South of Salem

South of Salem

4.0 6
by Janni Nell
     
 

My mother thinks my job is crazy. I'm a paranormal investigator; she's Nancy Reagan crossed with Martha Stewart. She's always preferred my sister, Lily, who is following in her perfect footsteps.

But this time Mom needs my special skills. She believes my stepfather is possessed. I admit he's not his usual dapper, charming self, but sleepwalking doesn't

Overview

My mother thinks my job is crazy. I'm a paranormal investigator; she's Nancy Reagan crossed with Martha Stewart. She's always preferred my sister, Lily, who is following in her perfect footsteps.

But this time Mom needs my special skills. She believes my stepfather is possessed. I admit he's not his usual dapper, charming self, but sleepwalking doesn't sound that weird. Until the sleepwalking spreads through the family and cousin Donna walks right out of her apartment window to her death. Then my sister goes missing and I have to find her and solve the mystery before Lily and her unborn child are harmed.

Normally I would have assistance, but my right hand, a hunky angel I've nicknamed Casper, has business of his own to take care of—business that might take him out of my life forever. The stakes are too high for me to lose, but I'm not sure I can do it alone...

66,000 words

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781426891670
Publisher:
Carina Press
Publication date:
05/30/2011
Series:
Allegra Fairweather Mystery
Sold by:
HARLEQUIN
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
457,785
File size:
305 KB

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Read an Excerpt


"Thank God you're here." Mom charged across the airport, ash-blond hair flying every which way, and hugged me in a death-grip that threatened to cut off my circulation. This was highly unusual behavior from a woman who prided herself on behaving with decorum at all times.

Clutching me to her breast like the desperate heroine of a soap opera, she whispered, "Steven seems to be—" She stopped abruptly as a group of tourists milled around us giving me time to reflect on the Steven in question.

My stepfather, Steven Richard Hampton, the thirty-second of that name, was a politician and pillar of the community. I tried and failed to imagine what he had done to send Mom rushing through the airport tossing aside her treasured principles of decorum and immaculate grooming like so many how-to-vote pamphlets after polling day.

When the tourist group had been herded away by their harassed leader, I asked, "What has Steven done?"

"Sshh—keep your voice down." Her mascara was smudged and lipstick had bled into the tiny lines near her mouth. "Steven hasn't done anything. He is p-o-s-s-e-s-s-e-d."

If spelling possessed was her way of keeping his condition secret, she needed some serious lessons in secrecy. "Mom, I think the other people in the airport can spell."

"Well of course they can, but I can't bring myself to say the word. It's obscene that Steven should be p-o-s-s—"

"Yeah, I get it."

"Can you help him?" Her bloodshot eyes pleaded with me.

"Hey, I'm a paranormal investigator. It's what I do."

"Keep your voice down. We don't want everyone to know your profession. Now we won't mention the P word again until we're in the car."

I asked innocently, "Which P word is that? Paranormal, possessed or profession?"

"All of them," she snapped and strode off toward the parking lot. When she realized I was lagging behind, she called over her shoulder, "Keep up, Allegra. What's wrong with you?" She's a petite woman like my sister, and she knew my long legs could out-stride her even when she was scurrying. I hurried to catch up. Soon we were in the car and she was telling me everything, speaking so fast I only caught half of what she said. "…he's p-o-s-s-e-s-s-e-d…become a…different person…hasn't washed…changed underwear…for days."

"It can't be that bad," I said.

Steven was the best-dressed man I knew. He was voted Sexiest Politician of the Decade. Okay, he didn't have much competition, but still.

Mom revved the car hard. "You'll see," she said darkly, and sped out of the lot. It was a miracle she didn't get a ticket on the way home.

After screeching down Mayflower Avenue and into her driveway, she risked a hernia pulling my suitcase out of the trunk. When I offered to carry it—let's face it, I'm bigger and stronger—she said, "No, I want you to assess Steven's condition immediately. I'll put this in your old room."

Meet the Author

After growing up in a beachside suburb of Sydney, Australia, Janni Nell traveled overseas, working in the UK before returning to Sydney, where she now lives with her family. When Janni isn't writing, you can find her line dancing or working in her vegetable garden.

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South of Salem 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
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ToReadPerchancetoDream More than 1 year ago
South of Salem is a paranormal mystery, the second in the Allegra Fairweather series. I did not read the first book, "Allegra Fairweather: Paranormal Investigator," but South of Salem reads just fine as a stand-alone book. Allegra is called home by her mother, who says her stepfather is possessed; he is sleepwalking. Things must be pretty bad because Allegra's mother does not like that she is a paranormal investigator! Allegra begins to investigate, but things get even more complicated when other members of her stepfather's family begin to sleepwalk and die. Allegra keeps managing to get into danger, but she can always count on her hunky guardian angel, Casper. South of Salem is a book full of fun. Allegra is a tenacious, fast-talking main character with an unseemly lust for her guardian angel. She has a turbulent relationship with her mother and sister that makes for a lot of laughter and empathizing. The paranormal parts of the book didn't read quite as spooky and scary as I would have liked. I just didn't feel the life-threatening tension I hope for when ghosts and such are around, even though lives were threatened. But I think Ms. Nell was going for a lighter tough with this mystery and it was enjoyable to read. *Disclaimer: This book was provided to me at no cost by the publisher. I am not required to post a positive review.