Author: K. J. Dahlen
Genre: Paranormal Mystery/Suspense
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1
Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble
Bradbury Inn holds a secret Jillian and her grandmother must find, but will they survive or will supernatural powers take them? Can Jillian find a way to survive when the past and the present come together under the guise of the Blood Moon?
Jillian Caulder and her grandmother come to the Bradbury Inn to discover the truth. Rumors claim the Inn is haunted by the spirits of Claire and Matilda Bradbury and a man named George Walker after fire destroyed the Inn, sixty years ago. Matthew Nixen’s ghost returns to find his true love, Matilda. Their journey doesn’t end at the Inn; it takes them to New Orleans where they discover Odette is the granddaughter of Mary Dell. With their lives in danger, will Jillian and Odette survive?
As Jillian Caulder left the town of Brandenburg, Illinois she turned right at the intersection of Highway 13. She spent the whole morning driving here with her grandmother, listening to her stories of the Bradbury Inn. The Inn was all that was left of an old plantation called Bradbury Archers. She had heard these stories all her life. This was the place her grandparents had spent the first few weeks of their married life, over sixty years ago.
She found several historical facts about the house very interesting; one of them being it had been a stop on the Underground Railroad for runaway slaves. As close as the plantation was to the Mississippi River, the slaves would board the ships taking wheat up to the northern states. From there they would travel overland to their final destinations.
The plantation was built in the early 1700s and run as an Inn from 1900 until the late 1940s. The Inn belonged to the same family that ran the plantation for generations, the Bradbury family.
When Jillian pulled the car over to the curb it was in front of the Mom and Pop store called Bishop's Five and Dime. She looked at her grandmother and saw a smile on her face. "Well, it could be worse I suppose."
Odette grinned. "Yeah, it could be a shopping mall." She opened her car door and stepped out onto the street. Looking around, Odette turned to her granddaughter and smiled. "At least the town hasn't changed much in sixty some years."
Jillian grinned. "There is something to be said about living in a small town. I much prefer it to a big city any day." She looked around. "At least here you can breathe."
The older woman agreed. "Oh well, let's get a few things and get on our way."
When they entered the shop, a bell rang over the door. A tiny old lady shuffled in from the back and smiled at them. "Well, you're new to town, aren't you? I don't think I've seen you two before."
Odette titled her head. The woman she saw standing there was one she had seen before.
Jillian noticed her grandmother's stare and turned to view the woman. Her hair, while mostly white, still held traces of the brown it once was. The curve of her cheeks was less pronounced now but Jillian could still see she had been a beautiful younger woman and wondered if she had been a friend to her grandparents at one time.
"Lila Bishop? Is that you?" Odette asked.
Adjusting her glasses, she peered at Odette for a moment before she asked, "Do you know me?"
"I was here a long time ago," Odette admitted as she patted the older woman's arm. "Nearly sixty years ago, in fact. My husband and I spent our honeymoon out at the Inn."
Lila started at the mention of Bradbury Inn. She backed up a step or two and continued to stare at Odette. "That was a lifetime ago then," she whispered. Hesitating she looked as if she wanted to save something, then taking a deep breath the old woman took Odette's hand. "The Inn is haunted you know. Rumors say the old ladies who died there are still out there, waiting for something. No one seems to know what, but they are still there." She shuddered. "I wouldn't set foot out there for love or money. Strange goings on and all."
"I know," Odette told her carefully. "Matilda was a friend of mine."
Lila glanced from Odette to Jillian. "I heard some crazy talk about someone coming to stay at the Inn. Would that be you and her?" She nodded toward Jillian.
"Yes, I need to know what really happened when the Inn burned."
Lila patted Odette's hand, then moved away. "Well better you than me. No one here in town goes near the place. There is something out there, that's for sure. A young couple tried to make a go of things, but it didn't work out. Strange things began to happen out there. They say the ghosts didn't want anyone living there. Let me know if I can help you find anything."
"And you believed that?" Jillian asked.
Lila stood up as tall as she could. "Honey, I've seen some strange things in my life. I've also lived long enough to know there are some things you just don't mess with. Bradbury Inn falls into this category." She paused then went on, her voice dropping to a bare whisper, "Something different is going on out there, and it has most people scared to go near the place. Those people brave enough to venture near the place speak of terrible things happening, strange sounds and sightings. I won't go near the place, and if you are smart, you won't either."
Jillian watched as the old lady moved away. Turning to her grandmother she asked, "Well that's a bit off putting, don't you think?