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Unfinished Business

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Overview

Used furniture salesman, Doug Patterson, learns the hard way--it isn't the house that's haunted, but the furnishings inside. When he starts a business de-haunting customer's possessions, he also learns the dark secrets of his past can be deadly. Thrown into a race against time in order to save lives, Doug must battle paranormal forces that have unfinished business...
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Unfinished Business

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Overview

Used furniture salesman, Doug Patterson, learns the hard way--it isn't the house that's haunted, but the furnishings inside. When he starts a business de-haunting customer's possessions, he also learns the dark secrets of his past can be deadly. Thrown into a race against time in order to save lives, Doug must battle paranormal forces that have unfinished business...
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592799305
  • Publisher: Amber Quill Press, LLC
  • Publication date: 5/28/2003
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

"Timeless Furnishings," Doug answered, static tickling his ear through the phone. "Hello?"

"Yes. My name is Charmaine Sanders. I'm interested in selling some furniture…all of it, in fact."

Doug sat up and dropped his long legs from the counter. By God, he had a live one. Business had been slow lately; it always was this time of year. No one seemed interested in used furniture for Christmas. His regular customers came in to browse, but that's all they did.

He shoved aside a couple of "past due" utility bills and grabbed a pen and notepad. "How much is all?"

A heavy sigh crackled over the wires. "Everything in the house."

"What kind of furniture are we talking about, Ms. Sanders?"

"Old. But in very good condition. It's like your name…Timeless Furnishings?"

Doug's mind raced and he ran a hand through his dark curly hair. She'd said "old," and he'd learned the hard way, old was another word for "hard to sell," unless they were antiques. "I'll tell you what Ms. Sanders–"

"Please call me Charmaine."

"–Charmaine. I'd like to look at what you've got. What time is convenient for you?"

"Anytime, Mr. Patterson. I'm here all the time."

"Fine. How does seven o'clock tonight sound?"

"I'll see you then."

He took down the address while visions of dollar signs danced in his head. Maybe the poet was right; it was going to be a happy Christmas to all, starting tonight. It was only after he'd pocketed the slip of paper that his memory caught on something. He'd never told the woman his name, yet she'd clearly called him by it. Probably a referral from anothercustomer, he decided, and let the thought dead-end as the tiny bell above the shop's door signaled a patron.

* * * *

A stiff evening wind rocked the old Chevy on its haunches as Doug double-checked the address. The frigid temperature seemed to penetrate the car and seep into his bones. He'd thought thirty was much too young to be intolerant of winter weather, but right now Florida was looking pretty good.

Parked across the street, he sized up the Sander's residence while the car idled and heat pounded out warmth against the bitter cold. The old Victorian rested at the end of the block on a large lot that backed up to the woods behind it.

Forest-preserve trees marked the back of the Sanders' property where the only fence was a thick row of oaks.

The house itself was dark except for a bay window guarded by closed draperies, where slivers of gray light escaped its corners. More trees with crippled finger-like branches lined the narrow cement walk to the front door. Doug turned up his jacket collar and hurried along the walk. His nose hairs froze and his ungloved hands grew numb. He hoped Ms. Sanders would offer him something hot to drink, or something that would warm him just the same. "Coffee burns the tongue where brandy warms the soul," his grandfather used to say.

He rang the doorbell and waited. He couldn't hear anything but the roaring wind, and wondered if the bell had sounded in the house. The seconds dragged and he could no longer feel his ears. Finally, the thick wooden door pulled back enough for him to squeeze through. He still hadn't seen any sign of Charmaine and forced himself to peer around the door to see who'd opened it.

He made out a wisp of a woman, no taller than five feet, wearing a skirt and blouse, silk stockings and no shoes. She looked to Doug to be in her early seventies, although her brown hair was generously mixed with gray. It's the middle of winter, he wondered, where are her shoes?

Her smile dispelled his anxiety when she held out her hand. "Mr. Patterson, I presume?"

Copyright © 2003 by Scarlett Dean

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
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