I'm SO excited that Tea Leaves & Troubled Spirits will be out this month!
I hope you're super ready for Ava, Logan, Tabby, and the rest of the gang. Writing these books is one of my favorite things to do because the characters are so real to me. I feel like they live next door and I can bop over anytime and see what's going on with them.
Here is an excerpt to hold you over until the big day! (P.S. If you preorder from my store, you SAVE $1!) All buy links are after the excerpt.
TEA LEAVES & TROUBLE SPIRITS EXCERPT
“This is a new low, even for me.” I huddle in the corner, tightening my jacket. I wish I’d brought a heavier one. I should have known it would be cold, but I didn’t expect the tundra.
“It’s so exciting,” my young companion says. Lia’s black corkscrews are tamed under a head wrap. She fiddles with a machine she calls a ghost box, checking lights and dials. Her fingerless gloves were made by her grandmother, and a few reflective threads in the knitted flowers attached to the tops catch the soft glow from the exit sign over the door. While it’s a balmy August night outside, we’re dressed like it’s December. In North Dakota. “I can’t believe I’m ghost hunting in a morgue!”
“We’re not hunting anything.” Not technically. I do hope we can wrap this up quickly. Nothing better than being in a hospital morgue at midnight—said no psychic medium ever. “We’re hoping the earthbound spirit who’s been terrorizing the coroner and attendants makes an appearance. That’s all. Then I can cross him to the afterlife.”
The blanket we’re sitting on is spread out as if we’re on a picnic. The girl has an assortment of items placed on it. “You believe Dr. Ernestine about the hauntings?”
“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t.”
Lia pulls out her phone and taps the screen. “Can I get that on record for my vlog?”
Ophelia Chen works for me as my bookkeeper, an internship that is helpful to both of us. She is fascinated with the dead, and while I can see and hear them, I wish I couldn’t. “This is not going on your vlog, Lia.”
“But you said—”
“That I need help in case the ghost shows up.” I pat my bag of tools lying at my feet. “Remember what I told you to do if he appears?”
She deflates and says in a monotone voice, “Sprinkle a line of salt around him. Light the sage bundle. Keep the holy water and iron cross ready in case he tries to reanimate a corpse.”
“Stay out of the way.”
The poor medical examiner, Dr. Latimer, has turned gray overnight with the recent happenings in this room. I would too if a dead body sat up on the metal table while I was performing an autopsy and waved at me. Yes, according to Dr. Ernestine, who hired me for this gig, our ghost has the ability to inhabit a cadaver and make it move. Talk about a horror show. No wonder the head of the coroner’s office for a decade is considering early retirement. “If we’re successful, you can write up the basic details of the experience, okay? No names or specifics, but at least you’ll have a story.”
She recovers, looking hopeful. “Can I interview you?”
Keeping my mediumship skills under wraps is challenging, so broadcasting them to the world is definitely off the menu. “Absolutely not.”
Her shoulders sink and she casts her gaze to the floor. “The team will be so disappointed.”
Her “team” of ghost-hunting friends are a motley collection of kids who don’t fit the norm in our small southern town of Thornhollow. The four of them also make up the AV and math clubs at the high school. Lia pretended there were far more in each of her extra-curricular classes, but when Mrs. Cook, the teacher in charge of the interns, spoke with me, she filled me in on the limited and somewhat “unhealthy” dependency they have on each other. Her words, not mine. Mrs. Cook stressed that being employed by me could expand Lia’s social network, as well as her work experience.
Obviously, Mrs. Cook is unaware of my, ahem, abilities. “Your friends will be in awe of the fact you spent time in the morgue with a bunch of dead bodies.”
“True!” Snagging her handheld camcorder she’s tweaked to capture paranormal phenomena, she checks the battery. With infrared night vision, I wonder how long it took her to save up for it. “Ghosts typically manifest at night because they feed on our psychic energy while we’re sleeping, right?”
I refrain from rolling my eyes. “I’ve seen plenty of them during the day.”
“But that’s why we’re here now, because the odds are better to interact with this guy.”
“Dr. Latimer and the nightshift employees have witnessed his exploits around midnight when it happens. Stands to reason this is the optimum time to reach him.”
“Awesome.” She trades the camcorder for her headlight, snugging the adjustable straps tighter on her skull and looking like she’s about to enter a mine. She’s explained that this is for hands-free “hunting,” so she can grab her EMF device or recorder instantly. “It’s the place to be, then. A hot spot.”
Yet, we haven’t seen or heard a thing. I’m grateful it’s quiet from the standpoint that there isn’t a body waiting for an autopsy, nor any attendants to distract us. “It’s awfully cold for a hot spot.”
“And getting colder.” She points to another device that measures ambient room temperature and records video as well. “The FLIR shows we just dropped five degrees!”
Which is a sign of paranormal activity. Each of us scans the room. A series of metal doors line the wall across from us. I raise a hand to check if I feel air movement. “Did the AC kick on?”
The EMF’s lights go from green to red. Ghosts need a lot of energy to manifest, and the electromagnetic field is a by-product of that. Red is a whopping high amount. “Nope!” She’s giddy. “It must be him.”
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