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Unholy Bargain
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ISBN-10: 1-77115-239-7
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Supernatural/Horror/Suspense/Thriller
eBook Length: 222 Pages
Published: April 2015

From inside the flap

Winner of the 2016 Beverly Hills Book Award in the category of Horror.

An assassin is at work—one of the best in the trade. His body turned to dust long ago, but his spirit roams the Earth freely, undetectable to the five senses. He stalks his victims waiting for just the right opportunity. Then, in quick succession, he possesses a human host and strikes down his quarry. For a century and a half he has served this way.

Deputy Sheriff Nate Barrington is riding the crest of a new relationship. Kaitlyn Spencer is beautiful, altruistic, enlightened—everything he's not. She teaches classes in New Age philosophy at her growing school. Nate doesn't share her spirituality, but the physical passion hasn't subsided enough for him to care.

Nate's nirvana quickly unravels when Kaitlyn's life is threatened on two separate occasions. With no apparent motive or any evidence suggesting collusion, the police are stumped. Even more troubling to Nate, Kaitlyn is eventually convinced she is the target of unseen forces.

A hardheaded pragmatist, Nate isn't prone to believe that spirits can possess people. As far as he's concerned, Kaitlyn's claims of perpetrators possessed by a spirit assassin are on par with comic book stories and have nothing to do with reality, and her esoteric, New Age mumbo jumbo begins to drive a wedge into their relationship. And why Kaitlyn? What secret is she hiding?

Even with the sheriff's resources at Nate's disposal, the odds for Kaitlyn's survival are not in her favor. The true enemy is virtually invisible, and Nate's conventional police tactics have no effect on the spirit world. Strikes come from anytime, anywhere, and from random, unwittingly manipulated people. With their relationship buckling under the strain, they must pull together and join an unlikely ally if Kaitlyn is to remain alive.

Unholy Bargain (Excerpt)


Chapter One

The Journeyman watched her move through a stream of people: innocent children, respectable and chaste women, God-fearing men. People she didn't deserve to be among. Her reprehensibly revealing skirt stabbed his sense of decency. The thin fabric clung to her figure and rode well above the knees.

She stopped in the street and greeted another woman. Perhaps someone she knew. She fawned over the woman's child, traced her hand over his crown, said things he couldn't hear. Soon they hugged, parted, and again she worked her way through the crowd.

The Floridian sun hovered high above the palms keeping their shadows tucked away. People were dressed for the July heat. Men in colorful short-sleeve shirts, knee-length cargo shorts and sandals, some in khaki trousers and loafers. There were women in sundresses, frilly blouses, or Capri pants. Informal, yet within moral taste. Few, like her, dressed provocatively, aimed to entice the opposite sex. He swore her nipples were visible through her white muslin blouse. Already a man wearing blue jeans and a white T-shirt succumbed to her temptation, and redirected his aimless stroll to follow in her tow. He saw other men, good men albeit weak, sink their gazes to her backside when they thought she wasn't looking.

She may not see their eyes, but she knew. She wasn't stupid. Nothing about her was done without conscious design.

She threaded past the kiosks and outdoor cafes and finally entered the coffeehouse, where she would buy an organic Rooibos tea with a dash of cinnamon and mint. The man in white watched her through the window. Sweat formed a sheen on his face. He shifted his weight from one leg to the other and back again.

The proprietor came around the counter and spoke animatedly, tossing his hands about, nodding his head, then offered a quick embrace. When she opened her pocketbook, he waived her off with a laugh and a smile. At first she protested, rather weakly the Journeyman thought, but then graciously accepted the tea with another hug. She meandered about the cafe conversing with other patrons, casting about her vile sensuality with no hint of shame, touching a shoulder here and there.

If she hadn't reminded the Journeyman of the witch-the smile, the allure, the influence, the destruction-he wouldn't have cared. She'd be just another sinner racing to the gates of Hell. But like the witch, this woman taught magic and heresies, and corrupted vulnerable people searching for their way. It was as though the witch had returned to cast another shadow over his existence.

Palm fronds rustled in a fresh breeze and the sun disappeared behind the clouds. Rain was in the air. The man in white checked his watch and left. The Journeyman abruptly turned and quickened his step toward the chapel. By habit he silently recited scripture. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth for the sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (James 1:14-15)