn’t been stolen before the historical society took possession. No sign of occupants but they could be in the kitchen or upstairs. Each floor had two rooms, the living area in the front, kitchen in back, and two bedrooms upstairs.
Flummoxed. Burke felt plain flummoxed.
Hell, where had he come up with that antiquated word? The house and its atmosphere were getting to him.
He glanced at the window again. A face—stark, shadowed, creepy as hell—looked back.
Charlene Raddon is an award-winning author of historical romance novels set in the American West. Her first books were published by Kensington Books in the 1990s, then released as eBooks by Tirgearr Publishing who also released two of her books in print. In 2016, she became self-published. She is currently working on a new novella. Charlene is also a book cover designer for Silver Sage Book Covers, specializing in historical covers.
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