(Lonesome Point, Texas #6)
Publication date: April 14th 2015
Genres: Adult, Suspense
Eight months ago, John Lawson lost his wife and best friend in a tragic accident on his family’s ranch. In the time since, he’s devoted himself to two things—taking care of his two newly motherless sons and proving that Lily’s accident was no accident. Now, he finally has hard evidence that his wife was murdered and he won’t rest until he has the killer’s blood on his hands. He doesn’t have time for anything but vengeance, especially not a crazy ghost hunter wanting to poke around the old spring on his family’s ranch.
Persephone Styles—Percy to her friends—learned about ghosts the hard way, when she was orphaned by a violent crime at the age of seven. Ever since, she’s seen spirits and been obsessed with studying souls beyond the grave. She’s in Lonesome Point to document the town’s spectral activity, but finds herself powerfully drawn to widower John Lawson and empathizing with his grieving children. For the first time in years, Percy is as riveted by the living as she’s always been by the dead and longs to be a part of John’s life.
But when one night of passion becomes something more, Percy realizes John is as haunted as she is and that the man she’s coming to love is walking a dangerous road that may end with him becoming a murderer’s next victim.
ROPES AND REVENGE EXCERPT:
“I’m not good with people,” Persephone said, holding his gaze for a long beat before she continued. “I don’t know what to say to help them feel better when they’re hurting, but sometimes I can help them by helping the people they loved. I know you don’t believe in ghosts, but I do and I care about them and I want to help them find peace. That’s all. I believe everyone deserves peace, don’t you?”
“I believe people don’t get what they deserve,” John said, his voice rough. “Now leave. Please.”
She had to leave before the earnest look on her beautiful face or the empathy shining in her eyes broke him and he started spilling his guts to a total stranger. This woman didn’t deserve to know that his wife was dead or that he still mourned her like it had happened yesterday, not seven months ago. She didn’t deserve to know that a weak, pathetic part of him almost wanted to believe in ghosts, just so he might have some hope of communicating with Lily, of being able to tell her how much he loved her one more time.
But that’s what people like this woman counted on.
“John, please,” Persephone whispered in her feather soft voice. “Let me help if I can.”
His stomach went sour. Persephone probably already knew that Lily had died last spring. She would have done her research before coming here to prey on his grief the way charlatans like her had preyed on the suffering for centuries. If he gave her another ten minutes, he had little doubt she would be offering to help him contact Lily on the other side.
For a fee, of course. A fee he was sure dozens of sad fools had paid her through the years, but he wasn’t going to be one of them.
“Get off my land,” he repeated in a firmer voice. “I have nothing to say to you and I don’t want, or need, your kind of help.”
Her thin shoulders slumped and a defeated expression tightened her delicate features. “All right. Well, I… I guess I should know better by now,” she mumbled as she turned to walk toward the four-wheeler.
“Know better than to try to scam people?”
She slid one leg over the four-wheeler before turning to face him, giving him a moment to register how out of place this elegant person looked on the dusty red machine before she spoke. “I should know better than to reach out to people like you, but I can’t help myself. I keep hoping…” She shook her head wistfully. “But I suppose I’ll grow out of that, sooner or later.”
She reached for the ignition. “Good luck, John. I hope things get better for you soon.”
John crossed his arms and watched her go, determined to keep his expression impassive. He didn’t want her to know how shitty the seemingly genuine concern in her voice made him feel. He didn’t want to think about being part of the reason someone stopped hoping to forge connections with people different than themselves.
Lily had been totally different than the girls he’d dated before her. Until he’d met his freckle-faced, sass-talking, no-bullshit wife, he’d dated women who took far better care of their outsides than their insides. He’d been a sucker for a pretty face and a nice rack and hadn’t looked too far beneath the surface.
And then he’d met Lily and learned what a difference a heart made. She had taught him how to love, pushed him out of his emotional comfort zone, and refused to settle for less than everything he had to give. He’d fought her at first—determined to hold her at the same distance he’d held other girls—but with a mixture of stubbornness, humor, and kisses that took his breath away, she’d worn him down until he was putty in her hands.
On the day they were married, he’d been certain he would never love anyone more than he loved her that afternoon. But their love had grown deeper and stronger with every passing year. By the time they celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary, John had felt like she was a part of him, so deeply ingrained in his heart and dear to his soul nothing could tear them apart.
But death had ripped her away and taken the best parts of him along with her.
“Jesus, Lily.” John bowed his head, his breath rushing out with a defeated sound. “See what an asshole I am without you?”
He waited, a pathetic part of him hoping he might hear her voice in his head again, the way he had Halloween night. But there was nothing but the sound of some critter digging in the ground on the far side of the stream, the gentle burble of water over stones from farther up the mountain, and Darcy snuffling as she sniffed the ground where Persephone Styles had stood a few moments before.
She’s married to the man of her dreams, and together they’re raising a few adorable, mischievous children in a cottage in the jungle. She grew up in rural Arkansas, spending summers running wild, being chewed by chiggers, and now appreciates her home in a chigger-free part of the world even more.
When she’s not writing, Jessie enjoys playing her dulcimer (badly), sewing the worlds ugliest quilts to give to her friends, going for bike rides with her house full of boys, and drifting in and out on the waves, feeling thankful for sun, surf, and lovely people to share them with.