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Buried things have a bad habit of resurfacing, often when Josie least wants to deal with them. Nothing like a dead person to lend perspective to her miserable life.
When she signs on as a ghost tour guide in Gettysburg, Josie gets a fresh glimpse at the spirit world. Civil War soldier Nicholas Whitby is more real, and more attentive, than any living guy she knows.
Until Garrett joins the tour company. He warns her against Nick, who plans to destroy The Gate between worlds on Halloween.
Josie’s torn between the sweet Nick she knows, and the fear growing with each nasty encounter with Gettysburg’s ghosts. Just when she’s finally learned to feel comfortable in her tattooed skin, she must divine the truth. Will trusting a dead man unleash a legion of vicious spirits upon the earth?
Trick or treat never held such deadly consequences. Will Gettysburg become a ghost town for real?
Casting Call - Who would Cate cast as these characters? Find out here.
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Sue poked her head from behind the changing screen. “You look like you could use a drink.”
Josie joined her there and peeled away her wet outfit. “Yeah, definitely.”
Sue wriggled into her jeans. “A few of us are going out. Come with us.”
It had until they sat elbow to elbow in the booth at the bar at The Farnsworth Inn and talk turned to ghost sightings.
Josie gulped her beer. “Come on. You don’t really buy into all this, do you? I mean, it’s just a gimmick.” No point sharing too much too soon. She’d learned that lesson the hard way.
Sue shrugged. “In a certain house, I sometimes hear footsteps behind me. Or children laughing.”
Or crying – like now. Shush, a woman whispered. It’s probably Hattie with our papers. Josie knew exactly where it came from. The plaque by the tiny attic door in the center of the stairs explained to patrons that the Underground Railroad used to hide slaves in that cramped space. From the sound of it, a mother and daughter still waited. Still in terror of being discovered, poor things.
“Doors slam in one of my houses,” Terry said. “Or jam for no reason, then open without warning.”
Brett shifted in his seat. “I’ve seen a soldier in uniform, always near the same tree.”
In uniform? Josie sat straight. “Don’t you think it’s probably a reenactor playing a gag?”
“Reenactors don’t play gags,” Terry said. “They’re too serious about everything being accurate and getting the facts straight. I used to date one. He yelled at me for sewing on a button that looked too modern.”
Josie winced. “I met a guy like that. He keeps correcting my spiel, as if anyone else would know the difference.”
“What’d he look like?” Brett asked.
“Brown hair, wavy, to his collar. Brown eyes, thin and wiry. He must work out though, because he’s all muscle. And hot.” Josie couldn’t help but smile, thinking of him.
“Did you get his name?” Terry asked.
Josie snorted. “Said his name was Nicholas Whitby. Like the headstone on my cemetery stop.”
The other guides exchanged surprised glances.
“What?” she asked. “He’s nice, I know I should report him, but I kind of like having him follow my group. I want to ask him out one of these nights.”
Terry glanced at Brett. “Isn’t that—”
Brett jabbed an elbow into hers. “You talked to him?”
“Course,” Josie said. “That’s our gig, talking to people.”
They fell silent. Too serious.
A chill swept over her, then she laughed. “Very funny. I see what you’re doing, but forget it. You can’t spook me. He kissed me.”
Terry’s mouth gaped. “He actually kissed you?”
“The best kiss of my life. Believe me, he is absolutely flesh and blood.” After shelling out her share of cash for the pitcher of beer, Josie said good night. She headed toward the women’s rest room, but veered to the stairs instead. Halfway up, she stopped at the small attic door and knocked. Cold blasted her face.
“It’s Hattie,” she whispered. “It’s all right, you can go.”
“It’s finally time?” the woman asked. “Oh did you hear, baby girl? I told you.”
“Yes,” Josie slid the bar receipt under the door. “Here’s your paper. You’re safe now. Goodbye.”
The paper jerked from her grasp, tugged from the other side.
She waited until the cold dissipated, and couldn’t stop grinning as she left the bar and walked down the street to her car. Sometimes weirdness had its rewards.
And its downside. An inky shadow formed into the shape of a tall man with a flat, wide-brimmed hat. She gulped hard when a second Shadow Man coalesced behind it. Both moved toward her.
“Stay away from me.” Why had she parked so far from the bar? Her Jeep looked so far away.
Someone grabbed her arm and pulled her into a dark alley.
She yelped, her heart pounded until she saw it was him. She clutched his coat. “Where did you go? You left me.” And how did he dry his clothes so fast? Logic screamed at her it wasn’t possible, and her ghost-sensing hackles bristled. But how could he be a spirit, when solid flesh filled the sleeves she held? And his mouth…
He looked pleased at her distress. “I’m back now.”
No mistaking the oo baby tone, rapper-slick. So casual. Usually what she preferred – no strings. No questions. Somehow it felt wrong with him. “I’m beginning to feel like a hit and run victim.”
Except the Shadow People had disappeared. The second time they’d vanished when Nick appeared.