Part Two of the New Three-Part Godmothers Serial!
The best of friends, Toots, Ida, Mavis, and Sophie have been there for each other through thick and thin. Now Sophie needs the rest of the Godmothers to help her through something they’ve never faced before . . .
There are no secrets between best friends. At least, Teresa “Toots” Loudenberry has always believed that to be the case. In the decades since she, Sophie, Ida, and Mavis met in Catholic school, they’ve shared all the joys and hardships of their colorful, extraordinary adventures. But right now, Toots can tell that Sophie is hiding something.
Sophie wishes she could confide in Toots. But she can’t reveal her hunch about her home’s history and the unhappiness that still seems to linger there. There’s too much at stake, including the safety of Toots’ daughter Abby and her twin girls. But though Toots, Ida, and Mavis are all entering new phases in their lives—and love lives—they won’t let Sophie face this challenge on her own . . .
Praise for Fern Michaels and The Godmothers Series
“Pure recession-proof fun.” —Publishers Weekly
“Michaels’ engaging version of the Golden Girls.” —Booklist
“Grab some tissues as you read the latest installment of the outstanding Godmothers series, which contains an abundance of poignancy, wit, charm and laugh-out-loud moments. Reading Michaels is always a rewarding experience.” —RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars on Classified
“The camaraderie of the four friends remains very powerful in the latest Godmothers contemporary . . . Fans will enjoy Breaking News.” —Midwest Book Reviews
“A tale of intrigue, excitement, and friendship . . . This novel will satisfy your taste for thrill while reinforcing the value of keeping good company in hard times.” —The Charleston Mercury on Late Edition
“This is a perfect book to take with you and sit and laugh at the beach. It’s just fun.” —Louisville Kentucky Courier-Journal on The Scoop
About the Author
Hometown:Summerville, South Carolina
Place of Birth:Hastings, Pennsylvania
Read an Excerpt
By FERN MICHAELS
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2017 Fern Michaels
All rights reserved.
"You're serious?" Toots asked. "You won't tell me?"
Sophie drained the last of her coffee, then walked over to the sink. She rinsed out her cup, placing it in the dishwasher. "It's not that I don't want to tell you, Toots. I can't. I don't feel right about this, and you know what happens when I have one of my feelings and I don't listen."
True, Toots thought. Her friend Sophie's intuition, gut instinct, psychic abilities, whatever she currently sensed, must be acknowledged and taken very seriously. Sophie was always spot-on, and as much as she didn't want to acquiesce, she didn't really have a choice. Frustrated, Toots glanced at Sophie, then rested her gaze on Sophie's husband, Goebel. "Has she told you about any of this?"
"No, and I am as curious as you are. I know it has something to do with this house; though what, I can't say. I can tell you this. I did contact the great-great nephew of the original owner; he's some hotshot financial guru. He's out of the country right now, but I e-mailed him in hopes that he will have some background on this old place. It was in his family for more years than I can count. Maybe he knows about something that might've happened in this house." He looked at Sophie. "Something she knows and doesn't feel it's safe for the rest of us to know." Goebel was only guessing, but he knew his wife. She rarely kept things to herself when it came to her psychic abilities. She wanted to help others, to share her experiences, to offer comfort to those who sought out her services. Sophie was a giver, despite the hard-ass exterior she displayed to the world. "I'm surprised you don't know anything about the property. You owned it yourself for years. As much as you enjoy decorating, learning the histories of all the antiques you've bought, I would have thought you of all people would know if something ... bad happened in this house."
Goebel was right, Toots thought. And normally she would, but she'd purchased this house when she and her friends were in California and had been so occupied with running the Informer and trying to keep her daughter, Abby, from discovering that she was the new owner of the newspaper, that she hadn't thought too much about the history of the old house when she'd purchased it. Now, she wished she had taken the time to hire a professional to research that history, though she knew this wasn't as hard as she was making it. The historical society would know, and she was a member. Indeed, her own home was on the national historical register, too. She was sure all she needed to do was make a few phone calls and she could find out anything she wanted about the house's past. Though she wasn't sure if she should. If Sophie refused to divulge her fears, then Toots might want to listen to her and stay out of it.
"What?" Sophie asked Toots. "I know you and that evil mind of yours. Go on, spit it out."
Taking another deep breath, Toots nodded. She would not deceive Sophie, not now. For once, she was truly going to listen to her and stay out of things until she was told otherwise. "I never bothered researching the history when I bought the place. I was thinking I could call the historical society, and they might know what, if anything, untoward happened in this house. But then I changed my mind. That's all."
"You're sure?" Sophie asked.
Toots had to resist the urge to cross her fingers, but she remembered her twin grandchildren and kept both hands splayed out on the table in front of her just in case she was tempted. "One hundred percent."
Sophie gave her the eagle eye.
"I swear I won't call anyone or do anything that would put Jonathan or Amy, or any of us, in harm's way. I'll leave the ghost stuff to the pros."
"Well, then it's settled. You won't do anything until I say it's clear. Tell Abby ... tell her — shit, I hate to lie to her, but right now I think it's for her and the twins' protection. Tell her we found a ... a carbon monoxide leak in the house. Yes! I'll tell her that's why I acted so strange — I'd breathed in too much carbon monoxide, and it affected my thinking. I can say I just found out the day she brought the twins over. It will at least keep her away, plus it will give me time to, uh, work on the problem." Sophie didn't dare voice what she knew. Not yet.
"I don't like lying to Abby," Toots stated.
"Oh for Pete's sakes! You lied to her for years about owning the Informer! Why in the world would you even question telling an itty-bitty lie that's for her safety and the safety of her children?"
Goebel laughed. "She does have a point, Toots."
"So, are you going to tell her, or do you want me to tell her?" Sophie demanded. "We need to do this as soon as possible so we can put her worries aside and get on with ... with whatever it is I need to do."
Toots pondered the question. It was probably best if she let Sophie handle things. "You tell her. Go to her house today. Explain that you were ... embarrassed or something. Tell her you felt like an idiot for not having the old place checked for carbon monoxide leaks before moving in. Make it sound sincere and grovel a bit. Abby always gives in when groveling is involved. At least that's what Chris has told me. I've never seen it from her personally, but as her husband, he knows a side of her that we don't. I hope that he does not see it too often."
"I can't see Chris groveling for any reason, but if you think this will get me off the hook, then I'm willing to do whatever is necessary to keep her and those babies out of this house."
"And what about the rest of us?" Toots asked. "Should we stay away, too?"
"Yes, I think it's best that you and the gang stay put until I think it's safe. Tell the others the same story. I was always told when you have to lie, to keep it simple, so tell them I was stupid and simply neglected to have the place checked out. Ida won't have any trouble believing you. She lives for any opportunity to throw me under the bus. This will make her day. Now, I have to go to Abby's, and you, my dearest and oldest friend, have to make damned sure no one comes over here. Can you do that?"
Toots shot her an icy look, but nodded. "Yes, yes, I can keep everyone at bay, though I would really like to tell them you have syphilis of the face, but they won't believe me."
They all laughed, but beneath their laughter were ominous and foreboding undertones. They went their separate ways with thoughts that were too dark to share.CHAPTER 2
Tuesday, September 6, 1955
Bishop Verot Catholic School
Teresa waited for Sophia at the entrance to the lunchroom as promised. Since it was her first day at a new school, and Sophia was the only one to show her any kindness earlier in the day, she figured it was worth waiting. Yeasty bread scented the air, reminding her of the lone piece of toast she'd had for breakfast. Her stomach grumbled, and she looked around to make sure no one heard. She would just die. The students would think she came from a poor family and didn't get enough to eat. But, really, she thought to herself, why did she even care?
"Hey, Red, I was hopin' to find you here," Sophia called out in a voice so loud that the entire cafeteria went silent for a split second.
"Yeah, I waited," was all she could come up with.
"Then let's go see what crap the nuns cooked up today. For the record, the food ain't all that bad here. Beats the hell out of the shit they serve in the public schools. Or at least that's what I heard."
Teresa wanted to ask her where and from whom she'd heard this but decided it didn't matter. What mattered was they were about to be fed.
"You got a lunch ticket, I presume?" Sophie asked as they entered the cafeteria.
"Uh, sure. My mom prepaid for the entire year." God, she sounded stupid! She was sure it was not cool to pay for a year's lunch in advance.
"That's good. Bring your lunch when you don't like what's on the menu, then you can sell your lunch ticket to the highest bidder for cigarette money." Sophie stopped and looked over her shoulder. In a none-too-quiet voice she asked, "You do smoke, right?"
Feeling her face turn as red as the Jell-O being served, she gave a quick nod and prayed Sophia would forget this one-sided conversation.
They each took a pale green plastic tray from a large stack at the beginning of the lunch line. Forks, knives, and spoons were in metal bins next to the napkins. Teresa carefully chose a clean set of flatware and took two napkins even though there was a handwritten sign taped to the napkin holder that read Take Only One! She was messy and didn't care. Tomorrow, she would grab a few napkins from the house before she left.
"You breakin' rules already, I like that," Sophia said. "I do what I want, when I want. Screw 'em." Sophia laughed.
Teresa wanted to disappear, but no one else seemed to care that Sophia talked like a sailor, so she would go along with the others. Maybe Catholic school wasn't going to be that bad after all.
"Sophia, you will report to my office the moment the lunch bell rings." A tall woman dressed in a full nun's habit smacked Sophia on the knuckles with a wooden ruler as she held out her lunch card to be punched.
"For what?" Sophia challenged, and again, Teresa wanted to die right there on the spot. Maybe she would choke to death on the red Jell-O that'd just been placed on her tray.
The nun, whose name Teresa had yet to learn, took Sophia by the arm. "I can see you haven't changed much, young lady. That foul mouth of yours will land you in detention all year if you're not careful. We do not say 'screw 'em' in this school. Do you understand, Miss De Luca?"
"Okay, but what should I say instead of 'screw 'em,' Sister Mary Rose? Fu —"
"Don't you dare!" Teresa said before she could stop herself.
Sophia turned to look at her. She grinned. "For you, I won't, but still." She turned back to Sister Mary Rose. "What should I say instead? Is there another way to say 'screw 'em'?"
"You are holding up the line. Remember, my office, young lady. Now move along." The nun gritted her teeth before taking her hole punch in hand and reaching for Teresa's lunch ticket.
Teresa didn't know whether to follow this wild girl or if she should simply find some other plain, boring girls to have lunch with. She scanned the cafeteria and decided Sophia was her best bet.
They sat at the end of a long table in the back of the cafeteria. The orange plastic chairs looked new and out of place in the otherwise old lunchroom. Brick walls, which undoubtedly held secrets of sinners past, took up an entire side of the room, while across from it was another entire wall of windows with a view of the side of the church. Teresa wasn't sure if this was a good sign or not, but wouldn't worry about it just now. Sophia motioned for her to eat, and her stomach gave up a low growl as she picked up her fork.
"Eat," Sophia told her. "You sound hungry."
She laughed. "Yeah, I didn't have much for breakfast." For some reason she didn't have a problem admitting this to her new friend.
Lunch consisted of meat loaf, mashed potatoes with brown gravy, and mixed peas and carrots. Warm yeast rolls with a pat of butter on a little piece of white cardboard. Then, of course, there was the red Jell-O. Teresa thought the meat loaf much tastier than her mother's, but didn't say this out loud. She didn't want to seem weird or stupid. Her dad always told her it was best to keep one's mouth shut when you didn't really have anything to say, and that's what she was doing.
For the next five minutes, both girls ate heartily, drank their white milk, and kept their thoughts to themselves. When they finished they took their trays to the kitchen window, where they dumped what little was left on their plates into an industrial-sized gray garbage can, then placed their flatware in a large tub of soapy water. Then Sophia motioned for Teresa to follow her outside.
Not sure this was a good idea, Teresa spoke up. "Aren't you supposed to go see the Sister after lunch?"
Sophia stared at her as though she had two heads. "Are you kiddin' me? Tell me you ain't serious? Hell no, I am not going to see Miss Virgin Mary Rose!" She pulled a pack of Camel unfiltered cigarettes from the inside of her blouse, then removed a pack of matches from the inside of her shoe. Without looking to see if they were being watched, Sophia lit up and inhaled like this was something she did all the time. It had to be, Teresa thought, because she blew the smoke out of her nostrils just like some women did on television, only Sophia lacked the swanky, long cigarette holder many of those women used.
Sophia held the pack out to her. "You want one?"
"Uh, no ... not here. I will later." Hopefully, later would never come.
"Really? I don't see how you can be a smoker and not want to smoke after you eat. It's the best time for me. I don't give a shit where I'm at. When I wanna smoke, I'm gonna." She continued to hold the pack out to her.
What the hell, Teresa thought, she drank coffee like an adult, and she was in the seventh grade. She might as well take up smoking, too. "I hear ya," she said, trying to act as nonchalant as possible. She'd never put a cigarette in her hand, let alone in her mouth. If her mother found out she'd tried smoking, she would have a heart attack. "I think I'll have that cigarette now."
Sophia lightly shook the pack and took a cigarette between her full lips, and used the end of her own cigarette to light Teresa's. She took a drag, then passed it to her. Knowing that Sophia was watching her, Teresa held the cigarette between her middle and index fingers, brought it to her lips as she'd seen in the movies, then took a big puff. Before she knew what had hit her, she began to cough, her eyes watered like a garden hose, and the taste was about as bad as anything she could remember. Through all the hacking and coughing, she managed to keep her hold on the cigarette. Sophia grinned, but kept quiet. No way was she going to pass herself off as a serious smoker if she kept this up. Drawing in a shaky breath, she took another puff, though this time, she just held the smoke in her mouth rather than inhale. A couple seconds later, she blew the nasty smoke from her mouth in the shape of a nice, neat grayish white cyclone.
"Well done," Sophia said.
Teresa gave up a slight cough before nodding, then said in a gravelly voice, "Uh, thanks." She really didn't know why she was thanking her since this new habit was beyond disgusting. But no way was she going to voice her thoughts. She'd get used to the taste. Just like the coffee she consumed at Woolworth's. It was too bad she couldn't lace the cigarette with cream and sugar.
Leaning against the brick wall on the side of the building, Sophia motioned for her to look at a pair of girls lingering near the steps that led to a door that would take you to the main office. "Think those two are in deep shit or what?"
Teresa followed Sophia's gaze to the two. "They look like they're lost. I don't know about the deep ... shit part," she said.
"Let's go rescue 'em," Sophia instructed, not giving Teresa a chance to reply.
Teresa eyed the two girls as they walked across a small patch of grass, then a few feet down the sidewalk. One girl was short and a bit pudgy. Her hair was cut so short that if she hadn't been wearing the required skirt, Teresa would have thought her a boy. The other girl looked like a goddess. Her platinum blond hair was as straight as a ruler, her blue eyes the color of the sky. She was neither too tall nor too short, neither too heavy nor too thin.
They approached the girls, and Teresa could see that they were completely scared out of their minds.
Excerpted from Spirited Away by FERN MICHAELS. Copyright © 2017 Fern Michaels. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Sophie has made two key discoveries: a female ghost who first called to her in the new house she is sharing with her husband, and now a male ghost with evil intent. Unfortunately, as Sophie is determined to discover the why of the ghosts, she’s not totally certain that she wants to involve her friends, since everyone seems to be settling into new lives and loves, after years of personal tumult interrupted by new cases and causes. While Sophie is trying to sort out her own uninvited guests in her new home, she is unsettled and concerned that her investigations and questions are only stirring up the spirits, and perhaps spurring the evil one to action. With no real answer to hand, and her own reluctance to disturb the friends she has relied on for years, she takes some rather drastic measures. Toots, one of the more determined friend of the bunch knows that Sophie is hiding something big – and we see through repeated flashbacks to the ladies’ pasts, histories and relationships just how strong their bond is and how much better they are as a unit, even when solutions are more instinctual acts of luck and circumstances than pure planning. Still unfinished with new questions to answer, the strength of the bond between the women and their reliance on one another is highlighted, and actually takes precedence over Sophie’s investigation into the spirits in her house. With so many questions still unanswered, they underlying mystery thread is still in play, but a moment to connect with the ladies and give background on their history should play an important role in the final installment of this serial, coming at the end of the month. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
This is the second installment of the short stories following book #6 in the series. In all honesty, if I hadn't purchased the entire series prior to reading it, I wouldn't have read past book one. As with the other books, it rambles on and on about the same things over and over. It's as if the author just kept adding words to make the story longer. Not up to par. The story itself is getting ridiculous. Sophie, who recently discovered her psychic ability feels that she is better equipped to help with an evil possession than an experienced clergy. While all the godmothers believe that the evil entity can harm Abby and her infant twins, they will not confide in this 30-something woman and tell her why she needs to stay far away at the present time. Instead, they treat her like a child - lie and act in a ridiculous manner to keep her out of their houses. A mother will do most anything to protect her young so just tell her and quit treating her like a 3 yr old This short story also just ended abruptly. Now, in order to find out if this will ever end, you have to read the next short story - Getaway. Only 75 page of text and many of those are just a rehash of the earlier books. I cannot recommend this series. Very disappointing.
Fern Michaels is not up to par in this Godmothers series - short short stories and not relaxing to read - rambles on and on - will not complete series
Title: Spirited Away - The Godmothers Book 8 Author: Fern Michaels Publisher: Kensington Books Published: 5-9-2017 Pages: 98 Genre: Women's Fiction Sub-Genre: Sagas; Short Reads; Contemporary Fiction; Paranormal ISBN: 9781496712080 ASIN: B01KE3UBT2 Reviewed For NetGalley and Kensington Books Reviewer: DelAnne Rating: 4.25 Stars I was lucky enough to read all three books at one sitting. As for "Spirited Away" is the second of three parts of the whole book. The cost accumulation equals one full book in the Godmother Series. "Spirited Away" continues where "Hideaway" leaves off. Sophie has yet to explain the full background of her new home or the true danger to Toot's daughter and granddaughters. Still the friends stand together to face any adversity. Even when they do not know all the facts. Well worth the time and effort to read. Part 1 is "Hideaway" and the final part is "Getaway"