Stage Fright

Stage Fright

by Gabrielle Holly

NOOK Book(eBook)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781781843468
Publisher: Totally Entwined Group Ltd
Publication date: 06/14/2013
Series: Ghost Encounters , #3
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 62
File size: 570 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Gabrielle Holly lives in the Midwest United States with her husband and two enormous, world—class—shedding dogs. She has worked as a freelance journalist, newspaper humour columnist, stand-up comic and morning radio show host. She has a short attention span and enjoys reading, cooking, crafting, hunting for antiques, attending live theatre, watching movies, spending time outdoors, and coercing her husband into being her "research assistant."

Read an Excerpt

The three ghost hunters stood on the downtown sidewalk watching the waning afternoon traffic. Bridget O'Malley and Mike Briggs huddled close to each other, and Toni Bianchi shifted from foot to foot to stay warm. The lampposts were decked out with wreaths and garlands, and fat snowflakes drifted down from the grey November sky.

Toni pulled her coat collar up around her ears and looked at the old movie theatre on the corner across the street. The marquee wrapped around the façade at a right angle. Removable letters spelled out 'For Sale' where movies and their stars were once announced. Rising thirty feet from the centre of the sign was the name of the theatre, its letters stacked one on top of the other, 'Bijou'. Hundreds of round bulbs and dozens of empty sockets hinted at what the place must have looked like in its prime. Toni could almost imagine the front of the building illuminated with chasing lights.

"It's cute, Mike," she said to her sometime real estate agent.

"Wait until you see what it looks like inside!" he said with his usual unbridled enthusiasm.

"So, it's in pretty good condition?" Toni asked, not bothering to hide her scepticism.

Mike shrugged. "Nothing that a little paint and spit polish can't fix. I've always wanted to own a theatre and this one was a steal."

"And haunted?" Bridget asked, stealing the words from Toni's mouth.

"Naturally, babe! Well, if you listen to the locals, it's more like 'cursed', but nothing we can't handle. Right, ladies?"

Bridget ran her fingers through her long, red hair. "I think I'll reserve judgement until we see exactly how haunted it is and how much this is really going to cost."

Toni nodded. She was relieved that she didn't have a financial interest in this adventure. Last year Mike had talked her into buying a very rundown—very haunted—ice cream parlour, sight unseen. She'd invested blood, sweat and tears into renovating that monstrosity. She'd also spent every penny of the proceeds from her previous investment—a very rundown, very haunted inn—on the restoration.

With the help of the Paranormal Research Team she'd managed to get the ice cream parlour up and running and rid it of its resident ghosts. The project had also brought Thomas Becker back into her life. She'd fallen hard for the handsome television ghost hunter when he and the team had come out to investigate the hauntings at the inn.

That chapter of their affair had ended badly. The sweet shop had given them a second chance, but now she feared the relationship was unravelling again. They'd invited a third person into their lives—and into their bed. Liam Greco owned the shop next door to the parlour and her attraction to him had been immediate and intense.

Under the spell of paranormal energy, the three had engaged in a mind-blowing ménage a trois—complete with ice cream and candy. The place between Toni's thighs tingled when she remembered Thomas binding her wrists with long strings of liquorice laces and Liam licking sweet, sticky chocolate sauce from her body. The encounter had left all three of them wanting more and they'd decided to have a go at making a life together.

Fantasising about living in a romantic triad and actually doing it had turned out to be two very different things. Toni's powers as a psychic medium and Liam's as a telepath only complicated matters. There were inherent problems with having a lover who could read your mind. Soon after starting the affair, jealousy had flared between the two men. Liam had told Toni he could tell that her feelings for Thomas were much stronger than her feelings for him, and Thomas had said the psychic connection between Toni and Liam made him feel like an outsider.

Neither of the men had touched her for weeks and when she fantasised, it was about being alone with Thomas. Nothing she could do could hide those feelings from Liam and she'd seen the changes in him as his resentment grew. For his part, Thomas became increasingly distannedt. He'd agreed to enter into the three-way relationship, but it had soon become clear to Toni that he'd only done so to make her happy. Toni felt caught in the middle and when Mike had told her about his theatre project, she'd jumped at the chance to get some distannedce. Thomas wouldn't be joining them. He was in the Twin Cities for a book signing and Toni was glad for the break. It would give her time to clear her head—and weigh her choices.

A tingle crawled up Toni's spine, bringing her back to the here and now. It was the unmistakable feeling that somaeone was behind her. She looked over her shoulder to find a woman stannedding on the sidewalk a few feet away with a camera to her face. The woman wore a sleeveless sundress with a fitted bodice and a skirt that flared out over yards of crinoline. She seemed oblivious to the snow falling around her. Toni's gaze travelled downwards over bare legs. Bobby socks and saddle shoes.

Ghost. Toni thought, concluding that she was sharing the sidewalk with a spirit and not a living, breathing person. The spectre brought down her camera and stared right through Toni. Toni nodded at her and when the woman didn't react, she concluded that it was a residual haunting—leftover energy from a past event that mindlessly played itself on an endless loop. By the looks of it, the photographer had originally strolled this street sometime in the 1950s.

She didn't bother to ask Mike and Bridget if they'd seen the phantom. She knew they wouldn't be able to. They were stannedding beneath the lamppost, waiting for the traffic light to change. The ghost cocked her head to one side as if planning her next shot then walked towardss the corner. When she passed through Toni's body, it took her breath away. Toni watched as the spirit paused at the kerb, looked both ways, then crossed the street. Two cars drove through her without making so much as a ripple in the image. The ghost stood in front of the theatre for a moment, then snapped some shots looking straight up at the soaring Bijou sign from below. She crossed the side street and took pictures from that angle, then moved up the block, pausing frequently to bring her camera back up to her face. At one point she stopped and waved at some long-gone acquaintannedce.

A tug at her coat sleeve caused Toni to glance away from the residual. "Light's green, Bianchi," Mike said. As they crossed, Toni searched the shadows of the side street, but the ghostly photographer had disappeared. This type of sighting had become more frequent as Toni had got a handle on her abilities. They were almost exclusively visions of climactic events, things that had generated so much energy in the first occurrence that they were permanently stamped on a place. She wondered what could have produced such excitement to create this one. Maybe some matinee star had been visiting the little town of Travois, Wisconsin to promote a movie.

Once they had reached the front door, Mike produced a ring of keys with a flourish and Toni couldn't help but smile at the expectannedt look on his face. "All right, Briggs, let's go see what you've gotten yourself into."

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