Ghost Moon (Bone Island Series #3) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Reclusive collector Cutter Merlin is seldom seen in Key West—lately, not at all. Officer Liam Beckett visits Merlin's curious house and discovers the gentleman in his study. In his death grip: a volume of occult lore and a reliquary. His eyes are wide with fright, his mouth a horrified rictus where spiders now dwell.

Kelsey Donovan returns to the old house to catalog her estranged grandfather's collection of artifacts and antiquities, vowing to see his treasures divested ...

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Ghost Moon (Bone Island Series #3)

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Overview

Reclusive collector Cutter Merlin is seldom seen in Key West—lately, not at all. Officer Liam Beckett visits Merlin's curious house and discovers the gentleman in his study. In his death grip: a volume of occult lore and a reliquary. His eyes are wide with fright, his mouth a horrified rictus where spiders now dwell.

Kelsey Donovan returns to the old house to catalog her estranged grandfather's collection of artifacts and antiquities, vowing to see his treasures divested properly. But she cannot ignore the sense that she's being watched, the reports of malevolent black figures, the pervasive smell of death.

Is the Merlin house haunted, even cursed? Liam knows well that some ghost stories are true and he swears to protect Kelsey. But there are forces at work for whom one more life is a pittance to pay for their deepest desire….

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426865381
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Series: Bone Island Series , #3
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 35,306
  • File size: 547 KB

Meet the Author

Heather Graham
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Graham has written more than one hundred novels, many of which have been featured by the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild. An avid scuba diver, ballroom dancer and mother of five, she still enjoys her south Florida home, but loves to travel as well, from locations such as Cairo, Egypt, to her own backyard, the Florida Keys. Reading, however, is the pastime she still loves best, and she is a member of many writing groups. She’s currently the vice president of the Horror Writers’ Association, and she’s also an active member of International Thriller Writers. She is very proud to be a Killerette in the Killer Thriller Band, along with many fellow novelists she greatly admires.
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Read an Excerpt

Kelsey Donovan was at home, working beneath the bright light above her drafting desk, when her phone rang. She answered it distractedly.

"Yes?"

"Kelsey? Is this Kelsey Donovan?"

It was odd, Kelsey thought later, that she didn't recognize Liam Beckett's voice the minute he called, but, then again, it had been a long, long time since she had heard it, and they'd both been basically children at the time.

His voice was low, deep, confident and well-cultured, with the tiniest hint of the South. Naturally—they were from the southernmost city in the United States, even if that city had never been completely typically Southern or typically anything at all. Key West was an olio of countries, times, and people, and accents came from across the globe.

And still…

"It's Liam."

"Liam Beckett?"

"Yes, Kelsey. Hello. I'm sorry to be calling you. Well, I'm not sorry to be calling you, I'm just sorry because of…the news I have to give you."

Her heart seemed to sink several inches down into her stomach.

"It's Cutter, isn't it?" she asked.

"I'm afraid so, Kelsey." He was quiet a minute. "I'm afraid he died a couple of days ago. We just found him."

A heart couldn't sink lower than into the stomach, could it? It seemed that the depths of her body burned with sorrow and regret. It was human, she tried to tell herself, to put off until tomorrow what should have been done today. She hadn't gone back.

Why in hell had she never gone back? She had meant to, she had promised Cutter Merlin, her only living relative, that she would do so. And yet…

Even after her father had passed away, there had been that dark, empty place that had made her afraid to do so.

"Kelsey? Are you there?"

"Yes, I'm here. I'm… Thank you. Thank you for calling me."

"Of course." He was silent, and then he cleared his throat awkwardly. "Well, there are matters, of course, that must be dealt with. The property is yours—and the decision on the final arrangements for his interment are yours as well, of course."

"Um…" She couldn't think. She didn't want to think. She didn't want to sit here and think of herself as being such a low and callous human being for not having gone back. Whatever had happened when she had been a teenager, she didn't think that it had been her grandfather's fault, no matter what her father had believed. And her father hadn't actually called Cutter evil, he had told her he was a good man. He hadn't even said that the house was evil. But there had been something. She had known that her father believed that her mother's death hadn't been an accident, and that he had taken Kelsey away from the house because he had wanted her away from Cutter Merlin.

But the man had been her grandfather, her flesh and blood! She had spoken with him on the phone after her father's death, and she had said that she would come out. But there had been the awful grief of losing her father, and then the flurry of work to learn to live with the fact that he was gone. And then…and then…

She had meant to go down to see him. She hadn't. And that's the way it was, and now he was gone, too, and she was a horrible human being. Liam had said that they had just found him, but…

He had been dead some time. He had died alone, and his body had just sat there alone in death, because he had been so alone in life.

"Kelsey?"

"I'm here."

"His attorney was Joe Richter. I'll text you the phone number and address. I suppose you can come here yourself, or make whatever arrangements you'd like with Joe."

"Sure. Thank you." She still felt numb—and filled with regret. She didn't like herself very much at the moment. She roused herself, though, curious as to why it was Liam who had called her.

"Um—how is it that you're calling?" she asked.

"I'm a cop these days," he told her. "And we've had a few shake-ups in the department lately, so… Anyway, old times, I suppose. When his mail carrier reported that he wasn't collecting his mail, I went to the house. I found him."

A cop. Of course, Liam was a cop. He'd wanted to solve every riddle, put together the pieces of any puzzle. Once, when a school lab rat had disappeared, he had discovered that Sam Henley had stolen the creature to take home; he'd pretended to find Sam's fingerprint on the rat cage, and Sam had quickly squealed—like a rat.

She closed her eyes. She was thinking about Liam. And Cutter was dead.

"Was it a heart attack?" she asked.

There seemed to be a little beat in time before he answered.

"Apparently. But his body is still with the M.E. Just procedure," he said.

But there had been something odd in his voice!

"Please go ahead and call Joe, Kelsey. Let him know what you'd like. Are you still drawing?"

The new question took a moment to comprehend. She was surprised that he remembered how she had loved drawing.

"I'm a cartoonist. I have a column, and we do a little animated thing on the web," she said. "I have an animator partner, and we're doing fairly well. Thanks for asking."

"That sounds great. Well…"

His voice trailed off. He was a cop. He was busy.

"Thank you again, Liam. I'm glad the news came from you."

"I'm sorry, Kelsey. Though I guess it's been a while since you'd seen Cutter."

"We had talked," she told him. Ah, yes, there were defensive tones to her words!

"Take care," he told her.

"Of course, thank you—you, too."

The phone went dead in her hands. She still didn't move for several minutes.

The room darkened around her. Only the bright light above her drafting table gave illumination to her apartment.

She liked where she lived. People often thought of the L.A. area as rather a hellhole of plastic people and traffic.

But Hollywood had neighborhoods. She didn't have to travel most of the time; she worked from home. She had great theater around her, and wonderful music venues. A decent, busy life in a place where there were actually local bars and coffee shops, where she knew the owners of the small restaurants near her and where, day by day, things were pleasant, good.

She didn't need to go back. She could call Joe Richter, and he could make any arrangements that might be necessary.

No, she couldn't. She owed Cutter the decency of arranging a funeral herself.

A beep notified her that Liam Beckett had sent her the text with Joe's information.

She would call him in the morning. She swiveled in her chair from the drafting board to her computer. And she keyed up the airlines, and made a reservation to reach Key West.

She was going home.

Once the reservation was made, she found herself thinking about her father. He'd been a good man. He'd loved her mother so much, and her, too. And he'd even loved Cutter Merlin, she thought. But when they had moved away, she had asked him why, and he had told her, "Because it isn't safe, kitten. Because it just isn't safe to be around Cutter, or that house, or…all that he has done. That man will never be safe, in life…or in death."

The call came when Liam was off duty, when he was down at O'Hara's having dinner—the special for the night, fish and chips.

His cousin David was frequently there, since David was about to marry Katie, Jamie O'Hara's niece, and the karaoke hostess at her uncle's bar. They'd all grown up together. Liam had stayed, while David had gone, until he'd returned recently. Sean, Katie's brother, had also spent many of his adult years working around the world. Like David, he'd gone into photography and then film.

There were others, friends of various ages, sexes, colors, shapes and sizes, who were local, and the locals came to O'Hara's with a standard frequency, though the place also catered to tourists—in Key West, tourism was just about the only industry.

The fish was fresh—caught that afternoon—and delicious, but he'd barely begun his meal, sympathizing with David about the problems inherent in planning a wedding when Jack Nissan called him from the station.

"I just got a call—something is going on over at the Merlin house. I know you cared about the old fellow and contacted his granddaughter. I thought that maybe you wanted to be the one to check it out," Jack told him. "If not, I'm sorry to have called."

"Who called, and what is the something going on?" Liam asked.

"Mrs. Shriver. She could see the place across the water from the wharf area. She said she saw lights, and knew that we'd found the old fellow dead. Should I just send someone on patrol to check it out?"

"No, Jack, thanks. I'll go on over," Liam told him.

"What is it?" David asked.

"A report of lights over at the Merlin house," Liam said.

"Want me to come with you?" David asked.

"No, it's all right. I'll be back. I'll see you later."

When he headed out to his car, Liam knew that he was being followed. He paused, turning around.

Bartholomew.

Not everyone saw Bartholomew, and frankly, he'd been among the last in their group to really see the pirate.

Bartholomew had died in the eighteen hundreds. First, Bartholomew had attached himself to Katie O'Hara.

Then, somehow, he had become Sean O'Hara's ghost, and now, with the world quiet—and, Liam assumed, because the others were all living basically normal lives and were romantically involved—Bartholomew had decided to haunt him.

It was quite sad, really. He'd listened to his cousin and the others talk about Bartholomew, but he might have actually believed that it was all part of a strange mass hallucination because of the danger they had been in.

But then, Bartholomew had decided that he needed to attach himself to Liam. It had been after the affair out on Haunt Island, when, his cousin David had assured him, the ghost had been instrumental in saving a number of lives.

At first, seeing a ghost was definitely disturbing. And as far as that went, he'd assumed you'd see some wisp of mist in the air—hear the rattle of chains—or the like. But seeing Bartholomew was like seeing any would-be contemporary costumed pirate in Key West.

The pirate—or privateer—had been a good man. He could be a fine conversationalist, and had certainly helped them all in times of great distress.

It was still unnerving to be followed about by a ghost few others could see, a man in an elegant brocade frock coat, ruffled shirt and waistcoat, and tricornered hat. Since it was Key West, with Fantasy Fest and Pirates in Paradise—not to mention Hemingway Days—it shouldn't have felt that odd to be followed about by anyone in any attire—or lack thereof. Though it was illegal to travel the streets nude, there were those whodid try it during Fantasy Fest, when body paint was the rage.

Katie O'Hara, was the one who had been born with the sixth sense, gift, curse or whatever one wanted to call it that allowed people to see what others did not. Liam didn't think that the rest of them had anything that remotely resembled Katie's gifts. But they had all survived events in which what wasn't at all ordinary had played a major part.

And they all knew there were forces in the world that weren't visible to the naked eye.

And he should have been accustomed to Bartholomew by now.

In life, Bartholomew had surely been a dashing and charming individual. Even in death, he was quite a character: intelligent and with a keen sense of justice.

"What?" Liam said, spinning around.

Bartholomew stopped short. "What do you mean, what? Cutter Merlin was found dead in a most unusual way, and, God knows, the place had its reputation. You just may need me."

"It's going to turn out to be kids, I'm willing to bet," Liam said. "Teenagers who know the man died and want to break into a haunted house."

Bartholomew shrugged. "I'm just along for the ride," he said. "I haven't seen it yet. The place sounds extremely unusual, and I'm fascinated."

Liam groaned. "All right, let's go."

Liam supposed it was natural that people—young and old—would find the Merlin house fascinating, and that it did make a great haunted house. Once, of course, it had been a beautiful grand dame, but time had done its work, and with Cutter Merlin being old and alone, it had taken on that aura of decay long before the gentleman had passed. Then, of course, there was the truth—he had been a collector of oddities, including human remains such as mummies and shrunken heads.

It was a little more than a mile down Duval and around Front Street and then down around the little peninsula to reach the Merlin house. Liam parked in the overgrown yard. He exited the car and stared at the place, but not even the porch light he had left on after Merlin's body had been removed was still shining. A burned-out bulb? Or was a prankster inside?

"That's one eerie residence," Bartholomew commented.

Liam shrugged and walked up the path to the porch. He tried the front door and found it unlocked. He knew that it had been locked and they had sealed up the entrance over the washer and dryer. Merlin's attorney, Joe Richter, had the only other set of keys.

He stepped in. Somehow, the house still seemed to have an aura of death about it.

He tried the light switch by the front door, but nothing happened. He turned on his flashlight, and the parlor was illuminated.

An odd whisper emanated through the house. In his mind's eye, Liam thought about the layout of the house. The front door faced south and Old Town, Key West. Cutter's library or office was to the left, and behind it was a workroom.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 155 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 157 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2012

    Great Read!

    From start to finish this series has been a page turner. The characters you quickly fall in love with and root for. I know that this is probably the last in the series but would love to see another that is how enjoyable it is.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    an exciting suspense thriller

    Key West Police Detective Liam Beckett visits old Cutter Merlin to see if the eccentric is okay. He finds Cutter dead with a spider web on him and a spider in his mouth; his face was that of someone frightened to death as the elderly man gripped the occult tome In Defense of Dark Magick and a reliquary and a little gold casket.

    Liam calls Cutter's granddaughter Kelsey Donovan informing her of Cutter's death. She returns from California to a place she prefers never to go; her childhood home. There her mother died in an accident and her father yanked her from this place he hated and feared. Kate plans to take care of her late grandfather's estate and leave soonest as the memories are haunting.

    The neighbors believe the Merlin house is actually haunted. There are also rumors of hidden treasure somewhere on the estate. Obviously someone believes in the latter cache as a killing occurs on the Donovan property as well as attempted murder. Detective Liam Beckett and Kelsey team up trying to catch a predator while also struggling with their attraction for each other.

    The third ghostly Bone Island romantic fantasy (see Ghost Night and Ghost Shadow) is an exciting suspense thriller. The taut story line grips the audience when the spider comes out of the mouth of Cutter and never slows down as a psychopath haunts the lead couple who wonder whether Cutter died from a self induced heart attack caused by his fear of bumps in the night or a homicidal human haunting his house. That wondering will keep readers up late.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Ghost moon delivers

    Once again The Bone Island storyline grips you and keeps you guessing to the very end. When all the ends are tied, releasing the friendly ghost that has been the catalyst for the 3 books to finally go towards the light after his mission is completed. The final character on this series finds his childhood love after she returns to her hometown. She was taken away by her dad to protect her, after her mom dies in a very suspicious way. The reason she returns is due to her Grandfather dying the same way as her mom. What will happen? Pick up this trilogy, it will not let you down.

    Review link: http://www.onceuponatwilight.com/2010/08/ghost-moon-arc-book-review.html

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2014

    Great Read

    I like all of Heather's books. They keep you interested and you don't want to put them down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2012

    Ghost Moon

    I love Heather Graham

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2012

    Awesomw and for kids

    Good series. But only for 10 and up can be scary at times (duh) so dont lets a pathetic little wimp read. He or she will be terrified. But is a very good book. So yeah...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2012

    Highly Recommended-real page turner!

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I thought it was better than most of her books and it kept me turning the page.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2012

    Faith

    Here

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2011

    fun read

    entertaining with a surprise ending

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  • Posted May 12, 2011

    Better than #2

    This was better than the second in the series. Still seemed rushed in some areas and i was extremely frustrated that the characters could not find anything out of place when the murderer invaded the house, but otherwise i liked it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 9, 2011

    Great!

    I read a lot and reading this book gave me a change of pace with a different style and i loved it!

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  • Posted November 20, 2010

    okay read

    I have read most of Heather Graham's books and I have to say this series reads like she had to hit a book quota. I am not fond of it, though Ghost Moon is probably the best of the three. Just not her usual quality of work. Too much going on and then the ends needs to be rushed.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This book was OK.

    Years ago, I was a huge fan of Heather Graham's McKenzie series. I've read them and re-read them so many times! They are the only books of hers that I have read. However, I saw "Ghost Moon" at my local drug store and I had some time on my hands, so I thought, why not? This is the first book of Heather's that I have read outside of the McKenzie series. I realize that it's the last book in the series, but that's ok, because I don't intend to read the first two. While reading this book, I felt like the characters were very hollow. There was hardly any emotion coming off of the pages. While the story initially did grab my interest, mostly because I wanted to see Liam reunited with Kelsey, but even then there was very little emotion. The story flowed along very well, however, it was as though the main characters were going about their daily business and then Bam! they were having crazy wild sex. What about the romance? What about their feelings? I think Liam had one or two lines where he was thinking to himself how deeply he felt for Kelsey. I really wanted to see the scene where they discuss Kelsey not going back to California, but we didn't get to see that, either. I would have loved to read their proposal, but we got the aftermath instead of the storm. I didn't hate this story, because I would call it interesting and sweet. I think that Kelsey's character was very well-developed and it was great to read about her. I think that more could have been done with Liam, though. He seemed kind of weak and not really developed in his own story. We see more feelings coming from him for his regret over abandoning Cutter than we do for Kelsey. Overall, I would recommend reading this book, especially if you have already read the other two in the series. Otherwise, even though I think that there could have been more emotion coming from the characters, the author does a phenominal job at weaving an intriguing mystery related to actual history. I will definitely give some of Heather's other books a try!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 157 Customer Reviews

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