Serena knows her late uncle wasn’t crazy. So when she inherits his sprawling Carolina mansion and leaves the big city to restore both his home and his name, she uncovers a mystery that could cost much more than her sanity. As the house slowly reveals its dark secrets, and the extent of her peril becomes evident, she’ll settle for escaping with her life—if it isn’t already too late.
Excerpt for The Consuming
We woke to screaming. My screaming. The woman—Gretchen, I guessed from my uncle’s journals—was back. She’d been in my nightmare, but now she stood by the bedside. She held out a hand toward me, a plea in the sunken hollow of her eyes. Devon scooted back, pulling me against him. I felt his body shaking and his breathing came in gasps. He saw her too! I wasn’t crazy. The apparition disappeared.
We held each other for a few minutes before Devon got up, pretending a casual manner as he began getting dressed. “Let’s go get some breakfast.”
“What? Aren’t we even going to talk about it?” I was incredulous.
“Talk about what? Nothing happened. You had a bad dream and woke me up.” He pulled up his pants, zipped them, and reached for his shirt. I sat there numb. “Come on, get dressed. The fresh air will do you good. Do us both some good.” He held my shorts and t–shirt out to me, but made no eye contact. When I didn’t take them, he dropped them on the bed beside me.
“Devon. I know you saw her. I could tell you saw her. Please …” I pleaded with him.
“No. It was just the power of suggestion, Serena. With all the rumors, the lack of sleep, just everything got all mixed up. There was nothing there.” He sat on the bed to tie his shoes.
I dressed and made my way to the kitchen. I started the coffee. “Aren’t you coming with me?” Devon had followed me and held keys in his hand.
I shook my head. “No. I’m going to get started going through the bedrooms upstairs. You can bring me back something, though.” I paused. “If you’re coming back.”
“Of course I’m coming back, but I don’t think you should stay here right now by yourself.” Worry clouded his eyes.
“Why? If there’s nothing here to be afraid of, then there’s no reason for me not to stay. Right?” When he said nothing, I raised my voice, “Oh. I get it. You think I’m crazy. Just like Uncle Fred.” I slammed the cabinet door. “Well, I’m not crazy! And neither was he!” The look Devon gave me was a mix of fear and pity. “Just get out.”
I left the kitchen and started up the stairs, determined to figure out what had happened to Uncle Frederick, one room at a time. I didn’t want anyone to pity him or think him crazy. I knew he wasn’t. He was haunted.
Just before the door slammed shut, I heard Devon call out, “I’ll be back with breakfast.”
After just a few minutes in one of the upstairs bedrooms, my clothes were filthy. Dust was everywhere and I disturbed it with each drawer I opened and object I moved. Bent over a trunk, I startled when my cell phone rang. Beth’s number showed on the screen. The interference had been so bad; I hadn’t been able to talk to her in a few days. It didn’t matter which of us called the other, we usually only heard static.
“Hi Beth. I hope—”
“Serena! Get out that house now!” Beth shrieked.
The terror in her voice had my feet moving before my brain even registered the words.
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