Title: The House on Berkley Street
Author: K. J. Dahlen
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1
Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble
When Serenity is asked to find the truth in a forty-year old tragedy, someone in the town of White Oak, Texas doesn’t want the truth told. Can they stop her before she finds out what they have kept hidden for so long?
When Serenity St. Claire arrived in White Oak, Texas she pulled into the first service station. She got out of her car and walked inside. The heat from the outside was cut dramatically as she entered the convenience store. Serenity paused for a moment, thankful for the change in temperature. She'd grown up in Oklahoma but she didn't remember it being this hot. At the counter she asked the clerk for a city map. After buying the map and an ice-cold soda, she put her sunglasses back on and pushed the door open again.
Sitting behind the wheel in her car Serenity started the engine and turned up the AC. She opened the map and began looking for a certain address. When she found it she stared at the street for a moment or two. She was half afraid to go there but knew she would have to face her demons sooner or later.
A few minutes later she pulled her car up in front of the last house on the end of Berkley Street and got her first look at the house her mother spent her first two years in. A shiver snaked down her spine. She could still see some of the scorch marks caused by a fire that happened forty years ago but could also see that someone in the past had tried to repair the damage done by the fire.
It looked like someone was maintaining the yard as the grass was freshly cut and there were flowers planted along the path leading to the front door. But the house itself had a neglected look to it. A couple of the windows had been broken and most of the shutters were missing. Serenity could see gaping holes in the roof and scorch marks marred the outer walls of the house. She couldn't tell if that was fire damage or the fact that the house had stood empty all this time. The front door was hanging kind of cockeyed in the doorframe and there were sections of the railing around the front porch that were missing.
As she stepped out of her car and stared at the house, her heart raced. This place had a tragic history that would give even the bravest cause to think twice about entering. It was rumored that forty years ago on April 1 Jedidiah Monroe snapped and murdered his wife Emily and five of their six children. Then after killing his family he started the fire to hide his crimes. Only two year old Hannah escaped certain death and that was only because she wasn't home at the time of the tragedy. Serenity rubbed her arms to ward off the all-encompassing chill sweeping through her.
No one knew for certain exactly what made Jedidiah snap. Some say it was a result of the heat wave Texas had back then. Sixty plus consecutive days of over a hundred degree heat seared most of Texas and Oklahoma that year, but Serenity didn't believe that story. She grew up hearing how much love Jedidiah had for his family and how he would never have hurt them for any reason. Hannah had been too young to remember her family and after the tragedy, she had lived with her grandparents but her grandmother Karin remembered and it was Karin who Serenity had heard the stories from. Before she died a couple of months ago, Karin asked Serenity to go back to White Oak, Texas and find out what really happened that day. She had made her promise to someday come here and find out the truth so Serenity was here to discover what she could about a forty year old tragedy.