Haunted (Women of the Otherworld Series #5)

Haunted (Women of the Otherworld Series #5)

by Kelley Armstrong

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553587081
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/31/2005
Series: Women of the Otherworld Series , #5
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 204,602
Product dimensions: 4.15(w) x 6.95(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Kelley Armstrong lives in rural Ontario with her husband, three children and far too many pets. She is the author of a new crime series, the Women of the Otherworld series and an upcoming young adult trilogy, The Darkest Power.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"Come on," Savannah whispered, tugging the young man's hand.

She climbed a wooden fence into the backyard of a narrow two-story house.

"Watch out for the roses," she said as his feet threatened to land in the border. "We gotta come this way or the old bugger next door will bitch about me having friends over when no one's home."

"Yeah," the boy said. "I get shit from my folks about that, too."

"Oh, Paige and Lucas don't care, as long as I clean up and don't have any monster parties. Well, they might care if they found out I was bringing a guy over. But if that old man sees me having friends over? He starts telling people that Paige and Lucas are crappy guardians, shit like that. Makes me want to--" She swallowed her next words and shrugged. "Tell him off or something."

I was less than a half-dozen paces behind, but they never turned around, never even peered over their shoulders. Sometimes that really pisses me off. Sure, all teenagers ignore their mothers. And, sure, Savannah had a good excuse, since I'd been dead for three years. Still, you'd think we'd have a deeper connection, that she'd somehow hear me, if only as a voice in her head that said "Don't listen to that girl" or "That boy's not worth the trouble." Never happened, though. In life, I'd been one of the most powerful women in the supernatural world, an Aspicio half-demon and witch master of the black arts. Now I was a third-rate ghost who couldn't even contact her own daughter. My afterlife sucked.

Savannah took the boy through the lean-to, dragged him away from Lucas's latest motorcycle restoration project and into the house. The back door swung shut in my face. I walked through it.

They shed their shoes, then climbed the small set of stairs from the landing to the kitchen. Savannah headed straight for the fridge and started grabbing sandwich fixings. I walked past them, through the dining room, into the living room, and settled into my favorite spot, a butter yellow leather armchair.

I'd done the right thing, sending Savannah to Paige. Quite possibly the smartest thing I'd ever done. Of course, if I'd been really smart, Savannah wouldn't have needed anyone to take her in. I wouldn't have been in such a hellfire rush to escape that compound, wouldn't have gotten myself killed, wouldn't have endangered my little girl--

Yes, I'd screwed up, but I was going to fix that now. I'd promised to look after my daughter, and I would . . . just as soon as I figured out how.

Savannah and her friend took their sandwiches into the dining room. I leaned forward to peer around the corner, just a quick check in case . . . In case what, Eve? In case she chokes on a pickle? I silenced the too-familiar inner voice and started to settle back into my chair when I noticed a third person in the dining room. In a chair pulled up to the front window sat a gray-haired woman, her head bent, shoulders racked with silent sobs.

Savannah brushed past the woman, and took a seat on the opposite side of the table. "Did you hear Ms. Lenke might not be back before the city finals? She'd better be. Callahan doesn't know the difference between a dead ball and a free ball."

The boy snorted. "I'd be surprised if that moron could tell a basketball from a football. At last week's practice . . ."

I tuned them out and focused on the woman. As I drew near, I could hear her muted sobs. I sighed and leaned against the dining room doorway.

"Look," I said. "Whatever happened to you, I'm sure it was bad, but you have to move on. Go into the light or click your heels three times or whatever. Get thee to the other side, ghost."

The woman didn't even look up. Only thing worse than a stubborn spirit is a rude one. I'd seen her here at least a dozen times since the kids had moved in, and not once had she so much as acknowledged my presence. Never spoke. Never left that chair. Never stopped crying. And I thought I had a lousy afterlife.

I softened my tone. "You have to get over it. You're wasting your time--"

She faded, and was gone. Really. Some people.

"Where's that new stereo you got?" the boy asked through a mouthful of multigrain bread.

"In my room." Savannah hesitated. "You wanna go up and see it?"

The boy jumped to his feet so fast his chair tumbled over backward. Savannah laughed and helped him right it. Then she grabbed his hand and led him to the stairs.

I stayed at the bottom.

A moment later, music rocked the rafters. Nothing I recognized. Dead three years, and I was already a pop-culture has-been. No, wait. I did recognize the song. "(Don't Fear) the Reaper" . . . but with a techno beat. Who the hell was this? Not Blue Oyster Cult, that's for sure. What kind of crap--? Oh God, I was turning into my mother. I'd avoided it all my life and now--

A man walked through the wall. Two inches taller than me. A decade older. Broad shoulders. Thickening middle. Thinning blond hair. Gorgeous bright blue eyes, which followed my gaze to the stairs.

"And what does our daughter desperately need your help with today?" he asked.

Kristof Nast's contribution to "our daughter" had been purely biological, having not entered her life until just days before the end of his. My choice, not his. After I'd become pregnant, I'd skedaddled. Took him thirteen years and a mortal blow to the head, but he'd finally caught up with me.

He cocked his head, listened to the music, and pulled a face. "Well, at least she's out of the boy-band stage. And it could be worse. Bryce went through heavy metal, then rap, then hip-hop, and at each phase I swore the next one couldn't be any worse, but he always found something--" Kristof stopped and waved a hand in front of my eyes.

"Come on, Eve," he said. "Savannah's taste may be questionable, but she doesn't require musical supervision."

"Shhh. Can you hear anything?"

He arched his brows. "Besides a badly tuned bass guitar and vocals worthy of a castrated stray cat?"
"She has a boy up there."

Another frown, deeper this time. "What kind of boy?"


"I meant what 'sort' of boy. This isn't the same one--" He closed his mouth with an audible click of his teeth, then launched into a voice I knew only too well, one I heard in my head when he wasn't around. "All right. Savannah has a boy in her room. She's fifteen. We both know they aren't up there on a study date. As for exactly what they're doing . . . is that really any of your business?"

"I'm not worried about sex, Kris. She's a smart girl. If she's ready--and I don't think she is--she'll take precautions. But what if he's ready? I barely know this guy. He could--"

"Force her to do something she doesn't want?" His laugh boomed through the foyer. "When's the last time anyone forced you to do something against your will? She's your daughter, Eve. First guy who puts a hand where she doesn't want it will be lucky if he doesn't lose it."

"I know, but--"

"What if they do turn that music down? Do you really want to hear what's going on?"

"Of course not. That's why I'm staying down here. I'm just making sure--"

"You can't make sure of anything. You're dead. That boy could pull a gun on her and there's not a damn thing you could do about it."

"I'm working on that!"

He sighed. "You've been working on it for three years. And you're no better off than when you started." He hesitated, then plowed forward. "You need to step back from it for a while. Take a break."

"And do what?"

"Well, funny you should ask. That's what I wanted to talk to you about. I happen to have a temp job lined up for you. Full of adventure, mystery, maybe even a little danger . . ."

"Just a little?"

He grinned. "Depends on how you play it."

I paused, then glanced up the stairs. "We'll talk about it later."

Kristof threw up his hands and disappeared into the wall. I plunked down onto the step. Savannah and I had a special bond he couldn't possibly understand . . . I only wish that were true. Kris had single-parented both his sons after his wife had left them while his youngest was still in diapers. Soon after we'd met, his secretary had paged him because Sean had been hit in the head during a baseball game. For barely more than a bump, he'd blown off an important dinner meeting to catch the next plane home. And that's when my opinion of him had begun the slow but steady shift that led to Savannah.

It had ended there, though. Once I'd realized I was a black witch carrying the bastard child of a Cabal sorcerer heir, I hadn't been dumb enough to stick around and see what his family thought. As for what Kristof thought of me taking our daughter away . . . well, I'd spent twelve years trying not to think about that. I knew I'd made a mistake, an error in judgment overshadowed only by that final error in judgment I'd made in the compound.

Yet for twelve years I'd been able to coast on my guilt trip, telling myself maybe Kristof hadn't really cared that I'd taken Savannah. Bullshit, of course. But not having him there to say otherwise had made it easier . . . until six months after my death, when I'd seen him fight for custody of her, and die trying to protect her.

Upstairs, the music ended. Savannah popped in another CD . . . or switched MP3s . . . or whatever music came on these days. The next song began, something slow, and definitely soft enough for me to hear giggles and murmurs.

Damn it, Kris was right. Following my daughter to the mall was one thing. Listening to her make out with a boy was wrong. And creepy. But now I was stuck here. If Kristof found out I'd left right after him, he'd know I'd seen his point, and I wasn't ready to admit that. Maybe--

A sharp oath burst from the living room. I took a cautious step toward the corner. In life, I would have strode over there, defensive spell at the ready. But here? Well, here things were different.

Kristof stepped from behind the sofa, picking what looked like cobwebs from his rumpled shirt. The back of his hair stuck straight up, as if someone had run a static-charged hand through it. His tie was shredded.

He gave a fierce wet-dog shake. When he finished, he was immaculate again . . . except for his tie, which was tucked into his shirt. I plucked it out and straightened it.

"Let me guess," I said. "Wrong turn . . . again?"

He gave a helpless shrug. "You know how I am with spells."


I glanced back at the stairs. A sigh floated down.

I turned back to Kris. "Want a lift?"


Chapter Two

Transportation is my afterlife specialty--my quest to help Savannah meant I spent a lot of time tracking down sources. In other areas of ghost activity, I'm not so good, though I didn't think the Fates needed to send me through that damned orientation course three times.

My afterlife world was a version of earth, with some weird subdimensions that we really tried to avoid. Everyone here was a supernatural, but not every supernatural was here. When I'd died, my first thought on waking had been "Great, now I finally find out what comes next." Well, actually that had been my second thought, after "Hmmm, I thought it would have been hotter." Yes, I'd escaped the fiery hell my mother and many others had prophesied for me, but in dying, I hadn't found out what comes next, only what came next for me. Was there fire and brimstone somewhere else? Were there halos and heavenly harps? I have no idea. I only know that where I am is better than where I expected to be, so I'm not complaining.

I dropped Kristof off on the courthouse steps. Yes, we have courts here. The Fates take care of all major disciplinary issues, but they let us handle disputes between ghosts. Hence the courts, where Kristof worked. Not that he'd practiced law in real life. The day he'd passed the bar exam, he'd gone into business with his family. But here he was, playing lawyer in the afterlife. Even Kris admitted this wasn't his first choice for a new career, but until they started a ghost world NHL franchise, he was stuck with it.

Speaking of jobs . . . Kristof was right. I needed a break. I'd known that for a while now, but couldn't bring myself to admit it. I knew Kris's "temp job" wouldn't be the kind of employment the Fates would approve of, but that was more incentive than obstacle.

That thought had no sooner left my mind than a bluish fog blew in and swirled around my leg.

"Hey, I was just--"

The fog sucked me into the ground.

The Searchers deposited me in the Fates' throne room, a white marble cavern with moving mosaics on the walls. The Fates are the guardians of the supernatural layers of the ghost world, and just about the only time they call us in is when we've screwed up. So as the floor began to turn, I braced myself. When it didn't turn fast enough, I twisted around to face the Fates myself. A pretty girl threaded yarn onto a spinning wheel. She looked no more than five or six years old, with bright violet eyes that matched her dress.

"Okay," I said. "What did I do?"

The girl smiled. "Isn't the question: What did I do now?"

I sighed, and in less time than it takes to blink, the girl morphed into a middle-aged version of herself, with long graying dark hair, and light-brown skin showing the first wrinkles and roughness of time.

"We have a problem, Eve."

"Look, I promised I wouldn't use the codes for excessive unauthorized travel. I never said--"

"This isn't about unauthorized travel."

I thought for a moment. "Visiting Adena Milan for spell-swapping? Hey, that was an honest mistake. No one told me she was on the blacklist."

The middle-aged Fate shook her head. "Admittedly, there might be some amusement to be had in making you recite the whole list of your infractions, but I'm afraid we don't have that much time. Eighteen months ago, you made a deal with us. If we returned Paige and Lucas to the living world, you'd owe us a favor."

"Oh . . . that."

Damn. When they hadn't mentioned it again, I'd hoped they'd forgotten. Like that's going to happen. The Fates can remember what Noah ate for breakfast on the morning of the flood.

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Haunted (Women of the Otherworld Series #5) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 279 reviews.
ConciseReviewsByMichelleL More than 1 year ago
I have loved all of the 5 books in this series so far. This is probably one of my favorites, next to any with Elena and Clay. Contrary to what some reviewers have said, I like the familiarity with the characters and I also like the growth and development of the characters. It feels like more loose ends get tied up to a point with Eve and Kristof. I enjoyed it. Thanks to consistent and believable "rules" in the world of her work, Kelly wrote a very believable, and enjoyable book. I do not believe what some people say, that you can skip this one. No way,there is way to much info, and fun, and plot twist to miss out. Its a must read in my honest opinion. In HAUNTED, Kelly Armstrong has given us all a gift, a truly touching story about a woman who recognizes life's precious moments for the miracle they are and learns to cherish them as she reaches emotional maturity just-- a little too late - in an afterlife that is anything but restful and boring. So don't miss out
MJ08 More than 1 year ago
Haunted I am a sophomore in high school and I'm writing this book review for a final project in English. I read Haunted because I have read other books in the Women of the Otherworld series and fell in love with them; Haunted is the fifth book in the series and is narrated by Eve Levine. In Haunted, by Kelley Armstrong, Eve lives in a supernatural afterlife and is called upon by the Fates to cash in a favor she promised them in the previous book. The Fates send her after a very dangerous demi-demon that has escaped a high security hell; teamed up with an angel, Trisel, she has to do whatever it takes to capture the demi-demon before it's too late, even if it means going to a dangerous hell demotion with supernatural killers. With help from her ex-boyfriend, also her daughter's father, Kristof Nast, she battles ghost pirates and lying werewolves, while trying to fix there somewhat broken relationship. She also gets help from a famous living necromancer, Jaime Vegas, to help interrogate the ghosts of murderers and serial killers in different afterlives. When the demi-demon finds out that Eve is after her she tries to hurt Eve in the most painful way possible, by going after her daughter. While Eve tries to stop the demi-demon she has to take over one of her daughter's guardians, and team up with the other one, all while trying not to raise any suspicions with her daughter. In her battle with the demi-demon she makes a very difficult decision that will changer her afterlife forever and may ruin her new found relationship with Kristof. This book explores the themes of heroism, good vs. evil, and love, but unlike most books about these themes they make the book very interesting and are not portrayed in a cheesy or cliché manor. If you like the Ghost Whisperer, supernatural books or shows, adventure books, Twilight, or Harry Potter, you will like this book a great deal. I give this book 5 stars because this book kept me on the edge of my seat almost the entire time, I laughed, cried, and even yelled at the book while reading this book simply because it is so easy to get engrossed in the story. I would recommend this book for anyone who likes book about adventure, ghosts, supernaturals, or any other Kelley Armstrong book. I would not recommend this book for children under 13 because of the sexual and gory moments, and some explicit language.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Okay the thing with this book it took me forever to get into it. The books before this and after this were like I couldn't put down. But this one not so much. YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK TO UNDERSTAND THE REST THOUGH! It a okay book. It wasn't like pulling teeth. I would read it again but maybe start in the middle this time. My sister LOVED this book more then the others so it all depends on what you like.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kelley Armstrong new addition to her women of the otherworld series is a hit. The characters continue to develop and the book keeps you guessing. I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes the previous additons of this series
Guest More than 1 year ago
In order to earn her wings, Eve has to stop a Nix, a demon that possesses her victims, then uses their body to commit murder. Eve at present is a ghost, a rather rebellious witch who was killed in Stolen, leaving her daughter, Savannah, with Paige (Dimestore Magic, Industrial Magic). Until she was offered this assignment, Eve was content to keep an eye on her child's very interesting life from afar. Now, things change, and to up the stakes, it looks as if the Nix might want to make Savannah, Paige, and Lucas her victims. There is nothing, not even Hell, that Eve won't face to save these three. Fortunately, she is not alone. With the help of a full blood angel with attitude and Savannah's father, Kristoff, Eve sets off on what seems like an impossible, at times, quest. ***** Through it, readers learn more about Eve and Kristoff; and trust me, Kris is much more than the bad guy he seemed to be when last we saw him. Ms. Armstrong is an excellent writer in all respects, but she does seem to have a special knack for creating memorable heroes. However, all her characters are three dimensional, with realistic, yet not fatal, flaws that don't mar their perfection, merely make them endearing. *****
teharhynn on LibraryThing 27 days ago
This book was good. It had been awhile since I¿ve read any Kelley Armstrong, and for some reason, when I started this one a while back I put it down about 150 pages in. When I picked it back up, it was really good. There was a lot of interesting things about the book, including a bit of Dante¿s ideas of hell. It was a good read.
hoosgracie on LibraryThing 27 days ago
Very good story in the Women of the Supernatural series. In this one we follow Eve in the afterworld on an assignment from the fates to catch a wayward spirit. This is one of the best in the series.
bookwormteri on LibraryThing 27 days ago
This is a weird premise for a book. A supernatural ghost (meaning a ghost who was a witch when alive) is "hired" by the fates to track down a demi-demon who is wreaking havoc in the living world. I have to admit that I haven't read any others in the series, so had to play catch up on the characters. I think I would have enjoyed this alot more if I already was immersed in the series. Not bad, but just a little odd.
CheriePie69 on LibraryThing 27 days ago
I didn't like this, Kelley's 5th novel in her Women of the Otherworld series, nearly as much as the first four. This book centers on Eve, and unlike previous stories, has little to do with any of the other characters I've grown to know and love.Eve is Savannah's mother, and a ghost in the afterlife. She's unsettled and is having a difficult time leaving her mortal life behind and embracing her new "afterlife" with Kristof Nash, Savannah's father whom we met in Dime Store Magic. Even though Eve cannot manifest to interact with Savannah, she still obsesses about a way to make that happen, despite Kris's attempts to convince her to move on.The afterlife contains various dimensions, with the one inhabited by Eve and Kris specifically for supernaturals. In many cases, these worlds are very much like the world of the living, though they're often stuck in the time of their heydey, think 1920's Chicago, etc. The Fates govern this particular dimension, and decide to send Eve on a quest to hunt and banish an evil demi-demon Nix who has been taking up residence in the bodies of various women and inducing them to kill for the last hundred years. The three previous seekers they've sent have all failed, in one way or another, and the Fates are hoping that Eve can succeed where they have failed. She's assigned an angel partner, Trsiel, who can bring the Nix to justice once Eve has found her, and Kris lends a hand as well.Eve's quest to find the Nix is the basic premise of the book, and thus very few characters from the previous book are here. Only Paige, Lucas, and Savannah come into play a little, but not nearly enough. Perhaps that's one of the greatest reasons I didn't enjoy this book as much as the others. Still, Kelley's a talented writer, and it was good to find out more about Eve and what makes her tick.
TheBooknerd on LibraryThing 27 days ago
I really like Eve's character, so I enjoyed this book even if the plot lost my interest from time to time. Plus, the interaction between Lucas and Eve-Wearing-Paige's-Body was fun.
SimonW11 on LibraryThing 27 days ago
This time the heroine is a ghost. The character a black witch who died in short story just prior to Stolen. is manouvoured into helping an angel track down a nix who has escaped hell to inspire various serial killers.A sympathetic view of a character who would freely admit to judging her actions according to whether they were expedient rather than whether they were moral. It is good while its on the mortal plane but the afterworld is unsuprisingly not very beleivable.
simmererdown on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I like Armstrong's illustration of 'the after-life'. The book lets readers learn more about Savanna's parents.
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I love it!!!!
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